The Straits Times | 18 March 2013
The Housing Board said it has been able to achieve productivity improvements through innovative construction practices, such as the use of precast technology, and will continue to explore ways to reduce the delivery time for its building projects.
"Nonetheless, while we are committed to the timely delivery of flats, we cannot compromise construction safety and quality to reap time savings," said an HDB spokesman.
The Housing Board has ramped up its building programme to about 25,000 per year from 2011 to this year to meet demand.
"With the increase in flat supply and the current labour crunch faced by the entire construction industry, HDB would need to closely monitor the construction progress of BTO (Build-to-Order) projects," he added.
Singapore Contractors Association president Ho Nyok Yong said the challenges the private sector faces, such as fewer foreign workers due to the tighter manpower policy and increasing labour costs, are shared by Housing Board contractors as well.
Even though the Housing Board segment has moved towards higher productivity with its increased use of precast technology, the upsurge in demand for precast panels has caused a bottleneck and this means slower delivery and hence longer construction times, he added.
Ms Elicia Aw, a spokesman for Prefab Technology 3, noted that the current surge in construction projects has created an "over-demand" for businesses related to construction in general.
"We do face limitations in production capacity as precast requires storage space and there is restriction on the availability of land for precasting activities. The labour market is also tight and facing a shortage of foreign workers and drivers."
The bulk of the firm's demand comes from the Housing Board, she added.
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