Set up training school for building trades

There is a show currently being aired on cable television about a professional contractor in the United States doing up his own home, including building a guest house from the ground up for his parents.

What struck me was the speed and efficiency of the building works.

A swimming pool was surfaced within a day; the guest house, with two bedrooms and two bathrooms, was built in six weeks.

Throughout the show, the owner-cum-contractor spoke of hiring specialist builders for each bit of work to "save time and money".

By contrast, the renovation and reconstruction of my two bathrooms in Singapore took an agonising four months.

Several portions of one bathroom had to be redone. The finished bathroom had various minor defects, such as patched up tiles where the worker had clearly damaged them by accident.

However, as it had already taken four months, I closed one eye and paid up, ending the painful process.

It seems that what is lacking in Singapore is a training school for specialist building trades.

Perhaps the Education Ministry could consider setting up one within either the Institutes of Technical Education or the polytechnics, tapping the advice and guidance of specialist builders from the US or other appropriate countries.

Graduates from these schools will have well-paid jobs for life and can help reduce the country's dependence on foreign labour.

Josephine Chong Siew Nyuk (Ms)

This article was first published on August 6, 2015. Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to for more stories.