Budget 2013: Small firms to get more funding to improve building productivity

The productivity fund will be enhanced to give smaller construction firms more funding to buy or lease equipment to improve their productivity. This was announced by Senior Minister of State (Ministry of National Development) Mr Lee Yi Shyan during the Singapore Budget 2013 on Monday.

This boost for smaller firms will come from the already existing $250 million Construction and Productivity and Capability Fund. The Government will now co-fund a higher amount - 70 per cent up from the current 50 per cent - for those who can show their new equipment can achieve at least 30 per cent in productivity improvement.

One example is a mechanised concrete power trowel that smoothens concrete floors, and will cut down the number of workers by half.

The Government also announced that contractors would need to adopt more easier-to-construct designs in order to bid for new projects starting July, with an increase in the Buildability and Constructability score.

The score indicates the extent to which pre-made materials and other modern building methods are used in the construction of a building.The requirements for new projects will increase by 3 points starting July this year, and another 2 points by July next year.

Based on past projects, noted Mr Lee, a 5 point increase in the buildability score will yield manpower savings of up to 15 per cent.

Caps for firm-level projects will also be raised from $100,000 to $300,000, allowing projects that improve their productivity by 40 per cent to enjoy funding up to $5 million.

The Government is also considering upping productivity requirements for private developers for government land sales sites, although more details would be out in the coming months.