Thursday, January 13, 2011

Positive outlook for construction sector

SINGAPORE'S vibrant economic rebound could mean construction activity topping $28 billion this year.

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said yesterday that the value of contracts awarded to the sector is likely to total between $22 billion and $28 billion this year, reflecting a continued and sustained workload.

Of that figure, the private sector is expected to account for about 45 per cent of overall demand - between $10 billion and $13 billion.

Private sector residential construction demand is projected to moderate but commercial construction demand is likely to be underpinned 'by a buoyant office space demand and a vibrant retail sector', said BCA.

Public sector demand is expected come in at between $12 billion and $15 billion this year, due to the growth in institutional construction projects, such as the building of the Institute of Technical Education's third regional campus in Ang Mo Kio.

At a seminar organised by BCA and the Real Estate Developers Association of Singapore at Orchard Hotel yesterday, the BCA added that the strong economy resulted in construction contracts awarded last year surging to $25.7 billion last year, a 14 per cent jump from 2009.

Both the anticipated demand for 2011 and 2010's total are still a far cry from the record $35.7 billion in contracts awarded in 2008 to the sector.

Guest of honour National Development Minister Mah Bow Tan said that average construction demand is likely to range between $19 billion and $26 billion per year for 2012 and 2013.

Mr Andrew Khng, president of Singapore Contractors Association, said that key challenges this year include the rise in material and manpower costs, given that further foreign worker levy increases and cuts in quotas can be expected.

On concerns that the floods in Australia have caused steel prices to spike 10 per cent, Mr Mah said on the sidelines that the 'industry will probably take (the increase) in its stride'.

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