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Regulations, agencies' collaboration needed to boost building productivity: Tharman

6116DPM Tharman and guests at NTU presentation 02.jpg
Regulations and collaboration among various agencies still need to be ironed out as Singapore's builders continue to improve their construction productivity, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said on Wednesday.

REGULATIONS and collaboration among various agencies still need to be ironed out as Singapore's builders continue to improve their construction productivity, Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said on Wednesday.

Mr Shanmugaratnam, who is also Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies and National Productivity Council chairman, said this to media during a tour of three new residential halls at North Hill in Nanyang Technological University.

These are Singapore's first public high-rise buildings to use the prefabricated pre-finished volumetric construction (PPVC) technology, which basically involves stacking pre-built rooms on top of one another and bolting them tight.

"This project has been a very useful learning experience. It has taught us about some of the problems that have to be ironed out," he said. "You need to have a project to learn what all the problems are."

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Mr Tharman added that it is the government's job to ensure collaboration across agencies such as the Ministry of Manpower, Land Transport Authority, Building and Construction Authority and even the Singapore Civil Defence Force.

"Our agencies are not resistant, we know what the objective is," he said.

Mr Tharman estimated that the difficulties learnt from this project ought to be ironed out by next year.

Other issues flagged with the PPVC technology include the need for additional land for fitting out and storage of modules, the higher cost of using PPVC which is a function of both the lack of economy of scale currently and expensive shipping of modules, as well thicker "two-layer" floors which affect the number of floors a building can have.