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BCA – Strategies For A Better Built Environment

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NUS-trained civil ­engineer Grace Mui eagerly pounced on the opportunity to work on the construction of the MBS when BCA sent her for a work ­attachment at MBS’ engineering company.

I’ve always loved Physics and Mathematics so it was only natural that I took up the BCA Scholarship to pursue Civil Engineering.  To me, BCA was the place to be as it would allow me to enjoy a broad range of career progression opportunities and personal satisfaction.

It was also my fascination with buildings that made me gravitate towards the BCA Scholarship. Over the years with BCA, I had the opportunity to wear many hats, taking on diverse portfolios that range from engineering and regulatory work to policy formulation work to boost productivity and develop the industry’s workforce.

The Incredible Journey
From the first day I joined BCA, the journey has been incredible! I started out in the Building Engineering Group, where my work included reviewing building designs to ensure structural safety, as well as enhancing and enforcing the regulatory framework.

After accumulating experience in the engineering field for a few years and completing a part-time Masters course in Civil Engineering, I had my first secondment at a private design firm. While I was there, I spent a memorable year being part of the structural design team for Orchard Central, a popular shopping mall along Orchard Road.

I jumped at the chance to be part of the MBS project, so as to gain first-hand experience working on an iconic development. BCA arranged for my posting to ARUP Singapore, a leading international engineering consultancy firm. MBS is a one-of-its-kind project which integrates a mega mall, hotel, uniquely-designed museum, Singapore’s first casino, and more. Its unique design presented many challenges, as I witnessed many engineering challenges and innovative solutions being used in this truly magnificent project.

After the MBS project, I was posted to the Strategic Policy Department in BCA, where I was actively involved in formulating a roadmap to enhance the construction industry’s productivity. We set up the $250 million Construction Productivity and Capability Fund to promote technology adoption, manpower and capability development and incentive schemes to raise construction productivity.

Another of my stints was with the ­Manpower Planning Department, which was an exceptionally challenging and fulfilling time during which we rolled out various scholarship and apprenticeship ­programmes to attract talents from the local universities, polytechnics and ITE, as well as job seekers to the built environment sector.

Learning Opportunities
My career has been a steady ­progression through the years.  I’m really grateful for the diverse learning and ­development ­opportunities that BCA has given me. It’s the ­continual learning from facing new challenges each day that keeps my ­passion going. For instance, in my ­recent role as a Director of Structural Investigation and Special Duties Department, which oversees and ensure the safety of buildings and infrastructure, I studied overseas ­cases of collapsed structures so as to prevent ­similar cases from occurring here. The ­most ­impactful of my ­personal ­enrichment would be having to adapt quickly to a ­non-technical field in formulating macro policies. It expanded my mind to be more creative in resolving issues that cut across different functions of BCA.

Currently, I am heading the Planning and Policy Department of the Construction Productivity Centre.  My role is to ­review the policy levers in the drive towards ­higher construction productivity and we are formulating the Second Construction Productivity Roadmap.  One of the focus ­areas would  be to venture into high ­impact game changing technology to boost the construction productivity.  For example, we are looking at prefabricated, prefinished volumetric construction (PPVC).  This is like building with Lego blocks.  The room-sized modules are prefabricated in factories with better quality control and completed with internal finishes, fixtures and fittings before being transported and installed on site.  I am sure there will be exciting times as we forge ahead in this new development area.

BCA offers ample self-development opportunities for scholars like me. These ­include overseas learning journeys as well as mentoring by seniors. For example, I have been to Australia to learn about ­productive building technologies, and also travel to Hong Kong to study the use of high-strength concrete. Our mentoring scheme makes it easy for scholars to seek advice and guidance from mentors who are in the senior management.
Having a passion for public service and the strong will to make a difference is ­definitely a must for one seeking a ­scholarship here. As a BCA scholar, you can be the mover and shaker for the transformation of the construction industry, and hence the champion for the delivery of an excellent built environment for Singapore. The exposure in BCA has transformed me to become a more all-rounded and confident person. Join us! The sky is the limit in the challenges and rewards that await you!

Grace Mui Chi Ki
BCA Scholarship
Age: 38
Attained: Bachelor of Engineering (Civil), Master of Science ­­­­­­
(Civil Engineering), NUS
Now: Director of Planning & Policy Department, Construction
Productivity Centre
From: Nanyang JC