Building and Construction Authority
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Logo of the BCA
|Jurisdiction||Government of Singapore|
|Headquarters||52 Jurong Gateway Road #11-01, Singapore 608550 (Above JEM)|
|Parent agency||Ministry of National Development (Singapore)|
The Building and Construction Authority (Abbreviation: BCA; Chinese: 建设局) is a statutory board under the Ministry of National Development of the Singapore Government. It was established on 1 April 1999 through the merger of the Construction Industry Development Board and the Building Control Division of the former Public Works Department.
The primary role of BCA is to develop and regulate Singapore's building and construction industry.
Enhancing Building Safety
BCA ensures that buildings in Singapore are designed, constructed and maintained to high standards of safety through its building regulatory system. The system oversees the approval of building and structural plans, periodic structural inspection for existing buildings, and regulation of excavation works, civil defence shelters, exterior features of buildings, and outdoor advertisement signs. Furthermore, BCA enforces regulations on dangerous buildings and unauthorised building works. It is also responsible for licensing builders and specialist builders, to ensure professional standards of construction works.
In October 2004, BCA issued a window retrofitting order, requiring aluminium rivets fitted on casement windows to be replaced with stainless steel rivets. Since the order came into force, BCA and the Housing Development Board (HDB) have been urging property owners and tenants to practise window safety through a public campaign. Every year, 6 June and 12 December have been designated as “Window Safety Days”, where property owners and tenants are encouraged to check their windows at least once every six months.
BCA is also the lead agency in Singapore in regulating amusement rides to protect public safety. In July 2011, a new regulatory framework was introduced to protect the safety of ride-goers in Singapore.
Promoting Building Quality Excellence
BCA is involved in raising the quality of Singapore’s built environment through various initiatives, such as the Construction Quality Assessment System (CONQUAS) and the BCA Quality Mark. Introduced in 1989, CONQUAS is the de facto yardstick to measure the quality of building workmanship in Singapore. Meanwhile, the BCA Quality Mark assesses the workmanship of individual residential units.
Championing Environmental Sustainability
BCA actively promotes the use of green building technologies and designs through its Green Building Masterplan and various initiatives. Under the second Green Building Masterplan which was launched in 2009, BCA seeks to achieve the national target of greening at least 80% of the buildings in Singapore by 2030.
The BCA Green Mark Scheme was launched in 2005 to promote sustainability in the built environment and raise environmental awareness among developers, designers and builders. It assesses the environmental friendliness and energy efficiency of buildings. In 2005, there were only 17 Green Mark building projects in Singapore.
However, in December 2011, there are more than 940 green building projects, translating to a gross floor area of about 300 million ft2, or 12% of Singapore’s total gross floor area. The BCA Green Mark Scheme includes districts, parks, infrastructure, office interiors, and residential and non-residential buildings. In 2011, the Scheme was extended to include restaurants and existing schools.
In 2010, BCA became the first government agency outside North America to be conferred the Aspen Institute’s Energy and Environment Award (Government) for its comprehensive policies and programmes in steering the development of green buildings and sustainable construction in Singapore. In 2011, Singapore was ranked first in green building policies, before advanced cities like Tokyo, Sydney and Seoul, in a study conducted by Solidiance on Asia-Pacific cities.
Furthermore, BCA clinched the inaugural Regional Leadership Award, one of the six awards handed out at the World Green Building Council Government Leadership Awards 2011, for its exceptional Green Building Masterplan and leadership in the green building movement in Asia Pacific.
BCA’s Green Mark scheme has also extended its reach beyond Singapore and is gaining popularity in over 10 countries within the region. To date, more than 120 projects in countries like China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, India, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia, The Philippines and Tanzania have applied for the Green Mark certification.
BCA also collaborates with international partners such as the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to promote sustainable building practices. On 14 September 2011, BCA and UNEP finalised an agreement establishing BCA’s Centre for Sustainable Buildings as a “Centre Collaborating with UNEP”, which is the first in Asia and one of the few centres in the world to collaborate with UNEP. Through the collaboration, both BCA and UNEP will provide policy advice and outreach activities related to sustainable resource management in the building sector in tropical cities and regions worldwide.
BCA organised the second International Green Building Conference in September 2011, which was held during the Singapore Green Building Week. The event attracted close to 1,000 delegates from over 32 countries, including acclaimed industry experts and practitioners, as well as policy-makers, who addressed challenges and explored innovative, sustainable and actionable green building solutions for the tropics and sub-tropics. Other notable green building events that BCA conducts include the roving BCA Green Building Exhibitions which showcase useful green building tips and information for residents to make their homes more environmentally friendly. In addition, the annual BCA Awards recognises sustainable buildings, while honouring industry professionals who are committed to safe, high quality and user-friendly buildings.
In 2009, BCA launched South-East Asia’s first Zero Energy Building (ZEB) which is located at the BCA Academy of the Built Environment. The ZEB was retrofitted from an existing building and serves as a test-bedding centre for green building technologies. The building produces as much energy as it consumes from renewable sources and is expected to be about 40-50% more efficient than an office building of similar layout.
Enhancing Barrier Free Accessibility
In 1990, BCA introduced the Code on Barrier-Free Accessibility, reshaping the accessibility landscape of Singapore’s built environment by improving inter-connectivity between buildings and upgrading existing buildings to make them more accessible. A $40 million fund has been set aside to co-fund voluntary upgrading on basic barrier-free features over a period of five years. Additionally, BCA has legislative measures in place to ensure continued compliance to the Code and to prevent misuse of barrier-free facilities.
BCA also promotes Universal Design (UD) for buildings to cater to the needs of all users, including the young, the elderly, persons with disabilities, and parents with infants. The BCA Universal Design Award was launched in early 2007, recognising outstanding achievements by building developers and owners to incorporate barrier-free accessibility and UD in their developments.
BCA maintains an Accessibility Rating System on its Friendly Buildings portal, which classifies buildings according to levels of user-friendliness. The rating system provides detailed information such as the location of accessible entrances and other accessibility facilities, to aid building users on locating accessible buildings in Singapore. As at end December 2011, about 3,000 buildings have been rated and about 2,200 of them are accessible.
Transforming the Building and Construction Industry
BCA has put in place many schemes to help raise the construction industry’s skill levels and professionalism, design and construction capabilities, niche expertise, and the export of construction-related services. Some examples are the Construction Registration of Tradesmen (CoreTrade) Scheme to establish a core base of trade foremen and tradesmen, and the BCA Academy of the Built Environment to develop a professional workforce and encourage the adoption of innovative technologies. BCA International, a wholly owned subsidiary formed by BCA, paves the way for local construction companies to offer a full scope of expertise and value-added services to assist overseas governments and clients in developing excellent built environments.
BCA also established a Construction Productivity Centre to guide and advise construction firms on the latest construction technologies and re-engineering processes to achieve time and labour savings. This is in line with Singapore’s national productivity drive, where BCA introduced a S$250-million Construction Productivity and Capability Fund (CPCF) in June 2010 to help the construction industry build up a skilled workforce, adopt more advanced construction technologies, and enhance building capability in niche areas.
BCA strongly promotes the adoption of Building Information Modelling (BIM), a modelling process that allows professionals to work on a building project digitally before it is built, leading to more sustainable design and higher construction productivity. BCA targets to get 80 per cent of the industry to use BIM widely by 2015, and is working with the public sector to take the lead in driving greater BIM adoption and lead the productivity movement.
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