Six bids logged for green building project

Six bids logged for green building project

But contractors sound caution with requests for longer warranty period


SINGAPORE’S first zero energy building (ZEB) project has attracted six bids for the main tender and interviews with four ‘serious’ bidders will start next week, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said yesterday.


The tender to convert the BCA Academy into a net zero energy building has drawn bids ranging from $10.4 million to $11.8 million.


The six companies that tendered are: ACP Construction, Dokota, Logistics Construction, Lexon Furniture & Construction, Shanghai Chong Kee Furniture & Construction and Stallion Development. All six are mid-size unlisted companies. ‘We have six that came in. There are four serious ones that we are going to proceed with tender interviews next week,’ Ang Kian Seng, deputy director of technology and innovation development at BCA, said on the sidelines of a ZEB seminar.


Of the four short-listed firms, three are Singaporean while one is a Chinese company, he said.


BCA closed the construction tender on June 6. It has already awarded the building’s solar energy tender to Singapore firm Grenzone for $1.7 million.


In a sign of caution, some suppliers and contractors for renewable energy projects are ‘over-specifying’ with requests for warranties as long as 20 years, said Lee Siew Eang, who heads the research centre set up by BCA and the National University of Singapore. This is double the usual warranty period for specialised building projects and could raise costs as much as 40 per cent, said Eugene Seah, executive director of Davis Langdon & Seah.


‘There is a benchmark in the industry and the maximum is usually 10 years,’ he said.


Companies are seeking 20-year guarantees because while solar panels tend to last for that long in temperate regions, they could be damaged faster by Singapore’s tropical weather.


‘When (the panels) are exposed to the afternoon sun, it can be over 50 degrees. With rain and thunderstorms, you can go down to 28 degrees, so there is expansion and contraction. That element of uncertainty is still there,’ said Prof Lee.


Singapore lags regional neighbours such as Malaysia, Japan and Thailand, which are also constructing ZEBs.


The ZEB project was launched in November last year. By 2009, the BCA Academy will be fitted with solar panels to generate electricity that is transferred into a normal power grid.


The amount of energy produced will match the amount of power consumed in the building.


ZEB, which will cost about 10 per cent more than a conventional building, will become a test centre for other green building technology, such as energy- efficient lamps and fan-ventilation systems.


The target is to run the building on 70 per cent less energy than a conventional building. ZEB is expected to run on 86 kilowatts per hour (kwh) per sq metre, compared with 230 kwh per sq metre for standard buildings.


Source: Straits Times

Asian gateway S’pore not top draw for FDI: survey

Asian gateway S’pore not top draw for FDI: survey

209 senior execs polled see S’pore behind Japan, China, HK for HQ, logistics



(SINGAPORE) Singapore is seen as a less attractive investment destination than Japan, China and India, according to a survey by the Japan External Trade Organisation and Ernst & Young.



In the survey, which studied the perceptions of 209 senior executives across various sectors and continents, only 10 per cent voted for Singapore, which shared third position with Hong Kong.


Japan and China are seen as the most attractive locations in Asia for foreign direct investment (FDI), each with 27 per cent of the votes, followed by India with 11 per cent.


But there is a gap between perception and reality. In terms of actual FDI projects last year, Japan ranked fifth in Asia with 166.


China was first with 1,171, India second and Vietnam third. Singapore ranked fourth with 239 projects.


Singapore trails Japan, China and Hong Kong in attractiveness as an Asian destination for headquarters and logistics centres, according to the survey.


And as a potential destination for research and development centres, Singapore’s attractiveness falls behind Japan, China and India.


‘Despite its world-renowned gateway position, our survey indicates that Singapore has been unable to attain the highest attractiveness score for headquarters and logistics activities,’ the survey says.


It also reveals that Asia has become more attractive as an investment destination, with 59 per cent of investors noting an improvement.


Only 6 per cent observed a deterioration of the region’s attractiveness. This compares favourably with investor perceptions of Europe’s attractiveness – only 44 per cent of potential investors see an improvement there.


Satisfaction with Asia is particularly high among investors in the chemical, pharmaceutical and medical equipment manufacturing and life science sectors, with 72 per cent citing satisfaction.


Reflecting a high level of confidence in Asia, 71 per cent of investors expect an improvement in the region’s attractiveness over the next three years, compared with 56 per cent for Europe.


On future investment, 43 per cent of investors say that they are actively considering establishing or developing activities in Asia, with China most cited at 57 per cent, followed by India at 35 per cent and Japan at 18 per cent.


Source: Straits Times

Singapore one of Asia’s most attractive investment destinations

Singapore one of Asia’s most attractive investment destinations


SINGAPORE is one of Asia’s best investment destinations for foreign firms, according to a study released yesterday.

The study covered over 200 international company executives – from chief executive officers to the heads of strategy.


The executives were asked in a survey conducted by financial advisory firm Ernst & Young and the Japan External Trade Organisation how they felt about investing in various Asian markets.


Seven out of 10 of the executives polled were in companies that were already operating in Asia.


About 27 per cent of the respondents voted for Japan and China, putting the two countries in joint-first position.


The runner-up was India, with 11 per cent.


Singapore and Hong Kong were tied in third place, with 10 per cent apiece.


In terms of actual investments, Singapore was fourth, with 239 projects last year, according to the survey.


China attracted 1,171 projects, a mammoth 38 per cent of all investments that went into Asia, followed by India, with 676, and Vietnam, with 260.


Singapore‘s strengths were its high quality of life, attractive corporate tax rates and stability, according to the survey.


Its weaknesses were its high labour costs, quality of research and development, and the lack of a domestic market.


China‘s advantages were – no surprise here – its low labour cost and huge domestic market, although its results were pulled down by its poorer quality of life.


Japan ranked well for its high-quality labour workforce and infrastructure, but this was, in turn, weighed down by high labour costs and an uncompetitive corporate tax structure.


A total of 19 markets were ranked in the survey.




Singapore‘s strengths were its high quality of life, attractive corporate tax rates and stability, a survey of 200 company executives showed. Its weaknesses were its high labour costs, quality of research and development, and the lack of a domestic market.


Source: Straits Times

It pays to ask the women

It pays to ask the women

Property developer gets women focus group to help design mixed-use centre


IN designing shopping centres and mixed-use properties, Trademark Property Co of Fort Worth, Texas, used to do what many developers do: put together teams of professionals like architects, designers and building consultants; send out surveys; and hold community meetings. But in 2005, when it began planning a large mixed-use centre, Watters Creek, for a 21 hectare site in Allen, near Dallas, it decided to consult a group it had never called on before: women.


CEO Terry Montesi first hired two female retail consultants: Claudia A Sagan and J’Amy Owens. But Trademark also invited two dozen women from the Allen area to pick apart its plans for the centre. They included Kirsten Fair, a stay-at-home mother of two, and Debbie Stout, a City Council member, who runs a company that sells business forms.


The women weighed in on dozens of features, like the centre’s layout, landscaping, parking options, pedestrian walkways and outdoor art. The developers ‘asked us about every detail, and then they listened’, Ms Stout said recently. At Watters Creek, Trademark Property discovered that some of the reaction from its women’s focus groups challenged conventional retailing wisdom.


Like many retail developers, Trademark Property was used to installing tall, often ornate, brick or stone buildings, as well as sidewalks, at developments like Market Street, a mixed- used centre it opened in Woodlands, near Houston, in 2004. The core of that mixed-used centre was intended to have a classic Main Street look.


The Watters Creek centre, however, was to be part of a 202 ha planned community whose master plan called for significant green space as part of its environment-friendly design.


The women also wanted a village look and feel, with buildings of various sizes, colours and textures that followed the rolling topography of the area, rather than sitting flat.


The first phase of Watters Creek, which is expected to cover 1.15 million square feet eventually, opened in May. So far, Trademark has studded it with buildings that act mostly as a backdrop to a parklike area with two stone bridges, a pond, a creek, a 10-metre-tall community fireplace, climbable sculptures, and 10 restaurants that have outdoor seating with views of the pond, creek or village green.


The women are delighted. — NYT


Source: Business Times

CentraLand takes the lead

CentraLand takes the lead


CENTRALAND has become the first diamond sponsor of the Singapore Exchange’s Bull Charge 2008 – the first time the company is contributing to the cause. Bull Charge 2008 is the fifth charity fun run organised by Singapore Exchange (SGX) and the only charity fun run in the central business district.


A record 19 charities will benefit from funds raised this year. Over the past four years, SGX has raised more than $10 million for needy children, young people and families through its charity fun run. This year’s run takes place on Oct 24 at the Padang.


Bull Charge 2008 is organised by SGX in collaboration with Temasek Holdings and in partnership with the Central Singapore Community Development Council, The Business Times, Channel NewsAsia and honorary auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers. It also receives the support of the Land Transport Authority and the Singapore Sports Council.


Source: Business Times

Aquatic Science Centre to open along Ulu Pandan Canal

Aquatic Science Centre to open along Ulu Pandan Canal 

Besides research, centre aims to whet interest of public in water technologies


A WATER research laboratory will come up on the banks of the Ulu Pandan Canal in Clementi by the end of next year.

Launched yesterday, the Aquatic Science Centre will carry out studies on urban water management. Its interactive showcase of projects and technologies will be open to the public.


Set up by the Singapore-Delft Water Alliance (SDWA), the centre is the first of a network of three such centres which will monitor water quality around the island.


The 1,800 sq m Clementi centre will be staffed by some 20 researchers from fields like biology, hydro-engineering and chemistry.


The $9 million it will take to build the centre and fund its work will come from the National Research Foundation, National University of Singapore and national water agency PUB.


The other two water-research centres will be sited on the Southern Islands and at a reservoir.


Director of the SDWA, Professor Vladan Babovic, explained that siting the centres near the Ulu Pandan Canal, the open sea and a reservoir meant that their research would cover the entire water cycle.


At the launch yesterday, Environment and Water Resources Minister Yaacob Ibrahim said the centres’ findings will enable urban planners to make Singapore’s waterways both beautiful and functional.


The research thus complements the PUB’s massive Active, Beautiful and Clean Waterways project.


The minister explained that the challenge in this project lay in transforming the island’s existing waterways into dual-function water sources and recreation areas without compromising on the quality of drinking water they produced.


To improve water quality, researchers at the new centre will study how plant and animal organisms use natural systems to minimise pollution.


But it is not just about science: The people will also be engaged to play a role in keeping the waterways here healthy, said Dr Yaacob.


By being open to the public, it is hoped that the water centre will whet the interest of the public in water technologies and issues.


Said Prof Babovic: ‘If, one day, a 10-year-old tells me he wants to be an aquatic scientist, it will make my day.’


Source: Straits Times

SIM to open hostel

SIM to open hostel


430-bed hostel believed to be biggest off-campus facility, monthly rent of $500 to $900


FROM today, students at one of Singapore’s biggest private education providers – SIM – will have their own hostel.


By Karen Wong



02 July 2008


FROM today, students at one of Singapore’s biggest private education providers – SIM – will have their own hostel.


It is believed to be the first private education organisation to have its own hostel facility here.


The hostel is at 100 Ulu Pandan Road, the former army camp for the School of Military Medicine, opposite Pandan Valley condominium.


It is a five-minute drive from the school’s Clementi Road headquarters.


The hostel is owned and managed by EM Services, a property management company whose core business is managing Housing Board estates, under its hostel brand Yo:HA (Your Habitat).


Speaking at the site yesterday, EM Services marketing director Andy Low said the company had invested more than $8 million in developing the hostel.


However, Mr Low, while revealing that the company is inking a deal with an educational institution to take up the hostel space, declined to say which institution is involved.


The New Paper understands that it is SIM Global – the arm which offers undergraduate and graduate programmes with partner overseas universities.




When contacted yesterday, SIM declined to reveal details of the hostel, pending its official opening in September.


But sources told The New Paper that SIM has been searching for hostel space for the last couple of years.


It has more than 3,000 international students.


A check on the school’s website found that details of the hostel are already uploaded, so that students can book their accommodation.


According to the website, students taking triple-sharing rooms will pay a monthly rent of about $550.


The rent will go up to $900 for those in single rooms.


It is understood that students will be moving in as early as today.


Sitting on a land area of about 4.5 hectares – or the size of six football fields – it is believed to be the biggest off-campus hostel in Singapore.


It will have six blocks of accommodation, with about 430 beds in single, double or triple occupancy for full-time students, as well as four studio apartments for visiting parents and lecturers.


There will also be sports and leisure facilities, including a fully-equipped gym and a dance studio.


Other facilities include tennis courts, a touch rugby field, a cafeteria and a mini-mart.


EM Services, which runs a student hostel in Boon Lay, beat six others in the tender for the site in January.


A Singapore Land Authority spokesman said: ‘This state property had attracted an impressive seven bids at tender closing, with four other hostel tenants putting in bullish bids that were higher than guide rent and those by (international) and commercial schools.’


She added that there is a growing interest by hostel tenants to provide more student accommodation on state properties.





Other hostel spaces


·  Former Alexandra Fire Station at Queensway: Being developed into a student hostel by the same company that runs Katong Hostel.


·  Former National Environment Agency district office at 333 Clementi Avenue: Being developed into a student hostel.


·  Former Upper Aljunied Technical School at Upper Aljunied: Re-developed into two schools and a student hostel.


Source: The New Paper