HQ of Singapore construction firm being built with sustainable material from local waste

(From left) JTC CEO Ng Lang, Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat and Samwoh CEO Eric Soh after singing the memorandum of understanding between JTC Corporation and Samwoh. The MOU will allow the two corporations to share existing resources in research and development to drive innovation in the construction sector. PHOTO: SAMWOH CORPORATION

SINGAPORE - The first step in developing sustainable construction material using local waste was taken today (Mar 25), with the signing of an agreement that will include its use in the building of a new headquarters of a local construction company.

The agreement between JTC Corporation and Samwoh Corporation will see recycled materials processed from construction and industrial waste, like sedimentary rocks excavated from Jurong Rock Caverns, being used in erecting the four-storey building near Kranji Reservoir.

Senior Minister of State for Trade and Industry Chee Hong Tat, who witnessed the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between JTC and Samwoh, told The Straits Times he is confident Singapore can play a key role in sustainable technology.

The Government will continue to provide opportunities for companies to test-bed new concepts, he said, adding that such eco-friendly projects need to be commercially sustainable as well.

"With the right methods, using recycled materials and adopting eco-friendly measures need not incur higher costs. Samwoh's commitment to sustainable construction in its very own building is a great example that it can be done," he added.

Samwoh's current headquarters, the Samwoh Eco-Green Building, is a testament to sustainability as it is the first building in Southeast Asia that is entirely constructed with recycled concrete aggregates, said its spokesman.

The new HQ, to be called Samwoh Smart Hub, is slated to be completed by 2020.

It will adopt state-of-the-art technologies to bring down its energy consumption. Also, about 30 per cent of its area will be dedicated to greenery that will blend in with Singapore's 150 km park connector outside its compound and add to the plant life surrounding the reservoir.

It will be the first positive energy industrial building that will produce 20 to 30 per cent more energy than it uses, said Samwoh. The excess energy will be used in an upcoming asphalt plant to be built by the company, a market leader in the production of the sticky, black and viscuous material commonly used in building roads.

The MOU will also allow JTC and Samwoh to explore and collaborate on research and development (R&D) in such areas as digital technologies and automated solutions to improve productivity and maintenance.

As well, they will share resources such as equipment, laboratories and manpower to help defray the high costs of R&D.

To improve productivity, they will work towards developing smart machines and equipment to build higher quality and more reliable roads at lower cost.

SamWoh also noted in a statement that the sedentary rocks being used for the building of its smart hub are prevalent in the geological formation of Singapore and a common byproduct from underground developments.

The collaboration will, among other things, increase the applications and commercial value of these rocks, it added.

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