THE Housing & Development Board (HDB) is looking to boost construction productivity by up to 25 per cent by 2020 amid concerns over a labour crunch.
It has launched a new HDB Construction Productivity Framework aimed at encouraging the use of innovative construction methods and optimising current processes and systems.
As the government moderates foreign worker growth, the adoption of unconventional ways to sustain the construction industry's growth is mandatory as it faces strong projected demand in the foreseeable years, said Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry and National Development Lee Yi Shyan.
Mr Lee said around 30,000 workers are hired for HDB projects, out of the 271,209 foreign construction workers in the construction industry (not limited to the housing sector).
"The fact that SMEs are facing a severe manpower crunch is real and painful, but the policy of moderating foreign worker growth is also a reality," he said.
In its bid to implement innovative construction methods, HDB is exploring technologies that facilitate mechanisation and automation to reduce on-site construction time, labour, noise and dust pollution.
HDB is also looking at improving productivity in precast plants through automation, given that many existing prefab plants here are still very labour-intensive, said Mr Lee.
On the process optimisation front, HDB is promoting the use of building information modelling (BIM), which eliminates the need for manual 2D drawings, facilitates better teamwork and reduces abortive work.
Project submissions to HDB will be required to be in BIM format from 2015.
Mr Lee was speaking at the launch of the inaugural HDB Professional Engagement and Knowledge-sharing Forum (PEAK Forum), which represents HDB's focused engagement with professionals in the building and construction industry.
An exhibition showcase on the next phase of development of Punggol was also launched for public consultation. It ends on Oct 28.