SINGAPORE - Local firms in the built environment sector have been lauded for flying the flag high, venturing abroad to deliver innovative construction projects and strengthening the Republic's brand around the world.
Amid the gloom the local construction industry is facing from the pandemic, 36 firms were on Friday (Aug 28) given the Building and Construction Authority's (BCA) inaugural SGBuilds Award for 18 international projects.
The awards recognise companies in the built environment sector for successfully internationalising and taking local partners overseas. The top awards went to the teams behind residential, commercial and industrial properties in both neighbouring countries like Cambodia as well as in far-flung locations like the Micronesia Archipelago.
The SGBuildsAward has three categories for developers, consultants and builders respectively, with the top firm in each category recognised with the SGBuilds Star Award. The three winners which clinched the top prize were real estate giant CapitaLand, consultancy firm TW-Asia Consultants and post-tensioning contractor Utracon Overseas.
Mr Hugh Lim, chief executive of BCA, said that the SGBuilds Award serve to hold up industry efforts to internationalise in a collaborative manner.
"We hope that these awards will inspire other Singapore firms across the entire built environment value chain to consider how to pool their capabilities and resources to venture into new markets overseas," he said.
CapitaLand's win comes as it marks its 11th collaboration with joint venture L&W Construction since their partnership began in 2009.
L&W is a fully-owned joint venture between construction firms Lee Kim Tah and Woh Hup Holdings, two of Singapore's oldest construction companies. Its first foray into the Indian construction sector was in phase three of International Tech Park Chennai in 2009, a property owned by CapitaLand-linked Ascendas India Trust, a Singapore-listed real estate investment trust .
Having established itself in India's IT parks sector since 1994, CapitaLand shared with L& W its strong knowledge of India's business environment and provided the joint venture with opportunities to expand in markets that CapitaLand has a presence in, said a CapitaLand spokesman.
Since then, the partnership has gone from strength to strength, with several CapitaLand International Tech Park developments in major cities across India, including CapitaLand’s winning project in the IT hub of Kharadi in Maharashtra, India.
"During these challenging times, we continue to stand with our partners to ride through this rough patch together," Ms Goh Ah Moi, CapitaLand Group's chief development officer for Singapore and international business, said.
Meanwhile, TW-Asia Consultants took home the SGBuilds Star Award in the consultant category for an eight-storey resort it worked on in Palau, Micronesia, slated for completion next year.
BCA lauded TW-Asia as a pioneer for venturing into the Pacific island state of Palau, which many in the built environment sector consider a new frontier.
One challenge TW-Asia encountered was factoring in the environmental and societal concerns of the island's residents as well as the availability of construction materials.
However, TW-Asia found success after a survey done with neighbouring residents showed that the project had won the heart of the islanders, Ms Maey Leow, director of TW-Asia said.
"We are delighted with this outcome and it bears testament to the team's vision to create an inclusive and ethical development," she added.
Construction services firm Utracon Overseas was awarded the top prize in the builder category for a six-storey building it built for the National Bank of Cambodia.
The successful collaboration won them a third project with the bank.
"Being able to venture out internationally is already challenging. On top of that, constructing a sensitive and secured project for a well-established client is something that many would not take on." said Mr Khoo Jyh Hao, director of Utracon Overseas.
He credits partners such as project management firm Atelier International Management for their "vast market familiarity in Cambodia (to meet) the goal of achieving the best project outcome".