Foreign workers in construction industry to be reduced: BCA

The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) of Singapore plans to reduce the number of foreign workers by nearly a third by 2020. In addition to this, building façade maintenance rules will be tightened.

In a media interview, Dr John Keung, the outgoing BCA executive chief, said the authority wants to slash the number of rank-and-file foreign construction workers by 20 per cent to 30 per cent by 2020.

Number of foreign workers in construction sector to be reduced by 20 to 30 per cent by 2020.
Number of foreign workers in construction sector to be reduced by 20 to 30 per cent by 2020. Photo courtesy: bca.gov.sg

This step will be taken to restructure the sector’s workforce in line with the government push for more productivity.

Currently, there are about 300,000 foreign workers in the construction sector.

Dr Keung said, “We aim to cut it down by 20 to 30 per cent... Whoever is left... will be the higher-skilled workers.”

About four in 10 rank-and-file workers are qualified as higher-skilled workers now, and the BCA hopes more of them can be trained to push this proportion up to 50 per cent to 60 per cent by 2020.

In addition to this, BCA is also looking at tightening the regulatory framework on facade inspection, to ensure that even as Singapore's buildings age, they stay in good shape.

Dr Keung said, “This framework will apply to both public and private buildings to make sure facades are regularly inspected and remain properly secured.”

He added, “Through normal wear and tear, older facades will need added maintenance... We hope to build up the industry's capability in this area quickly to ensure public safety.”

Courses on facade inspection will be launched later this year.

Author
Ashraf Jamal
Ashraf Jamal – Senior Writer

Ashraf Jamal brings a rare depth to writing equipped with a degree in journalism, a postgraduate degree in political science, and a degree in law from the Allahabad University. His experience includes editing and publishing the Northern India Patrika and writing for Times of India for almost a decade covering just about any topic under the sun including NRIs and Indian diaspora.

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