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A smart way to build

China Construction leads the industry through computer-aided models, prefabricated prefinished modules, and the use of drones


China Construction (South Pacific) Development Co. Pte Ltd, otherwise known as CCDC, stands head and shoulders above its competitors in raising the standards of Singapore’s construction industry.

It is one of the few builders in Singapore which has won the Built Environment Leadership award from the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) – one of the industry’s highest accolades.

One of its award-winning projects, High Park Residences condo in Sengkang, showcases the smart construction techniques it has adopted.

All six 25-storey blocks of the development were built using building information models (BIM) and virtual design and construction (VDC) methods pioneered in Singapore by the construction giant.

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These methods were also used for a polyclinic project in Punggol, an MRT project between Sembawang and Yishun, and public housing projects in Bidadari.

The use of BIM and VDC represents a paradigm shift in the construction industry to virtually simulate all aspects of design, engineering and architecture, down to the smallest detail.

CCDC managing director Li Xiao Qian said: “China Construction (South Pacific), as one of the leading construction enterprises in Singapore, is pioneering the latest technological trends in the industry.”

The biggest advantage of BIM and VDC is how the construction process becomes very smooth, with every step rehearsed virtually before being executed on the ground.

This leads to significant productivity gains in terms of cost and time savings, because addition and alteration works are kept to a minimum.

“Inside the unit, even the power points, mirrors and cabinets can be replicated, so subcontractors could minimise mistakes and we can build accurately, beautifully,” Mr Li said.

Stakeholders like architects, engineers and clients can view three-dimensional models to understand the construction process so design conflicts can be minimised.

With the construction models available on the cloud, site supervisors and workers can use electronic devices to scan QR (Quick Response) codes to retrieve visual mock-ups. They can review the plans more efficiently compared to the use of two-dimensional drawings previously.

As part of the construction process, a laser-guided positioning device also helps in the surveying process of setting out markers to guide BIM construction.

For its innovation, China Construction won a BCA award for setting new standards for the adoption of BIM for residential projects.

An established builder

Operating for 25 years in Singapore since 1992, CCDC is the regional subsidiary of China State Construction Engineering Corporation, one of the largest construction and investment conglomerate in the world, and it is recognised as the 1st of the TOP 250 Global Contractors by Engineering News-Record (ENR) and 27th in the list of Fortune Global 500 in 2016.

Since then, China Construction has successfully built up a comprehensive portfolio across numerous residential, commercial, civil engineering and industrial projects in Singapore. In 2016, its turnover exceeded S$1 billion.

The firm has succeeded in carving out a niche for itself as a versatile and forward-thinking builder despite being a large multi-national organisation.

In Singapore, China Construction has built 16 institutional projects, 23,090 units of premium quality private homes and 36,125 HDB flats, as well as hotels and commercial hubs.

China Construction has also won significant recognition and acceptance by the industry, consistently winning awards for its high-quality projects.

Since its local inception in 1992, it has received some 113 awards for its work, its productivity initiatives and its environmentally-friendly practices.

Having mastered the use of BIM and VDC, China Construction is progressing to the next step.

It is using prefabricated prefinished volumetric construction (PPVC), a construction method that will have modules of whole, or part of, a unit that are completed with internal finishes, fixtures and fittings that are manufactured in factories, the completed modules will be transported to site for installation.

The various modules will then be transported to the construction site and installed in a Lego-like manner, supported by the smart building methods of BIM and VDC.

The first condominium project which China Construction used PPVC was Lake Grande, a 710-unit Jurong West project spreading over four blocks of 17 storeys each.

“PPVC is one of the game changing technologies which the authorities are encouraging in order to cut down the amount of construction activities onsite, achieve higher productivity and quality, minimise dust and noise pollution, and improve site safety.” Mr Li said.

“We strongly support the government’s efforts to drive innovation in the construction industry.”

Shaping Singapore’s future

China Construction also uses technology to ensure safety throughout the construction process of public projects.

Drones are used to monitor the progress of construction sites, such as China Construction’s build-to-order (BTO) flat project in the Bidadari estate.

The drone can also collect data and spot potential safety problems. Aerial pictures and videos of defects help its teams to coordinate rectification works.

Meanwhile, it is building Canberra MRT station between Sembawang and Yishun, an especially challenging project built on an existing line.

A protection enclosure will be erected to protect existing railway tracks and trains, simulated first using BIM.

A full-scale mock-up of the station column and roof will also be installed off-site to determine the safest and most effective way to carry out the actual construction.

Ultimately, the use of technology is deeply embedded in China Construction’s culture, enabling the firm to tackle the most challenging projects, Mr Li said.

“We have grown rapidly over the past 25 years, and continue to expand into the region and build upon our real estate development business.

“We look forward to a golden future of shaping a high quality, safe and sustainable living environment in Singapore.”