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Raising construction productivity through technology adoption and workforce upgrading
- BCA's new multi-skilling scheme as an alternative upgrading pathway for construction workforce
Singapore, 5 March 2012 - The Building and Construction Authority will be introducing a new Multi-skilling Scheme to provide an alternative pathway for the industry to upgrade their workers. This means that multi-skilled workers will be competent in multiple construction trades and are able to carry out more than one type of work tasks on-site. Employers will have greater flexibility in deploying such multi-skilled workers on-site, hence reducing the downtime and improving their productivity (see Annex A (15KB .pdf) for examples of multi-skilling). BCA will start to register construction workers who meet the following stipulated criteria from 1 July 2012:-
a. 4 years of construction experience in Singapore; and
b. 2 acceptable certifications (see Annex B (19KB .pdf) for more details).
Briefing sessions on the Multi-skilling scheme will be conducted for industry firms from March 2012 onwards.
The industry has shown support to BCA's move to introduce the Multi-skilling Scheme. Dr Ho Nyok Yong, President of Singapore Contractors Association Limited (SCAL) said, "Contractors with multi-skilled workers will find it easier to deploy them according to the projects' manpower needs, as they can perform 2 to 3 different types of work throughout the construction process. This can help us to reduce time required to mobilise workers, which would otherwise result in time loss to projects. This recognition also provides an avenue for workers to attain the "Higher Skilled" status apart from Coretrade."
The Multi-skilling Scheme complements the BCA's Construction Registration of Tradesmen or CoreTrade Scheme which caters to workers specialised in key construction trades. On 1 July last year, BCA/MND implemented a construction skills framework to encourage construction firms to retain and up-skill their workers. Under the framework, better qualified workers with minimum four years of local construction experience and acceptable qualifications are allowed to qualify for "Higher Skilled" category and the lower foreign worker levy. Currently, majority of the workers qualify through the CoreTrade skills route (see Annex B) (19KB .pdf).
This move to enhance the quality of the construction workforce through the retention of skilled and experienced workers is part of the overall Construction Productivity Roadmap launched by MND/BCA last year (see Annex C (24KB .pdf)). In line with the Government's push for productivity-driven economic growth, the roadmap charts the transformation of the construction industry and aims to realise the vision of a highly integrated and technologically advanced construction sector led by progressive firms and supported by a skilled and competent workforce in 2020.
The industry has responded well to the roadmap initiatives to adopt more technology to reduce labour reliance, as well as upgrade their existing workforce through training and upskilling. The take-up rate for the S$250 million Construction Productivity & Capability Fund (CPCF) administered by BCA has been growing steadily, with more than S$40 million committed to more than 1,100 individual firms since June 2010.
The bulk of the funding support goes towards technology adoption, in terms of mechanising site operations, implementing productivity improvement projects and applying Building Information Modelling (BIM) to aid integration in the construction value chain. Unison Construction, an SME, is one such firm who has incorporated technology into its construction processes and reaped improvements (see Annex D (202KB .pdf) on Unison Construction).
BCA will continue to work with the industry to review existing initiatives and come up with new, innovative solutions to help the construction industry to better integrate technology in their processes and build up a highly skilled and productive workforce to boost productivity efforts.
Annex A - Examples of Multi-skilling (15KB .pdf)
Annex B - Construction Skills Framework (19KB .pdf)
Annex C - Construction Productivity Roadmap (24KB .pdf)
Annex D - Profile of Unison Construction (202KB .pdf)
Portable document format version of the media release is also available (259KB .pdf).