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Precast Showcase In Singapore

Sunway Concrete Products is a manufacturer of precast concrete products including pre-stressed floor planks, columns, lift shafts, facades, beams, and reinforced concrete slabs. Incorporated in 1994 and based in Singapore, Sunway Concrete Products Pte Ltd has been involved in a number of public housing projects in Singapore.

However, a few years ago, the company decided that it wanted to diversify into new areas. It established property development arms called Sunway Land and Sunway Developments. Sunway Land then successfully bid for a piece of land in the northern part of Singapore and on the 3,112 sq m plot of land in the Sembawang area, it decided to build a development known as Avant Parc.

Avant Parc consists of 15 terrace houses; each house has a basement, three floors above ground and an attic. The development is being built in three phases.

Avant Parc is Sunway Land’s maiden property development and the parent company, Sunway Concrete Products Pte Ltd, wanted to use offsite precast concrete to showcase the technology to the engineering community in Singapore so as to promote using offsite precast as a system for construction. While offsite precasting is heavily used in the building of high-rise public housing apartment blocks, it is rare in the construction of low-rise private landed properties. Sunway wanted to change that.

“A better quality finish is assured using precasting,” said Mr Lau Shiew Loong, Senior Manager (Technical) at Sunway Concrete Products. “With offsite precast, steel molds are used to form the concrete elements, resulting in clean, straight and flat surfaces. Whereas with timber formwork, the concrete finish surface can become undulating after a number of placements or repetitions as they are not as robust and long lasting.”

In addition, with offsite precasting, the building can be erected faster because the super-structural works can be done in parallel, while the foundations are under construction. For Avant Parc, all precast components are made at Sunway’s plant in Tampines, on industrial land tucked away in the eastern part of Singapore.

To achieve better offsite precasting workflows, Sunway Concrete Products also turned to Tekla Structures for 3D modeling and component shop drawings generation. 

Sunway Concrete Products’ history with Tekla dates back to 2010 when it decided to explore BIM. At the time, Sunway Concrete Products was merely looking to understand BIM and how it might impact on the company. In particular, the company wanted to test out how well Tekla Structures could handle clash prevention and quantify the quantify the reduction in reworking needed on site. The management felt that the best way to learn about BIM was to actually adopt it on a live project, and hence decided to use Tekla Structures on the Avant Parc project.

In the end, it took the company about six months to do a set of the fully coordinated precast component drawings for all 15 units of Avant Parc. The design actually took longer than needed because the team was still new to the software. “We were doing all this while we were still learning. If we were to build Avant Parc today, with the latest version of the software and an experienced team of modelers, we would garner time savings of up to 30 per cent,” said Mr Lau.

Since then, Sunway Concrete Products has also been using Tekla on their other projects. For example, they are already using the software to produce shop drawings for two public housing projects in Singapore.

Based on their experience, the company now has a clear idea of Tekla’s advantages. The main benefit is speed, said Mr Lau. “We are able to produce shop drawings faster, more accurately and with better clash control. Before, we were just using 2D and it was very hard to pick out clashes.”

Tekla has also been an advantageous choice for them with quantity takeoff. “It is very accurate,” he said. “We are hitting 98 percent accuracy and this saves us money because we do not over- or under-produce.”

Finally, Tekla Structures works well with other software. “It exports to IFC platform with minimal information loss and it communicates well with bar bending and mesh bending machines,” he added.

As a result of their experience, Sunway Concrete Products plans to use Tekla more extensively in future, both for its own developments as well as for clients.