SINGAPORE - About 40 per cent of Singapore's resident professional, managerial, executive and technical workforce in the built environment sector are 50 years or older, said Minister of State for National Development Tan Kiat How on Tuesday (March 15).
"This means that we will need to leverage technology and redesign jobs, including in the facilities management (FM) industry, to create exciting and rewarding careers, and attract and retain the next generation of professionals," he added.
Mr Tan was speaking at the Facilities Management Conference, part of the BuildTech Asia 2022 event at the Singapore Expo.
The event, which runs from March 15 to 17, will focus on accelerating the construction industry's post-pandemic recovery.
It also aims to address the ageing workforce and buildings by helping industry players adopt digitalised solutions for their work.
More than 120 physical and virtual exhibitors, and 44 industry associations and partners from 16 participating countries will be involved in the event.
The physical exhibition includes tech solutions that will reduce the dependency on humans, such as manufacturer BIGL Robotics' glass facade cleaning robot, which is able to clean the glass exterior of tall buildings.
Mr Teo Soon How, project manager of BIGL Robotics, said: "Using artificial intelligence, our glass facade cleaning robot is the ideal substitute for manual labour in a high-risk environment, as it gets increasingly challenging to clean taller and larger buildings, and there are fewer people who are willing to engage in this profession."
The robot can be operated using less manpower and can work longer hours in tougher working conditions, reducing safety risk and manpower crunch issues, added Mr Teo. BIGL Robotics aims to launch the robots by this year.
Aerospace precision engineering firm Flare Dynamics is also exhibiting its micro drone system Coverage.GO, which consists of palm-size aerial robots that are automatically launched and recovered from docks that serve as homes for the micro drones.
The system can be used at construction sites to detect and send alerts of any defects or safety infringement and security threats.
Each client will need a permit to use the drones, and it is estimated to be sold to its first Singapore client by the end of June.
A $30 million grant announced on March 8 for building owners and developers is set to fund up to 70 per cent of the costs of adopting technologies for integrated facilities management (IFM) and aggregated facilities management (AFM).
IFM and AFM involve harnessing efficiencies from managing different FM services on an integrated platform, and aggregating FM services across different buildings.
Said Mr Tan: "We have found that IFM and AFM can create up to 20 per cent in productivity improvements, cost savings, and reduce demand on resources such as electricity and water."
IFM and AFM would also allow building users to benefit from the enhanced responsiveness of maintenance teams, to issues such as lift faults and cleaning incidents. Adopting these technologies will also create good jobs with higher wages for locals, such as integrated FM managers and digital systems specialists, said Mr Tan.