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Spearheading Construction Productivity Through Transformative Technologies and Materials at Buildtech Asia 2015

BuildTech Asia 2015, the region’s leading trade show for the built environment, concluded after an immersive three-day showcase that explored the latest game-changing smart construction technologies and building materials from across the region. Organised by Sphere Exhibits and hosted by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), the annual trade show was held on 13-15 October, in conjunction with Singapore Construction Productivity Week (SCPW).

At the opening ceremony of SCPW, BCA announced $2.6 million funding for research programmes to drive Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) across the sector and additional funding for Virtual Design and Construction (VDC). In line with this push towards technology adoption and Asia’s growing demand for building and construction technology, BuildTech Asia 2015 displayed a myriad of technologies and materials to help industry stakeholders from across the value chain maintain their competitive edge through higher productivity.

Over 5,200 visitors from across the region were treated to an impressive array of advanced construction technologies and smart materials, brought to life through live demonstrations, product displays and workshops by close to 150 exhibiting brands. An international turnout of exhibitors, trade associations and business delegations from over 13 countries and regions including Austria, China, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Pakistan, Philippines, Portugal, Russia, Thailand, Turkey and Vietnam, visited BuildTech Asia 2015.

Mr. Chua Wee Phong, Chairman of Sphere Exhibits Pte Ltd, said: “We are pleased that the fifth edition of BuildTech Asia continues to see strong interest and support from exhibitors and visitors from all over Asia and the world. This year, BuildTech Asia introduced key productivity-enhancing technologies and materials to the built environment sector, and we hope that the increasing uptake of these technologies will spur the construction industry towards greater productivity.”

Rolling out smart technologies and materials to the built environment sector

Several breakthrough technologies were introduced by the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) to help Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) in the built environment sector enhance their productivity. One of these technologies is smart drones for safety management, introduced by Singapore-based drone developerAvetics. Drones reduce the need for workers to work at height and allow site surveys to be conducted in days compared to manual methods that take months.

The Foreign Construction Worker Directory System (FCWDS) was launched by Intercorp Solutions in partnership with Singapore Contractors Association Limited (SCAL) and supported by the Ministry of Manpower and IDA. The FCWDS is an online platform that supports the retention of skilled workers in the built environment sector and allows firms to better source workers with relevant skill sets.

Other key exhibits were the Drywall Prefabricated Bathroom Units (DPBU) displayed by Singapore construction and interior firm Tong Hai Yong and Eastern Pretech, a pioneer of PBU in Singapore; a series of innovative boom lifts capable of operating within tight space constraints showcased by Spiderlift Asia; and Concrete Canvas, a flexible fabric that hardens to form a concrete layer when hydrated, showcased by the Scott Vickers Group. Snorkel had also launched ‘Snorkel Guard’, a secondary guarding device for machine operators, as part of their ongoing continuous improvement initiatives for operator safety.

Advanced materials such as glued laminated timber (glulam), exhibited by Woodsfield Engineered Wood Systems and CW Construction Australia, and cross laminated timber (CLT) were among the highlights of this year’s show. The Skilled Builders Project brought glulam and CLT live to the audience at BuildTech Asia, where visitors witnessed the construction of a mid-rise commercial building structural module on the show floor. The Malaysian Timber Industry Board (MTIB), a statutory body responsible for the development of Malaysia’s timber industry, conducted an educational session on glulam, sharing knowledge with industry stakeholders, buyers and sellers on the benefits and sustainability of glulam and its applications in construction.

Mrs. Mahsuri Mat Dris, Senior Deputy Director, Technical Support & Timber Engineering, Industry Development Division from the MTIB, said: “We are happy to be a part of BuildTech Asia this year. With its move towards smart construction technology for the built environment sector and regional outreach, BuildTech Asia has proven to be a fantastic platform for us to introduce glulam made from Malaysian hardwood to a wider audience. We are heartened by the visitors’ interest in glulam and hope to be back next year to continue educating the industry on the advantages of using this innovative technology.”

Fostering and reinforcing relationships on a knowledge-based platform

Besides exploring the latest technologies and materials, delegates and exhibitors fostered new business relationships as well as commercial partnerships on the show floor. Various industry players announced new initiatives and partnerships aimed at elevating construction productivity in Singapore and the region:

FINALCAD announced a new partnership with leading construction and civil engineering contractor Woh Hup, marking its commitment to advancing the digital transition of the construction industry in Southeast Asia
Local construction and civil engineering company Tiong Seng signed an MOU with international firm PERI, the world’s largest formwork supplier, to build knowledge and skill-sets in advanced formwork technology
Another MOU was signed between Tiong Seng and international software engineering corporation Tekla to develop a BIM Competency Centre for the study and development of new workflows and innovative uses of the Tekla platform in construction
The inaugural Workplace Health & Safety Conference, themed ‘Zero in on Safety’, attracted close to 100 industry stakeholders who came together from across the region for informative sessions on the latest trends and developments in construction safety.

Allan Low, EHS Manager from Teambuild Engineering & Construction and part of a delegation of eight attendees, said: “The conference sessions were both educational and enriching. We gained insights on the use of smart technologies in construction such as the use of 3D and BIM technology for construction safety. These are extremely relevant for firms as the adoption of technology to boost productivity continues to gain popularity industry-wide.”

BuildTech Asia will return to the Singapore Expo in October 2016. Premium spaces are now available. Organisations which are keen to exhibit at BuildTech Asia 2016 are encouraged to reserve their spaces early.

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