By Thomas Cho | Posted: 01 February 2013 2306 hrs


Singapore’s construction industry looks set to benefit from the latest Land Use Plan released by the government.

Construction firms said the planned increase in land supply, from 71,000 hectares in 2010 to some 76,600 hectares in 2030, will lead to increased construction activities.

Rising demand to build homes, infrastructure and recreational areas will boost growth for the sector.

But these companies said they may not have enough workers to complete the jobs on time.

Come 2030, there will be more new towns, commercial hubs and infrastructure development.

Construction activities are expected to gain pace following these new plans.

Other related projects like building new subway lines and office buildings will also keep the construction firms busy.

All these will help drive growth in the Singapore economy.

Wilson Liew, investment analyst at Maybank Kim Eng Research, said: “The construction sector will continue to benefit in the medium- to long-term. We do expect that these new towns slated in Tengah, Tampines North would continue to provide more opportunities for contractors.”

Although these construction companies are pleased with the prospects of having more business, some builders are worried that they may not be able to secure enough workers to complete the jobs on time.

Construction companies in Singapore are faced with a stiff foreign workers quota, if they are employed from India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Philippines and China.

And with the expected tightening of foreign workers in the labour-intensive construction industry next year, builders will definitely feel the strain.

Ho Nyok Yong, president of the Singapore Contractors Association, said: “The MYE (Man Year Entitlement) cut is already 30 per cent and next year kicks in another 15 per cent, which is 45 per cent.

“To us, it is not sustainable, especially now with the ramping up of housing, infrastructure, gardens, parks, all these we are going to build…definitely I see that we have a problem because we may not have enough workers.”

Some analysts suggest that a way forward is to spread out the project tenders so that it will not be a squeeze on resources.

– CNA/ms