Singapore: BCA Announced A Separate Scheme to Push Green Practices

SINGAPORE: A scheme to get small construction firms to adopt green work practices and be gracious was launched on Thursday by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

Under the voluntary scheme, firms are required to implement measures to minimise dust and noise. This will benefit residents who live near projects handled by small firms.

Separately, BCA also announced a revised Green and Gracious Builder Scheme for larger firms.

Straits Construction, which is developing a residential project in Kovan, has put up natural and high tech sound barriers to minimise the noise generated. It has also put up special netting to minimise dust from reaching the surrounding neighbourhood.

The company also sends its staff around the neighbourhood on a regular basis to get residents’ feedback on issues ranging from trucks blocking the streets to dust.

Beyond that, it also looks inwards to focus on the welfare of its 350 or so workers. This includes building a gym, reading area and even a vegetable garden where workers can grow produce.

For its efforts, the company has been awarded the “Star” rating at this year’s Green and Gracious Builder Award. It is one of 21 builders recognised for its efforts, and will receive its award on May 22.

The features at this construction site are some of the ways BCA said larger firms can implement the human resource touch into their gracious practices. In fact, it is an enhanced feature in the revised scheme.

The revised Green and Gracious Builder Scheme will become mandatory progressively from 2015 onwards.

Larger construction firms wanting to take on public sector projects will need to be certified under the scheme in order to register or renew their registration. BCA expects some 400 firms to be certified under this scheme by 2016.

However, BCA acknowledges some of the criteria under this scheme may not be relevant to smaller firms, hence the need for a separate scheme.

Dr John Keung, CEO of the BCA, said: “Take for example, a site office. When you are working on a big construction project, you need a site office. But if you’re just building one bungalow or two terrace houses, you don’t need a big site office. So there is no issue of using energy-efficient lighting or air-conditioning for your site office.”

As for challenges faced by smaller firms in implementing features to mitigate noise and dust, it is all about planning ahead. Tan Soon Kian, managing director of Unison Construction, said: “You need to price this into the tender so that at least during the construction, you don’t say (you’re) out of budget because you’ve already provisioned for this measure.”

Residents said having a good working relationship benefits all parties.

Pok Chye Heng, a Kovan resident, said: “They will be here for at least two to three years. So the relationship is just like (one with) a neighbour. If you have a bad neighbour, every day you will face problems and more problems (will be introduced). If the relationship is not good, you will try to pinpoint issues and it’ll take more time to solve the problems.”

Mr Pok said it is less time consuming when there is an open channel of discussion with those involved.

Source: Channel NewsAsia

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