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Singapore Builds Up

The construction sector is enjoying one of its longest growth runs in Singapore’s history. New homes, schools, hospitals, roads and railways are being rolled out, as the nation continues to ramp up its building programme to develop a lively, liveable modern city for an expanding population. Flood defences are being shored up against extreme weather events caused by climate change.

After chalking up another record-breaking year in 2013, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) estimates that total contracts to be awarded in 2014 could reach the upper bound of its projected range of S$31 billion to S$38 billion, largely on public infrastructure projects such as the Thomson MRT line, Eastern Region Line, North-South Expressway and the various healthcare infrastructural developments.

The expansion in public sector construction will offset an impending decline in private sector demand due partly to the soft private residential market. The BCA expects private sector deals to account for S$12 billion-S$16 billion of total construction demand in 2014, down from S$21 billion in 2013. For 2015 and 2016, the BCA estimates contracts to be awarded will fall between S$25 billion and S$34 billion annually.

Decongesting Singapore’s Rail and Road Networks
Singapore’s rail network is being extended to provide island-wide coverage, putting the MRT within easy reach for the vast majority. Even while the Downtown Line, Thomson Line and Tuas West Extension are being completed, three new lines are being planned, which will double the network to 360 km in 2030 from 178 km today.

The longest will be the 50-km Cross Island Line, which will run across the span of Singapore, from Changi to Jurong. Targeted for completion in 2030, it will pass towns such as Loyang, Pasir Ris, Hougang, Ang Mo Kio, Bukit Timah, West Coast and Clementi along the way and provide commuters with another alternative for east-west travel to the current East-West Line.

Also on the drawing board are the 21-km Eastern Region Line and the 20-km Jurong Region Line. The Eastern Region Line will serve the residential estates of Tanjong Rhu, Marine Parade, Siglap, Bedok South and Upper East Coast, and link them to Changi in the east and interchange with the future Thomson Line, while the Jurong Region Line is a H-shaped network linking Choa Chu Kang, Tengah, Jurong East, West Coast, Boon Lay and Jurong West.

Singapore’s road system is being expanded with the construction of a new expressway to connect the city centre with towns along the north-south corridor. Running parallel to the Central Expressway (CTE), the North-South Expressway (NSE) will alleviate the traffic load on the heavily utilised CTE as well as major arterial roads nearby such as Thomson Road and Marymount Road. To be completed in 2020, it will cut down travelling time from the city to the north by up to 30% during peak hours.

Changi Takes Flight
At the Changi International Airport, Singapore’s reputation as a hub for international travellers will receive a further boost with the development of a mixed-use complex. Codenamed “Project Jewel”, the new structure with its distinctive design, unique attractions and activities for the young and old will be the centrepiece of the airport when it is completed in 2018. It is jointly developed by the Changi Airport Group and Capital Malls Asia at a cost of over S$1 billion.

Also under construction is the Changi Airport’s Terminal 4 (T4), which is designed to serve the requirements of regional full-service and low-cost carriers. Built on the site of the former Budget Terminal, T4 will have aircraft stands with aerobridges for 17 small planes and four wide-bodied aircraft, as well as a Ramp Control Tower to oversee and manage aircraft movements in the apron and surrounding taxiways. To be completed in 2017, it will be capable of handling 16 million passengers.

More Homes for More People
Three housing estates will be developed in Singapore’s drive to provide affordable homes for its expanding population. Under the Urban Redevelopment Authority’s (URA) Draft Master Plan 2013, the authority envisages the creation of three new housing estates in Bidadari, Tampines North and Punggol. Established towns such as Sembawang, Yishun, Hougang and Choa Chu Kang will also be rejuvenated with new homes, providing more options for those who prefer to live near their families.

A range of housing types will be provided in every estate, whether new or old, with green and community spaces for residents to relax and interact. And to enable Singaporeans to work closer to home, thereby reducing commuting time and easing congestion during peak hours, the government will continue to grow regional employment centres such as Jurong Lake District, Tampines Regional Centre and Paya Lebar Central.

The BCA is leveraging on the sustained demand for construction to drive change in the industry.

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