SOUTHEAST ASIA CONSTRUCTION14 Oct 2021
Three engineers honoured for innovative solutions on S’pore projects
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Three Professional Engineers (PEs) have won the BCA Design and Engineering Safety ‘Excellence’ Awards this year. Given by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA), these awards recognise the engineers and their teams for their innovative designs and engineering solutions to some of Singapore’s most challenging projects.

Tekka Place: Building sustainably through innovation

Fourth time award winner Engineer (Er.) Aaron Foong of KTP Consultants Pte Ltd (a member of Surbana Jurong) was recognised for his engineering solutions to a delicate building project - the redevelopment of Tekka Place, an existing building with two basements seated on soft marine clay located within the LTA Railway Protection Zone and hemmed in by conserved shophouses.

To build sustainably, Er. Foong re-engineered the existing basement diaphragm wall so that it could have a dual function of supporting both the construction works of new substructures (below ground) and the increased loading from new superstructures (above ground) in the redeveloped main block. With this re-engineering approach, there was no need to build new conventional periphery basement earth retaining walls and the accompanying foundation piles, saving 3,400 cu m of concrete and 400 t of reinforcement steel.

These savings in concrete and steel quantities were substantial – equivalent to the amount of concrete and steel used for all the concrete structures supporting the entire 320-room Citadines Rochor serviced residences above the Tekka mall. Beyond savings in cost and carbon footprint, this innovative structural engineering design enabled the construction period to be reduced by six months without compromising safety standards, thus minimising disamenities to surrounding residents and traffic flow along Sungei and Serangoon Roads.

State Courts: Turning challenge into solution

Er. Loh Kar Kheng of CPG Consultants Pte Ltd was recognised for his engineering solutions in the construction of the iconic State Courts. Due to the narrow open space between the court and office towers, a wind tunnel study was conducted to understand the effect wind would have on the towers and link bridges of the project, which would affect the building’s deflection as well as human comfort.

To overcome the challenge of constructing the slender office tower, 39 link bridges were planned to span the circulation space connecting the office tower and the stockier court tower. These link bridges in turn provided lateral stability to the office tower.

Each link bridge was prefabricated and delivered to the jobsite as one unit, and then hoisted and placed into position on temporary supporting corbels before final connections were made safely. This allowed the project to be constructed within a constrained space, reducing disamenities and also minimised the need for working at height, improving safety on site.

Eunoia Junior College: Using prefabrication in an inventive way

Another winner, Er. Joanne Ee, formerly from CPG Consultants Pte Ltd but now with BCA, was recognised for her engineering solutions in the construction of Eunoia Junior College (EJC). EJC is the first project in Singapore to integrate mass engineered timber (MET) with concrete for a high-rise building.

This project adopted a prefabricated hybrid timber-concrete slab system (CREE) for slab construction and a unitised facade system with internal cross laminated timber (CLT) panels for external walls. As CLT panels have a lower carbon footprint compared to steel or concrete, the project’s environmental friendliness was enhanced.

In addition, with 70% of the project being prefabricated prior to installation, productivity was increased by 55%, reducing the overall construction period. By relying on prefabrication with work done off-site, it also resulted in less disturbance to the project’s surroundings, including the nearby Bishan-Ang Mo Kio Park. The prefabricated components were installed on-site with simple connections and were extremely lightweight, environmentally sustainable and met all requirements for strength, fire, waterproofing and durability.

A total of three Excellence and four Merit winners were recognised for their engineering achievements this year. For a complete listing of the winners and their projects, please visit: https://go.gov.sg/bca-desa-ebooklet-2021

Note: Details of the winning projects will be published in the Nov/Dec 2021 issue of Southeast Asia Construction.

Image credits:
Image 1: KTP Consultants Pte Ltd (Tekka Place) / CPG Consultants Pte Ltd (State Courts and EJC)
Image 2: KTP Consultants Pte Ltd
Image 3: Er. Loh Kar Kheng 
Image 4: Er. Joanne Ee