Singapore to offer 80% funding to construction firms embracing robots

©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier

In its ongoing campaign to modernise the country’s construction sector, the government of Singapore will offer up to 80% funding for construction companies who adopt robotics and other technologies to reduce dependency on low-skilled migrant labour.

Announced today by Mr Tan Kiat How, minister for development and information, the joint initiative of the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) and Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) aims to boost productivity by automating labour-intensive tasks like painting, drilling and carrying materials on-site.

They say robotics and automation would also improve safety by cutting the risk of falls from height and injuries caused by carrying heavy loads, while simplifying façade maintenance and inspections.

Technology vendors are invited to register their interest in the scheme by emailing the IMDA.

Last year the government launched its Built Environment Living Laboratory Framework allowing construction companies to try new technologies. Around 30 proposals have been submitted by 10 companies. Test sites include Punggol Town and Jurong Lake Gardens.

In addition, the Building Innovation Panel, first formed in 2011 to facilitate in-principle acceptance for technologies that lie outside the country’s regulatory framework, was expanded in 2019 to include robotics and automation.

It got in-principle acceptance for prefabricated prefinished volumetric construction (PPVC) and prefabricated bathroom unit (PBU) systems for adoption in projects.

It also approved the autonomous ‘Robo-Carrier’ developed by Shimizu, which will be deployed at the Mount Alvernia Hospital Extension project in the fourth quarter of this year.

Image ©GCR, illustration by Denis Carrier

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