Construction goes high tech

4 Jan 2016

Interview with “狮城有约 Hello Singapore”

Designing tall buildings in a virtual environment is no longer impossible. Launched last December by the Building & Construction Authority (BCA), the Centre for Lean and Virtual Construction is Singapore's first virtual reality training facility in construction. This state-of-the-art facility is part of a pioneering effort within Southeast Asia, bringing advantages to the industry such as improved efficiency, greater accuracy, better risk mitigation and higher work quality.

Mr Tan Kee Wee, Director of BCA IT Department and Centre for Construction IT, and Mr Colin Chew, Senior Architect at RSP, were recently interviewed by Mediacorp Channel 8 news and current affairs programme “狮城有约 Hello Singapore”, about the newly-launched Centre and its potential benefits for the design and build industry.

The live interview was conducted Tuesday, December 29, 2015. (Click here to view)

Excerpts from the interview with Colin (English translation):

Q. What are the biggest challenges facing the design and build industry? 

A.  Current technologies like 2-D drawings and traditional CAD don’t allow us to review complex issues that affect the building process; hence, we are unable to mitigate risks at an earlier stage. As a result, problems often surface only after construction is completed, for instance, misalignment of the ceiling heights and the adjacent M&E systems.

Q. What is the greatest advantage that the Centre for Lean and Virtual Construction can offer users?

A. Teams can work within a virtual environment to analyse all aspects of a project and its potential issues. They can do so without having to make a trip to the physical site during the design stage.

Q. What are the advantages of using 3-D technology to design prefabricated modules?

A. Prefabricated modules are a good alternative to traditional construction, especially in residential projects and designs that are repetitive. Prefab modules are assembled in a controlled environment and therefore offer the benefits of consistent quality, less on-site congestion, as well as time, cost and labour savings. For a typical 20-storey HDB construction project, using prefab modules can help achieve an increased work efficiency of 20-30%.

Q. With the advancement of technology, what are the likely directions of development in the area of construction IT?

A. We believe there will be more smart apps to allow real-time site information to be sent to the end user’s smart devices. For example, a prospective home buyer would be able to take a "tour" of a 3-D render of the unbuilt house, or receive updates on the construction development using his or her mobile phone at leisure.