BCI Awards Sustainability-Focused Development and Architecture Firms


Statistics are a good indicator of the shape of things to come. Understanding this, BCI (Building and Construction Interchange) Asia representing the BCI Media Group that publishes over 150,000 reports a year on future construction projects in the Asia Pacific region aims  to “promote efficiency and transparency through its research services.“

Taking it one step further, the BCI Asia Top 10 Awards was organised since 2005 to recognise the top ten property developers and architecture firms with the greatest impact on the built environment in Southeast Asia in terms of porfolio of projects under construction the previous year. The awards ceremony held annually has continued to spotlight key industry players in Malaysia, Singapore, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong SAR and Indonesia.

“The BCI Asia Top 10 Awards are a measure of the impact an architectural firm or a development company has had on the built environment in a given country in a given year,“ said BCI Asia Chairman Matthias Krups at the awards ceremony.

“To come up with that measure for Malaysia in 2013, BCI’s researchers in Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru, Penang and Kota Kinabalu reported and analysed a total of 16,671 projects during the twelve months of 2012.

“They then distilled the projects commencing construction that year and finally sorted them by role for example, the main designing architect or developer. The ten that came up on top in terms of their aggregate building value are the BCI Asia Top 10 architects and developers,“ he reiterated.

At this year‘s ninth annual awards ceremony, Krups shared that BCI Asia has decided to “expand and reposition“ the BCI Asia Top 10 Awards to focus on sustainability.

As a result of this decision, the winners of 2013 constituted firms with the greatest aggregate value of projects under construction during the last full calendar year by the extent of their sustainability and green building ratings.

“The Top 10 winners this year are the winners of the first Green Top 10 Awards making a significant contribution to a more sustainable built environment for future generations to enjoy. Since 2012, we have begun to consider not only the dollar volume of eligible projects, but also their green credentials.

“We do so by weighing projects higher depending on their green star rating from a World Green Building Council accredited certification agency.“

At the awards ceremony held last month, IOI Properties Bhd, Mah Sing Group Bhd, Nadayu Properties Bhd, Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (PKNS), SP Setia Berhad, Sime Darby Property Berhad, Sunway Berhad, Symphony Life Berhad, Tropicana Corporation Berhad and UEM Land Holdings Berhad were named the nation‘s top ten developers with a combined portfolio of projects totalling USD 2.04 billion (RM6.5 billion).

The top ten most active architecture firms in the country also recorded  an equally robust combined portfolio of properties that were constructed in Malaysia last year amounting to USD 2.42 billion (RM7.7 billion).

The top ten most active architecture firms were listed as Akipraktis, Architects 61 Sdn Bhd, Atelier ADT Akitek (Asia) Sdn Bhd, NWKA Architects Sdn Bhd, PI Architect, RDC Arkitek Sdn Bhd, Ridzuwan Zaihan Associates Sdn Bhd, RSP Architects Sdn Bhd, SA Architects Sdn Bhd and VERITAS Architects Sdn Bhd.

“Although this was not necessarily our intention, a number of governmental authorities in some countries require Top 10 status for the award of large government contracts today.

“The Top 10 architects are telling us more and more that both their clients and their bankers are beginning to ask for their top ten credentials – a telling indication that ‘The Top 10 Awards has become a benchmark of professional and commercial solidarity and excellence in the industry.“

Acknowledging that success does not happen overnight for any of the property developers or architecture firms, he said that the top ten recipients of the awards, having mastered the challenge of building a successful business and earned the trust of stakeholders, should now accelerate their efforts in contributing to a more sustainable environment.

“Last year, we called on the leaders of the architecture and development community to make the Top 10 not just a commercial success, but also a green success.

“It is often at this juncture where the third ‘P’ of the triple bottom line emerges: After securing profits, and caring for the planet, you want to do something for the people.“

Drawing similarities to the same thought process occurring at BCI Asia in serving the same industry, he also noted that several issues were amiss where there should be more active participation.

“Social equity is in a bad place. I call it ‘the sick man of humanity‘ and he is getting progressively worse.

“ Of the seven billion people on the planet today, there are currently 830 million either homeless or living in informal settlements and slums – UN (United Nations) statistics say there will be 2.25 billion in 2030,“ he lamented.

He quoted Harvard Professor Kasturi Rangan who observed that the top five reasons why low-income people are disadvantaged when accessing goods or services were because of insufficient information, lack of competition, entry barriers, lack of property rights and high transaction costs.

“As an economist, I can see the word ‘economic inefficiency’ written all over this list. It is striking that it is precisely this market inefficiency that BCI is helping to overcomae with our project information service.

“In the big scheme of things, what we do as a company, at our core, is to provide market transparency,“ he said.

Posing a list of rhetorics, he asked, “What if we could do the same thing that we’re doing in the formal construction market also in the informal construction market? What if we could have this role that we play for the well-off also for the billions of people who are waiting to have their housing needs discovered by the global building industry?“

“It is these thoughts that have caused us to start addressing the construction needs of the poor. We have recently begun a research project in the Philippines to establish the construction cost of average dwelling units in squatter settlements in Quezon City.

“What we’re aiming to do is to gauge the region’s informal market for the most common building materials and components, like wood, Portland cement, corrugated steel, doors, windows, etc. The idea is to ultimately wake up the building industry to this enormous market that can be the source of unimagined economic growth in the future,“ emphasised Krups indentifying a huge segment of needs in this market.

Urging this year’s winners to broaden their definition of the construction market, he said that it is also perhaps time to “reframe“ their understanding of “informal housing as an entrepreneurial opportunity, and to embark on a new quest of social innovation.“

“Maybe in a few years, there will be a third set of criteria that qualify the Top 10 winners – commercial success, stewardship for the environment and a socially inclusive business approach that expands to include all of humanity,“ summed Krups of the need to exert a concerted effort in addressing the needs of the future generation.

Source: New Straits Times


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