A new three-year plan to boost the construction industry's productivity will focus on more prefabrication and further enhancing the skills of workers.
To support this Second Construction Productivity Roadmap, the Government is pumping in a fresh $450 million, said Senior Minister of State for National Development Lee Yi Shyan yesterday.
The new road map builds on the first in 2010, which focused on manpower, machinery and new building methods. The results from the first five-year plan, which ends this May, have been encouraging, said Mr Lee.
Site productivity - the floor area completed per man-day - has risen by 1.4 per cent each year since 2010.
"This is encouraging but we can certainly do more," he said.
Hence, the second road map will focus on building as many parts as possible in off-site factories.
These prefabricated parts - from walls to entire housing units - are then assembled on site, saving time and manpower on the ground.
Another aim is to build a skilled workforce. This is not just at the level of construction site workers, but further upstream at the design stage.
More funding will be provided for these efforts. The 2010 road map was accompanied by the first tranche of the Construction Productivity and Capability Fund, initially $250 million but later raised to $335 million.
The second tranche of $450 milliom, for June this year to May 2018, is expected to benefit about 7,000 firms.
The Building and Construction Authority said yesterday that about 70 per cent of the new sum will support technology adoption. From June, the funding limit for the Productivity Innovation Projects scheme will double to $10 million, for projects that improve productivity by at least 20 per cent.
The Workforce Training and Upgrading scheme will give subsidies of up to 90 per cent for locals in the industry. There will also be a new programme for Institute of Technical Education graduates and new diploma and postgraduate sponsorships.