Singapore consultancy drafts in unions to train 630 staff in digital construction

Singapore-headquartered infrastructure consultancy Surbana Jurong has signed an agreement with unions to create a digital phalanx of 630 staff through intensive training in digital construction techniques.

The Building Construction and Timber Industries Employees’ Union (BATU) will mobilise workers, organise mentorships and collect feedback to fine-tune the training.

In a memorandum of understanding signed today, BATU and Singapore’s National Trades Union Congress (NTUC) agreed to help Surbana Jurong set up a company training committee to boost the "digital readiness" of Surbana Jurong employees. 

The Surbana Jurong Group has a global workforce of more than 16,000 employees in 120 offices across Asia.

Site supervisors will be taught how to use a proprietary tool called Audiance for site data collection and inspections.

Also today, Surbana Jurong signed a collaboration agreement with Glodon, a Shenzhen-listed construction technology company, to promote 5D Building Information Modelling (BIM) in quantity surveying and cost management in its projects across Asia with Glodon’s Cubicost technology platform.

Surbana Jurong embarked on its digital journey in 2016 by setting up "Digital Management Office" to develop BIM, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR) and drone capabilities.

The company will also seek accreditation as a training centre for drones in Singapore.

Of the agreements today, Surbana Jurong’s chief executive Mr Wong Heang Fine said: "Since early on, we have decided on a people-centric approach in our adoption of digital technologies by placing emphasis on inculcating in our workforce a culture of innovation."

He said the initiatives today responded to Singapore’s Construction Industry Transformation Map, a technology-driven effort to improve productivity.

BATU’s executive secretary Mr Zainal Sapari said: "We at BATU are committed to walk this journey with our workers.

"Firstly, by helping them visualise the potential of such transformation sweeping across the construction sector.

"Secondly, by equipping them with adaptive skills especially in change management that not only complements their mastery of new technologies but also empowers them to become agents of change within the company.

"And thirdly, to ultimately enable them to move up the value chain and seize better wages, welfare and work prospects."

Image: Seated from left: BATU General Secretary Noor Irdawaty Jammarudin, Surbana Jurong Group CCO Chong Lit Cheong and NTUC’s Gary Goh. Standing from left: BATU Executive Secretary Zainal Sapari, Surbana Jurong Group CEO Wong Heang Fine, NTUC Secretary-General Ng Chee Meng and Surbana Jurong Chairman Liew Mun Leong (Surbana Jurong)

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