Building and construction to Singapore

Trends and opportunities

The Market

The Singapore building and construction sector remains healthy in Singapore, with strong government spending on public infrastructure; at least S$2 billion in contracts are being awarded each month. The government projected average construction demand for 2018 and 2019 between S$26 billion to S$35 billion (Source: Singapore Building and Construction Authority). Over 60 per cent of the overall demand will be driven largely from public infrastructure contracts.

The Singapore building and construction sector is driven by the government, The Building Construction Authority (BCA) is the regulator for the building and construction sector in Singapore.

The public sector has taken the lead in championing the way buildings are constructed in Singapore. Besides the adoption of productive construction technologies such as pre-fabrication, pre-finished volumetric construction (PPVC) and cross-laminated timber (CLT), the government is also pushing the industry towards off-site manufacturing for on-site assembly, or Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA).

On October 2017, the government launched the Industry Transformation Roadmap (ITM) for the construction sector among the other 23 sectors. The Construction ITM aims to use new technologies to improve construction processes, speeding up construction and creating new, better jobs for those in the sector.

Three key areas of focus:

  • Design for Offsite Manufacturing and Assembly (DFMA)
  • Green buildings
  • Integrated Digital Delivery

To build smart, build efficiently and build green remain a key focus for the Singapore construction industry. There is a good pipeline of infrastructure development for airports, ports, land reclamation, MRT lines, tunnels connection and sewage system. This sustained pipeline of public projects presents an opportunity for the industry to innovate and push for greater construction productivity.

Beyond 2020, public infrastructure projects include the government's planning to double the city state's urban railway network from the current 178km to about 360km by 2030. The Kuala Lumpur-Singapore high-speed rail (HSR) project will be another major development. The project is expected to be completed by 2022, with Singapore's terminus station located at Jurong East. Completion of the HSR project will, in turn, spur development projects within the Jurong Lake District. The country's Jurong Lake District currently serves as an industrial town in the south-west region of Singapore, and the government has plans to redevelop the area to serve as a commercial hub and a leisure centre (Source: Business Monitor – Singapore Infrastructure Q1 2018 report).

To meet long term population needs, there are two mega projects in the pipeline. The redevelopment plans of Tanjong Pagar into a Waterfront City, part of the southern corridor covering 1000 ha, and relocation of Paya Lebar Air Base to Changi, freeing up 800ha of land.

Opportunities

  • Project management and technical services
  • Sustainable building design
  • Green applications (ways to reduce emissions/carbon footprint, clean technology solutions and alternative /renewable energy uses)
  • Smart engineering, development, building systems, energy efficiency, virtual design and augmented reality (leveraging technology to reduce reliance on labour, improve productivity or analyse behavioural patterns)
  • Enhancement to construction productivity – innovative pre-cast technology, work process, tool, equipment, material or system solutions

Competitive environment

Singapore has a low barrier of entry for foreign companies, and companies in Singapore operate in a highly competitive environment. A number of global players (foreign multinationals and local companies) with strong capabilities in infrastructure projects are present in the market. As there are no tariffs, taxes and duties imposed on imports of construction-related equipment and building materials to Singapore, the market is open to firms from all countries.

The Singaporean building and construction sector is characterised by a large number of small and medium-sized contractors in fierce competition. A survey commissioned by BCA revealed that there were 117 small-to medium-sized contractors (with more than 50 employees) per US$1bn of construction output. This is extremely high compared with other countries, for example Canada, which has 39 contractors per US$1bn output, and Japan, which has just 14.

Regulations

To access and participate in public sector business opportunities, all companies need to be registered as a trading partner via the Singapore e-procurement portal – GeBIZ ( http://www.gebiz.gov.sg/).

GeBIZ is the Singapore government's one-stop e-procurement portal. All the public sector's invitations for quotations and tenders are posted on GeBIZ. Suppliers can search for government procurement opportunities, download tender documents, and submit their bids online. Companies can bid direct, with a local partner or through a local agent/distributor.

Under the Professional Engineers Act, any firm that intends to supply professional engineering services in Singapore must be licensed by the Professional Engineers Board. The license is granted only to limited companies, unlimited companies, multi-disciplinary partnerships, and limited liability partnerships.

Industry Standards

As of 1 April 2013, BCA has introduced the Eurocodes as Singapore's building codes to replace the British standards as Singapore's prescribed building codes for structural design. ( http://www.bca.gov.sg/Newsroom/pr25032013_EC.html ).

Marketing products and services

Market Entry

It is common for project owners to procure directly from companies for services/products/technologies that are to be consumed for specific projects. In general, it is preferable to work with a business partner or set up an office in Singapore to service the market. This is to ensure continuity in the business and better service to the end users.

All government tenders are normally gazetted as either a public or closed tender. For a public tender, which can be found on the Government E-Business website ( http://www.gebiz.gov.sg/), only Singapore-registered local vendors or Singapore-based overseas vendors, overseas vendors who have registered with the appropriate tendering authority that meet prescribed financial classification may participate.

Please click here ( https://www.gebiz.gov.sg/cmw/index.html ) for guidelines on government tendering procedures.

Links and industry contacts

Singapore Building Construction Authority Urban Redevelopment Authority
Housing Development Board, Singapore
Land Transport Authority, Singapore
Public Utility Board, Singapore
JTC Singapore
Professional Engineers Board of Singapore
Institute of Engineers Australia (Singapore Chapter)
Board of Architects
Singapore Green Building Council
Singapore Contractors Association Limited

Please note: This list of websites and resources is not definitive. Inclusion in this list does not imply endorsement by Austrade. The information provided is a guide only. The content is for information and carries no warranty; as such, the addressee must exercise their own discretion in its use. Australia’s anti-bribery laws apply overseas and Austrade will not provide business related services to any party who breaches the law and will report credible evidence of any breach. For further information, please see foreign bribery information and awareness pack.

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