PlanGrid Construction Productivity Blog
Singapore's construction industry

How Digital Technology Will Transform Singapore’s Construction Industry

At the beginning of 2018, the Straits Times, Singapore reported an optimistic outlook for Singapore’s construction industry, saying that, “building firms here can expect a rise in the total value of construction contracts to be awarded this year, which is projected to be between $26 billion and $31 billion.” Now, towards the end of the year, the outlook looks slightly different. In September a news report stated that, “Singapore’s small construction firms are likely to face more difficulties repaying debt as a clampdown on property speculation worsens their already tight liquidity”.

Tough times are ahead for Singapore’s building industry

The construction sector employees a large segment of the country’s workforce.

In fact, the construction industry is responsible for 12.3% of Singapore’s employment in 2017.

If the construction sector is affected by the slowdown in demand for homes, rising interest rates on borrowing and delays in collections from customers, tough times are ahead – not only for Singapore’s building industry but also for the whole country.

Alas, there are efforts that companies can take to mitigate economic hardship. Two certain antidotes to tough times include improving productivity and reducing rework.

Improving productivity in Singapore’s construction industry

The global construction industry has a problem. Construction is one of the least digitised sectors around the world – second only to agriculture and hunting, according to a report by the McKinsey Global Institute. Additionally, while the Census Bureau said that all other industries have seen a 152% increase in productivity since 1964, construction has seen a 3% net decrease. With these figures in mind, it is hardly surprising that the industry is facing a productivity crisis. Nevertheless, there is plenty of room to improve construction productivity in Singapore–but it starts with change.

Adopting new technology can reduce the costs of reissuing paper drawings

Construction companies in Singapore are beginning to wise up technology’s potential power to disrupt and push the industry forward. At a recent annual dinner of the Singapore Contractors Association Limited (SCAL), Finance Minister, Heng Swee Keat, commented, “New technologies are disrupting traditional business models and the pace of change is accelerating. Moving first and moving fast is key to staying competitive.”

Now, thanks to mobile construction management software, like PlanGrid, it is possible to save a significant amount of money and time, by using an app that helps bring efficiency gains and let people work more effectively. By collaborating more effectively digitally, the cost of rework is reduced exponentially.

Let’s take a lesson from one of PlanGrid’s oldest users. He is in his mid-70s and yet he will happily demonstrate how easy and powerful it is to use the app to almost anyone who is interested. And he’s not the only person who has been benefiting from using) the tool – according to these Capterra reviews. For example, Morgan, an Operations Coordinator, says that “PlanGrid is helping us change the way we do business – every day!” and Zhiwei, a Project Engineer, says that it is “probably the simplest yet [most] functional construction-related software I have ever used.”

According to McKinsey, increasing productivity directly increases profitability. At PlanGrid, we’ve done the calculations and conservatively estimated that by using mobile construction management software, companies have been able to save an average of 6.6 hours per week per user. Furthermore, the technology can be used by anyone who uses plans or drawings as part of their work–from architects to project managers, company vice-presidents to plumbers.

To find out more about how PlanGrid is changing Singapore’s construction industry and improving productivity for everyone, contact PlanGrid at

Adele Bernard

Adele Bernard (@Aadelebe) is APAC Marketing Director at PlanGrid and has spent the last decade as an APAC Tech Road Warrior, presenting to leaders of enterprise organisations and organising corporate events around the region.

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