Surbana Jurong, ITE to set up built environment labs

Equipped with latest smart tech, the labs aim to provide real-world experience to students

Urban and infrastructure consulting firm Surbana Jurong will partner the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) to set up high-tech laboratories for built environment students and professionals.

The parties signed a memorandum of understanding on Monday to advance the built environment industry by upskilling the workforce with the latest technology.

The proposed ITE-Surbana Jurong Living Learning Labs will be equipped with the latest smart technologies for students to gain real-world experience in the built environment sector.

For example, the lab at ITE College East will be equipped with Internet of Things (IoT) devices to monitor lift performances for diagnostic and predictive maintenance.

Meanwhile, ITE College Central's facility will explore the use of closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage for video analytics to enhance campus security and management of visitors.

ITE chief executive Low Khah Gek said: "All these state-of-the-art equipment and systems would greatly enhance the learning for our students and inspire them to join the sector as they gain a deeper understanding of the job roles."

The partnership reinforces national efforts to transform the built environment sector as outlined by the Building and Construction Authority's Construction Industry Transformation Map in 2017.

More than half of the buildings in Singapore will be 30 years or older by 2025, said Surbana Jurong group chief executive Wong Heang Fine. He added that the task of maintaining building infrastructure, such as lifts and escalators, will only become more challenging as facility management is labour-intensive.

"To meet the challenge head on, we need smart facility management," said Mr Wong. "Implementing smart facility management increases the productivity, efficiency and sustainability of buildings and improves the well-being of occupants."

Besides setting up the labs, Surbana Jurong will also be offering students internships and sponsoring ITE Work-Study Diplomas and course medals.

Employees in the built environment sector can also look forward to training courses co-developed by Surbana Jurong and ITE.

"Through these initiatives, we hope ITE students will acquire the relevant industry skills and step forward boldly to create a productive, innovative and sustainable built environment," said Mr Wong.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 12, 2021, with the headline 'Surbana, ITE to set up built environment labs'. Subscribe