Reducing the manpower required on construction site

Prefabricated bathrooms units (PBUs) of better workmanship quality will be a feature of all newly launched Housing Board flats by 2019.

The Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction (PPVC) method – which involves constructing and assembling 3D modular units with finishes in a factory before it is transported to a construction site for installation – will also be used in 35 per cent of all HDB projects by that time. Upcoming executive condo launches include Anchorvale Lane EC, Rivercove EC while existing ones include Parc LifeSignature at Yishun,  Brownstone EC, Visionaire EC, Inz Residence, The Criterion EC and Northwave EC, The Terrace EC,  The Vales EC, Hundred Palms Residences EC, Sol Acres EC and The Bellewoods EC. Rivercove Residences floor plans and Rivercove Residences EC details will be available shortly.

These modular components such as bedrooms, living room, household shelter and kitchen are combined in different configurations to create different flat layouts.

The measures mean that HDB, which is the largest local residential developer, will see a productivity improvement of 25 per cent by 2020 compared with 10 years before, said Mr Desmond Lee, Second Minister for National Development at the HDB Awards ceremony last night.

In recent years, materials that improved productivity have been introduced in new HDB flats.

Pre-finished vinyl strip flooring have replaced floor tiles in bedrooms since last year, and laminated unplasticised polyvinyl chloride doors – which are easier to install and more durable – were introduced this year.

The productivity improvements will translate to better on-site safety and manpower savings. A 50 per cent increase in project productivity is expected with the use of PPVC.

Residents near construction sites will also experience less noise and dust.

But the wider adoption of such technology comes at a cost – the industry can expect to incur higher construction costs of about 1 per cent for PBUs, and about 8 per cent for PPVC for every project.

An HDB spokesman said: “These costs are expected to come down as the technology matures and the industry capacities and capabilities build up over time.”

HDB added that this would not have an impact on the price of flats, and construction time of build-to-order projects will not be affected for now.

The spokesman added: “The use of volumetric construction will reduce the manpower required on site – the greatest impact would be on manpower savings and improvement in quality.

“The PBU is only a small component of the whole building project and hence manpower savings may not be significant.

“As contractors become familiar with PPVC construction, we will try to shorten the construction time.”

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