Robotics and Internet of Things (IoT) technology were also on display alongside 3D concrete printers, immersive Big Data and Virtual Reality applications
Over 100 exhibiting brands showcased the latest productive and cutting edge technologies

The sixth edition of BuildTech Asia 2016, the region’s leading trade show for the building and construction industry, recorded an increased visitor attendance of 35% over the three-day event. Organised by Sphere Exhibits and hosted by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), the annual trade show was held from 18 to 20 October, in conjunction with the Singapore Construction Productivity Week (SCPW).

Over 100 exhibiting brands showcased the latest productive and cutting edge technologies from construction machinery to quality finishes, building and architectural solutions. Robotics and Internet of Things (IoT) technology were also on display alongside 3D concrete printers, immersive Big Data and Virtual Reality applications. Some 7000 visitors from 32 countries had the opportunity to learn about the future of construction with the use of applied technology and building materials.

Mr Lawrence Wong, Minister for National Development and Second Minister for Finance, graced the opening of the Singapore Construction Productivity Week and BuildTech Asia. He announced that the Singapore government is committed to help firms harness the full potential of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Virtual Design Construction to improve collaboration and enhance the construction management process.

Mr Chua Wee Phong, Chairman of Sphere Exhibits Pte Ltd, said: “The pace of digital transformation in this domain is accelerating across multiple sectors within construction. We are very pleased that BuildTech Asia, in its sixth year, has continued to attract strong interest and support from exhibitors and visitors alike and we hope that the increasing uptake of these technologies will spur the construction industry towards greater productivity.”

Innovative technologies

“BuildTech Asia provides a good learning experience to understand more about the building space and its evolution over the years. We are also happy to note that the trade platform now plays a strong role in bridging knowledge gaps through its’ ancillary conferences and associated trade activities. This is the future of the built environment industry and BuildTech Asia is at the very heart of it.”

Thirty-five key technologies under seven R&D clusters were identified to enable the built environment sector to sustain productivity improvements in the long term. These areas include Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA), automated equipment and robotics, infocomm technology, Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Virtual Design and Construction (VDC), 3D printing, advanced construction materials and productive solutions for civil engineering works. Additionally, BCA’s announcement to fund $2 million for four research projects will focus on solutions that drive DfMA in the sector with much on-site construction works shifted to off-site prefabrication and automation in a factory environment as well as improving integration across the construction value chain.

Dr John Keung, CEO of BCA, said that the built environment sector needs to constantly develop and harness innovations and new technologies to improve construction productivity and resource efficiencies, given the tightened manpower supply in this sector. This shift in approach will result in better job creation in the sector.

"The pace of digital transformation in this domain is accelerating across multiple sectors within construction”


Visitors were delighted to see the array of exhibits demonstrating best practices in productivity and sustainability. Alfred Griffioen, founding partner at Alliance Experts, said: “Professionals in this industry do not normally associate cutting edge technology with construction, but it is highly applicable. The exhibition this year included exciting technology elements such as a 3D concrete printer, a crane that doesn’t sway and a booth which, aided by Virtual Reality applications, gave a walk through experience in a project that hasn’t yet been brought to life. I would encourage anyone in this sector to attend BuildTech Asia to get a feel of the current landscape and its emerging trends in the future.”

Strengthening knowledge-based platforms

As Singapore is in a leadership position as a hub for developing Southeast Asian markets such as Indonesia, India, Malaysia, Thailand, and the Philippines, BuildTech Asia plays a facilitation role in knowledge sharing. Some 100 trade delegates were present at site visits to the BCA Skylab, a state-of-the-art rotatable test facility pivotal to developing innovative energy efficient building technologies as well as a construction site for a residential estate comprising of nine blocks of 22 storey buildings. This site is the first in Singapore to implement the use of productive technologies such as Prefabricated Volumetric Construction (PVC) modules for three blocks, conventional 2-D precast panels for the remaining six blocks and the use of Prefabricated Bathroom Units (PBUs) for all units. The project is based on first generation (Concrete PVC) proposal using columns, beams, and slabs.

Property developers are creating customer-centric one-to-one (O2O) experience through sensor technology, Internet of Things, cloud, RFID technology, social media and data analytics to develop touchpoints with consumers. The inaugural Building Internet of Things Asia (B-IoT Asia) Conference, by a panel of well-respected speakers from the region, demonstrated how such knowledge and technology can be applied and how buildings can be constructed to cater for evolving technology requirements. Delegates engaged in deep discussions on how to apply technologies like Big Data and Internet of Things to the building and construction sector.

The Environment Sustainability Conference educated delegates on how to think, build and operate ‘Green’. Speakers showed building information modelling (BIM) can pave the way to creating a building sustainably; how machine-based learning contributes to energy management; and how to design with a view to achieving Green Mark 2015 certification. The conference also discussed how acting sustainably while constructing a building was as important as creating a building that is inherently sustainable.

Forging productive practices in innovative construction

Innovation and technology have strong impact on a company’s productivity. The inaugural SCAL Productivity and Innovation Awards (PIA) 2016 which took place at BuildTech Asia saw some 1000 visitors cast their votes on 10 finalists for the coveted Productivity & Innovation Awards by Singapore Construction Association Limited (SCAL).

PIA 2016 is an industry-led initiative designed to raise productivity in the construction sector through a ground-up approach for innovative ideas that aims to generate significant improvements at the workplace. Three winners were announced at the Environmental Sustainability Conference, held on 20 October, in conjunction with BuildTech Asia.

The winners were:

  • Gold: Lian Soon Construction Pte Ltd - Innovative Drain (iDrain) – The Durable Reusable ECM Drain
  • Silver: Samwoh Corporation Pte Ltd - Productive and Green Solution for Pavement Retexturing & Spillage Removal
  • Bronze: S C Ang Consortium Pte Ltd - GNSS for Piling Project

All winning organisations acknowledged the significance of this award in encouraging the industry to strive towards innovative work processes through a ground-up approach. Ariola Ruel Penaflor, Head, Lian Soon Construction Pte Ltd, who clinched the gold award, said: “The Productivity & Innovation Award (PIA) is an excellent platform for construction companies to come together and showcase their latest innovations and developments. Winning the gold brings us one step closer to commercialising our drain system and we hope to see the industry benefitting from this recyclable and reusable model. The iDrain will be a game-changer, by reducing wastage and manpower with its extreme sustainability. This award has given companies like us various opportunities to create impactful changes in the building scene from our small ideas.”

"BuildTech Asia provides the ideal platform to showcase and broadcast the ideas and prototypes within the industry”


Mr Kenneth Loo, President of Singapore Construction Limited (SCAL), said: “We are happy to note that the inaugural PIA Awards kicked off to a good start in our efforts to drive productivity and innovation to a different level in the built environment sector. The award has provided professionals with something to look at and something to move forward with in practice. It recognises these efforts as important and integral to build a productive culture from the grounds up, allowing practitioners greater involvement in their efforts to increase productivity and innovative solutions. BuildTech Asia provides the ideal platform to showcase and broadcast these ideas and prototypes within the industry, in line with government collaborations in this sector. SCAL will be happy to explore continued involvement as we strive to grow and develop the awards with a common vision towards driving productivity and innovation."

Forging partnerships and collaborations

Besides exploring the latest technologies and materials, delegates and exhibitors fostered new business relationships as well as commercial partnerships at BuildTech Asia. The trade exhibition was well received as it generated qualified leads for the exhibitors and much needed awareness for vendors in an industry that may otherwise not offer a lot of visibility.

Visitors saw a wide range of new innovations that could help them gain construction productivity and reduce manpower expenses at the Public Sector Co-ordinated Pavilion, amongst exhibiting country pavilions and exhibiting companies. Five government agencies—LTA, HDB, IMDA, HDB and NTU, showcased cutting edge and future technologies which were used within their respective organisations.

BuildTech Asia 2016 also provided a conducive springboard for exhibiting companies to launch new products, services and technologies into the local and international market. Various industry players announced new initiatives and partnerships aimed at elevating construction productivity in Singapore and the region:

  • Bointec, a Taiwanese company, launched their latest IoT product, HC818K, aims to launching it in the Southeast Asian (SEA) market.
  • In its second return to BuildTech Asia, FINALCAD announced a USD20m funding to help expand its suite of services in SEA. This new round of funding aims to assist the development of new technology such as object recognition, predictive analytics and augmented reality and complements their existing mobile apps in BIM for the field.
  • Korean company, Two Cap, launched a patented dual cap protector for the first time in Singapore and around the region. This product meets the standards of most countries in Asia and Europe.

BuildTech Asia will return to the Singapore Expo in October 2017. Premium spaces are now available. Organisations which are keen to exhibit at BuildTech Asia 2017 are welcome to reserve their spaces early.

Share with LinkedIn Share with Twitter Share with Facebook Share with Facebook
Download PDF version Download PDF version

In case you missed it

How Technology Helps London Fire Brigade With Incident Command
How Technology Helps London Fire Brigade With Incident Command

Drones give Incident Commanders an aerial view, increasing their situational awareness of fires and helping them to develop tactics to tackle them. Station Officer Lee Newman details how the technology was implemented by London Fire Brigade and the continued benefits. Identify external risks The Grenfell Tower fire has resulted in revisions to several operational procedures and the introduction of new equipment within the Brigade. A few months after the fire, the Brigade was tasked with setting up a trial to test the feasibility of having a drone capability to identify external risks and assess building stability at incidents, providing essential safety information that could facilitate ongoing internal firefighting operations. Implement the use of drones The Brigade implemented the use of drones and acquired a Matrice 210 V1 and a Phantom 4 Working with partners who had an existing drone capability, as well as drone experts, the Brigade began work to implement the use of drones and acquired a Matrice 210 V1 and a Phantom 4 as a trainer and reserve drone. In the summer of 2018, an Emergency Services bespoke course was run by Essex Police to train the Brigade’s team of drone pilots, who were all PfCO qualified within one week. From start to finish, it took just nine months to get London Fire Brigade’s drone team operational. Working of the drones On its first day of being available for incidents, the team received an order to attend a 15-pump fire at a leisure center, which was under renovation. They were asked to confirm if there were cylinders on the roof of the building and immediately put the drone to use. The team flew and relayed the camera footage onto a large screen that was fitted into a van provided for the trial. The drone footage was able to identify, to the Incident Commander’s satisfaction, that the cylinders were actually rolls of asphalt due to be laid on the roof as part of the renovation. If the drone concept could have proven its use in one job, this was it. The information from the drone allowed the Incident Commander to decide not to make it ‘cylinders confirmed’ and saved a lot of unnecessary extra appliance movements. Applications of drone Since that first callout, the team has been to around 300 incidents of six pumps or more, including persons in the water, fires, and various missing people’s incidents both in London and into other counties, assisting police forces. From start to finish, it took just nine months to get London Fire Brigade’s drone team operational Drone inventory The Brigade’s drone capability inventory includes a Matrice 300 with an H20T dual thermal and optical camera; a DJI Mavic 2 Enterprise Dual with multi attachments; a Mavic Air 2 and a Yuneec 520. The Brigade also has a Teradek live streaming device and multiple tablets for receiving the streamed footage. The Brigade operates with two Mitsubishi Outlander PHEVs – plug-in hybrid SUVs – and has split the drone equipment into two, with one vehicle carrying the drone and batteries, and the other carrying all the support kit and ancillaries. Working in dark conditions The drones are permitted to fly up to 400 ft above ground level or higher in an emergency and can fly as fast as 50 mph. They also can act as a loudspeaker to give instructions or reassurance and shine a bright spotlight in dark or low light conditions. 24/7 service The Brigade has eight pilots trained and operates a 24/7 service The Brigade has eight pilots trained and operates a 24/7 service. The team is working closely with its blue light partners, including the: Metropolitan Police Service, several search and rescue teams, and a host of fire services surrounding the capital, as well as giving advice to other upcoming drone teams around the UK. Use of drone in future The Brigade’s drone capability has been molded to how it sees the future and what it holds in the way of drone use. For example, the Brigade has developed a capability to drop water rescue aides to people at water incidents, which helps to keep them afloat long enough to be rescued. The drone can also be used alongside the swift water rescue teams to provide situational awareness of hazards and the resulting risks during the rescue phase. Delivering fire escape tools The Brigade also invested in fire escape hoods in late 2018 and has already demonstrated how one might be delivered via a drone to a balcony above the height of an aerial appliance while using the Mavic Enterprise 2 to relay instructions via the loudspeakers. These possible new uses are pushing the boundaries of the Brigade’s original concept and demonstrate how London Fire Brigade works to stay ahead of the curve. 

Chicago Bans Dogs From Firehouses, Despite Long-Held Tradition
Chicago Bans Dogs From Firehouses, Despite Long-Held Tradition

There is a long tradition of canines in the fire service, from Dalmatians riding shotgun in the fire truck to mixed breeds rescued from fires that later become the fire company mascot. The tradition has taken a hit recently in Chicago, where dogs are no longer allowed at firehouses after one station dog killed a smaller breed canine near a firehouse in the Englewood neighborhood. The incident The firehouse dog in Chicago, named Bones, was a mixed breed stray rescued off the street that was living at Engine 116 at 60th Street and Ashland Avenue. A neighbor was walking her smaller breed dog past the firehouse and watched in horror as Bones attacked and killed her small dog. After the incident, Chicago’s Acting Fire Commissioner Annette Nance-Holt issued a department memo: “Any and all prior permissions for dogs in the fire stations or on fire apparatuses are hereby revoked … effective immediately.” Chicago Firehouse dogs Most of Chicago’s firehouse dogs are strays that were picked up and brought to firefighters by the public. Fire crews and paramedics care for the dogs, train them, feed them and get them inoculated and spayed or neutered, then ask formal permission to keep the dogs on site. Historically, permission has been granted, in effect saving the dogs from being euthanized. Breed of choice The tradition of dogs and the fire service goes back centuries, to the 1700s, when carriage dogs first trotted alongside horse-drawn fire carriages. Dalmatians were the breed of choice, given their good temperament, calming effect on the horses Dalmatians were the breed of choice, given their good temperament, calming effect on the horses, and grace under pressure. The Fire Department of New York (FDNY) began utilizing Dalmatians as early as the 1870s. Dalmatians as firehouse ambassadors When motorized vehicles came on the scene, Dalmatians were already associated with firefighters, who continued to keep them on-site as firehouse residents and mascots. Increasingly, Dalmatians and other dogs became public ambassadors for firehouses and were involved in public education about fire safety and emergency preparedness for school and community groups. For example, Sparkles the Fire Safety Dog, a Dalmatian from Clarksville, Ark., was a character in her own set of children’s books about fire safety and traveled around the country teaching children about fire tips. reduce stress, provide comfort Currently, firehouse dogs are other breeds, too, many rescued from house fires or other tragedies. Firehouses often adopt dogs, who become symbols of resiliency, bravery, fortitude – and provide comfort and companionship for firefighters who face high levels of stress on the job. After the 9/11 attacks, two firefighters from Rochester, N.Y., gifted the FDNY Ladder 20 company a Dalmatian puppy, appropriately named Twenty. The dog served as a source of comfort to the firefighters, who lost seven members of the company in 9/11. Dogs recognize signals Taken in as a stray in 1929, a dog named Nip served 10 years with New York’s Engine Company No. 203. During his service, the dog was injured by broken glass, falling debris, scalding burns, and bruises from falling off the fire engine. Nip could recognize all bells and signals. On fire scenes, Nip could alert firefighters if he knew something was wrong and sometimes run into burning buildings to look for victims. Unfortunately, Nip was killed by a hit-and-run driver in front of the firehouse in 1939 (and was stuffed by a taxidermist and displayed at the firehouse until 1974). Dogs promote fire safety Dogs promote fire safety outside the firehouse Dogs also promote fire safety outside the firehouse. For example, accelerant-sniffing dogs are trained to detect minute traces of accelerants that may be used to start a fire, according to the State Farm Arson Dog Program. The special bond between firefighters and dogs is the stuff of legend, despite the recent unfortunate events in Chicago – an ignoble scar on a long, colorful history of dogs in the fire service. Hopes remain that the decision can somehow be reversed, based on social media postings. “This is the first tragedy I have heard of in … 25 years,” said the administrator of the Firehouse Pups group.

What Impact Has COVID-19 Had On The Fire Industry?
What Impact Has COVID-19 Had On The Fire Industry?

The COVID-19 pandemic has had ramifications for almost every industry, some more than others. With the pandemic stretching well into a second year, the non-medical consequences continue, and many are wondering about which of the required changes might become permanent. As regards the fire sector, we asked our Expert Panel Roundtable: What impact has COVID-19 had on the fire industry?

vfd