The Scotts Tower among eight projects recognised for design excellence and safety

The design of The Scotts Tower with the elevated floor plate frees up space on the lower storeys for an "open view", and room for residents to move around.
The design of The Scotts Tower with the elevated floor plate frees up space on the lower storeys for an "open view", and room for residents to move around.

SINGAPORE - Unlike many buildings here, The Scotts Tower's entire structure is held up by four inward-slanting columns, and its residential units only start from the third floor up.

These features are part of the open concept aesthetic at the condominium in Scotts Road.

At the residential development, the load of 30 stories is carried by a single, elevated floor plate, instead of extending down to the ground level, said the project's lead structural engineer Aaron Foong on Monday (May 29).

He is one of six professional engineers to win the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Design Engineering and Safety Excellence Awards this year. The awards recognise engineering solutions which overcame project challenges and ensured safe design and construction.

The design of The Scotts Tower with the elevated floor plate frees up space on the lower storeys for an "open view", and room for residents to move around, added Mr Foong, who is also the lead engineer for NUS AS8, the new building of the National University of Singapore's Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences.

"Space is important because we are living in an environment that's very dense. Every single footprint area is valuable. If we can free it up in a cost-effective manner, that is something we should strive for," said Mr Foong, who is also from engineering company KTP Consultants.

There are very few buildings in Singapore which have such an "open view" concept at its lower storeys, he added.

During the construction process, his team faced challenges such as unfavourable soil conditions and close proximity to an MRT protection zone. The team also had to build a "second generation foundation" on a limited space, due to leftover foundation from the previous Cairnhill Towers on the same land area.

They overcame these challenges by using a dual-ring earth retaining wall, which allowed them to construct the tower and excavate the podium basement at the same time. The ring also enabled them to remove the soft clayish soil while protecting the MRT tunnels along Scotts Road.

The building also has a "outrigger transfer system" which stabilises its structure (see graphic), among other innovative features. The Scotts Tower has an estimated construction cost of $105 million. It was developed by Far East Organization.

For this year's BCA awards, the six engineers who won were behind eight projects recognised under the awards.

Besides The Scotts Tower, the top award was handed out to engineers of the following developments: SBF Center, NUS AS8 and the Singapore Management University School of Law building.

Engineers received merit awards for these developments: H2O Residences, Galaxis, Grace Assembly of God Church, and Intra-Island Cableway at Sentosa Island.