One Day Fully Automated Construction Might Just Be Possible

Scholarship Guide One Day Fully Automated Construction Might Just Be Possible BCA Scholar Poh Hsien Wee
Wee Poh Hsien

Growing up, Poh Hsien’s parents used to tell her stories of their kampung lives—wherein those days, proper housing and infrastructure were sparse; flooding and fire within living spaces were common incidents. High-rise buildings, once thought to be impossible, are now ubiquitous. Even the bridges and highways that barely existed before are now part of the everyday basic infrastructure.

Having witnessed how the Singapore cityscape has since evolved, with the built environment sector playing a huge role in elevating the nation’s standard of living, even achieving engineering feats such as the iconic Marina Bay Sands and Jewel Changi Airport, Poh Hsien was inspired. Her interest in the built environment, in particular—civil engineering, was ignited.

Scholarship Guide One Day Fully Automated Construction Might Just Be Possible BCA Scholar Poh Hsien Wee
Wee Poh Hsien

Today, Poh Hsien is an engineer in the Building Engineering Group with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA). Read on as she shares more about the BCA Local Undergraduate Scholarship and offers a sneak peek into her job scopes and attachment opportunities, providing insights into the smart construction technologies and innovations of tomorrow.

Singapore has made great progress over the years. Feeling privileged to grow up and live here, I hope to contribute to Singapore’s future development.

BCA plays an integral role in ensuring a high quality, safe, sustainable, and inclusive built environment in Singapore. By working with industry stakeholders,
the agency aims to transform and shape the local built environment, driving improvements to the country’s overall living ecosystem.

As such, taking up the BCA Scholarship allows me to merge my interest in the built environment sector with my desire to give back to Singapore meaningfully. Having completed a 3-month internship at BCA after my ‘A’ Levels and had my first-hand experience on the wide-ranging scopes within the agency, I was confident that my time here would be enriching and purposeful.

Key takeaway: The efforts of not one but all. Having completed my higher education with the BCA scholarship, coupled with the invaluable industry exposure, I have learnt that besides having strong technical skills, we must possess a comprehensive and holistic understanding of the industry to bring about positive changes. The built environment sector comprises many stakeholders, and it is imperative that as a regulator, BCA continues to formulate policies taking into consideration all aspects to drive the industry forward.

Scholarship Guide One Day Fully Automated Construction Might Just Be Possible BCA Scholar Poh Hsien Wee
Wee Poh Hsien

Construction technologies and innovations are on the rise and have been reshaping the industry. The adoption of new construction methods, such as prefabricated prefinished volumetric construction (PPVC), changes construction workflow and improves productivity. With the aid of digital tools, remote site supervision is also now feasible. More than ever, having witnessed how the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the built environment sector, the industry must continue harnessing such technologies to reduce the effects of the labour crunch.

As we draw on advanced technologies to help the industry build smart, green, and efficiently, policies and regulations must be reviewed regularly to ensure that these innovations are safe, reliable, and accurate. There is certainly great potential for digital solutions and innovations to integrate and grow within the sector, and I hope to be part of this journey with BCA. Who knows? Fully automated construction might just be a possibility in the future!

Gaining public and private sector exposure with BCA: I was earlier posted to the Building Engineering Group in BCA, where I had a good mix of desk-bound and on-site work. Besides reviewing structural plans, formulating and reviewing policies, engaging with industry stakeholders, and attending to public feedback and enquiries, I carried out site inspections and went on on-site visits to gain practical experience. I also worked alongside fellow public officers on COVID-19 related matters, such as aiding in efforts to allow the industry to restart on-site works safely and smoothly after the Circuit Breaker period in 2020.

I am currently on an attachment with a private consultancy firm, where I am involved in design works for tender and ongoing projects. The opportunity to assume the role of a civil engineer in a private firm has been deeply enriching and enlightening. Not only does it allow me to gain first-hand design experience and expose me to various engineering designs, but it also deepens my understanding of the industry and the challenges the private sector faces. It gives me a fresh perspective by being on the receiving end of the policies and regulations that I have reviewed in my previous role in BCA. I look forward to putting these experiences and knowledge to good use when I am back with the agency—by formulating policies that the industry needs and understands.

BCA Local Undergraduate Scholarship

From: Bachelor of Engineering (Civil Engineering) with Honours, National University of Singapore (NUS)
Now: Engineer, Building Engineering Group, BCA