Only green builders to get big govt jobs from 2017

They will need to be certified as such before they can bid for the projects
Rachel Au-Yong Straits Times 29 Oct 13;

CONSTRUCTION firms must be certified "green and gracious" by the Government if they want to bid for public housing, school and hospital projects from 2017.

And that means adopting a variety of environment-friendly and more considerate measures which, for instance, save energy or reduce noise pollution.

The measure will affect over 300 medium-sized and large building firms, which have between January 2015 and December 2016 to earn the certification under the Green and Gracious Builder Scheme (GGBS). The certification is a requirement for being on the Building and Construction Authority's (BCA's) registry.

Firms must be on the registry before they can bid for government projects. Failure to get certified by the end of 2016 could see a firm's tender limit downgraded, said the BCA, which added that "we may reinstate their grade upon certification".

There is no timeframe yet for smaller firms, which can bid for projects worth up to $4 million, although The Straits Times understands that eventually all companies will have to go green.

"As Singapore becomes more built up, some of us may be less tolerant of disamenities like noise and dust," said Minister of State for National Development and Trade and Industry Lee Yi Shyan, as he announced the move at yesterday's Singapore Contractors Association conference on environmental sustainability.

He told the more than 200 industry participants there of the need to reduce the consumption of non-renewable natural resources, such as fuel and water, and minimise noise, dust, waste and pollution during construction.

The GGBS started out in 2009 as a voluntary scheme. But Mr Lee said the industry has been in a "critical situation" of late, in the light of the manpower crunch and the need to raise productivity.

Currently only 70 firms are certified "green and gracious" by the BCA. There are no detailed rules on how to qualify for the certificate, although revised guidelines, which place more emphasis on noise reduction and more efficient human resource practices, will be issued by the authority soon.

For instance, companies could use more energy-efficient air-con systems or install buffers that reduce vibrations. Firms are also assessed on whether they remind workers to save energy.

Going green, at least in the beginning, will come at a price, said Singapore Contractors Association president Ho Nyok Yong. "But because these moves save energy and use cleaner or fewer materials, firms are expected to recoup more savings in the long run," he said.

Quek & Quek Civil Engineering aims to become more environment-friendly, even though it will have to fork out around $100,000 to replace or upgrade half its equipment.

At some of its worksites, it has constructed temporary footpaths for the use of area residents. Said its general manager Wong Bee Chin: "It costs money, but we've gotten a lot of letters of praise from residents."

BCA scheme to encourage gracious building practices
Wong Siew Ying Channel NewsAsia 28 Oct 13;

SINGAPORE: More measures will be taken to encourage builders to adopt gracious construction practices, which help to address environmental concerns and mitigate inconveniences to the public caused by construction works.

Speaking at an industry event, Senior Minister of State for National Development and Trade and Industry Lee Yi Shyan said the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) will be enhancing its Green and Gracious Builder Scheme to place more emphasis on practices such as noise management and good human resource practices.

In addition, construction firms that are registered or intending to register with BCA's Contractors Registry for general or civil engineering works must first be certified under the Green and Gracious Builder Scheme.

BCA said 304 companies will have to be certified under the GGBS.

Mr Lee said this will be phased in from January 2015.

Since its launch in 2009, 70 builders have been certified under the scheme.

Mr Lee said: "Kajima Overseas Asia Pte Ltd used remote control wall saws and mini crushers during demolition works which reduce the impact of noise, dust and vibrations generated. China State Construction Engineering went beyond its call of duty and constructed a barrier-free access ramp for elderly citizens visiting a restaurant adjacent to its construction site. I urge all of you (builders) to adopt such socially-gracious efforts as part of your sustainable construction initiative."

Meanwhile, the BCA will also expand the scope of its Sustainable Construction Capability Development Fund (SC Fund) to support the development of Building Information Modelling (BIM) add-on tools.

The BIM add-on tools will aid in the computation of Concrete Usage Index, which forms part of the Sustainable Construction Score under BCA's Green Mark Scheme for buildings.

Mr Lee said this will help designers optimise designs to meet sustainable construction requirements.

Since 2010, BCA's S$15-million SC Fund has co-sponsored over 60 projects with a total committed amount of S$5.3 million.

Mr Lee added that BCA is developing the 3rd Green Building Masterplan to guide Singapore's green building journey over the next five to 10 years.

The Masterplan will outline a new vision for Singapore -- to be a global leader in green buildings with special expertise in the tropics and sub-tropics.

- CNA/gn/ac