Precast building parts factory opens; cuts manpower for building projects by 70%

Mr Raymond Chan, Projector Director from the SEF Group, which has just opened Spacehub, an Integrated Construction and Prefabrication Hub that makes precast concrete components in a high-tech way.
Mr Raymond Chan, Projector Director from the SEF Group, which has just opened Spacehub, an Integrated Construction and Prefabrication Hub that makes precast concrete components in a high-tech way.ST PHOTO: YEO KAI WEN

SINGAPORE - The first highly automated and mechanised factory producing components for the construction industry opened on Wednesday.

The integrated factory, built by construction firm SEF Group, produces precast components such as walls, staircases and beams.

The factory cuts down the amount of manpower needed for a building project by about 70 per cent.

Mr Raymond Chan, project director of the factory, said: "With the manpower crunch and higher manpower costs now, this will lower operating costs."

He said that one important feature of the factory is that it is able to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, producing a constant supply of components in large capacities.

One of the advantages of the integrated hub is that there is no need to wait for one task to finish before starting the next, he explained.

In a traditional open precast yard, for example, it would take 12 hours for concrete to dry in the making of slabs, and nothing else can be done in the meantime due to a lack of space, he said.

SEF Group won the first land tender by the Building and Construction Authority for the development of a Integrated Construction and Prefabrication Hub in 2013.

Mr Chan told reporters that production has already commenced for five projects- a food hub, three nursing homes, and a dormitory for his company's workers.


Correction note: An earlier version of this story said that the factory cuts the manpower needed for a building project by about 30 per cent. That is incorrect. The figure should be about 70 per cent. We are sorry for the error.