Singapore – The sole winner of BCA’s Built Environment (BE) Transformation Award 2023 is the National Cancer Centre Singapore (NCCS), which was officially opened in May 2023.
The BE Transformation Award is the highest industry accolade that a building or civil/infrastructure project can receive. It recognises the firms and people who honed their capabilities to build projects that exemplify productivity, digitalisation, sustainability and collaboration, and showcase high commitment to value chain capability building and development.
NCCS is a state-of-the-art medical facility with specialised treatment machines and requirements, including a proton therapy facility located at the basement levels which required bunker spaces that involved excavating 24 metres underground. The bunkers had to be completed within a hard deadline of 25 months, including works to ensure the bunkers are ready with special requirements, such as appropriate temperature and humidity control, levelness of the floor and radiation shielding walls, to receive the medical equipment while the remaining construction works were ongoing.
Arup, the civil and structural engineering consultant, specified the principal parameters for the concrete mix of the shielding bunker and worked with the main contractor Shimizu and the medical equipment vendor to plan the construction sequence and installation method. The project team developed a concrete design mix consisting of 5.5 percent bound-water content to provide for radiation shielding, eventually achieving a wall thickness 2.0 to 2.5m. The walls would have been 1.5 times thicker if not for this innovative concrete mix which was not available in the market. They had to consider other types of concrete to be used for different purposes, such as radiation shielding and durability. Due to the sheer volume of concrete on site, the team also had to carefully manage the concrete casting and curing process, as large amounts of heat would be generated during casting and curing of concrete.
To complete basement works within the hard deadline of 25 months, the project team adopted a semi-top-down construction method where permanent steel structure frames were erected in advance so that the building could be constructed upwards while basement works were ongoing.
From the onset, the developer, MOH Holdings Pte Ltd adopted an early contractor involvement approach to tap on the builder’s inputs and expertise. This set the tone for the project which brought about many benefits such as enabling better risk identification and mitigation, and increased efficiency of the construction process. MOHH also took a different approach to the procurement process by allowing Shimizu to bring on board their own specialist domestic sub-contractors, instead of the conventional practice of nominating subcontractors into Shimizu’s supply chain. This allowed Shimizu to select sub-contractors with whom they have had good working relationships, leading to smoother project execution.
“We are proud to receive this award which is a testament of the project team’s standard of professionalism, teamwork and innovation. By strategically including extensive work within the main contractor’s domain and setting a clearly defined criteria for partner selection, MOHH and NCCS (SingHealth) were able to empower the main contractor to retain autonomy while ensuring a strong fit as a team, and seamless partnership with their sub-contractors. Looking back, it is evident that our emphasis on teamwork was indeed the right call for the success of the NCCS project," said Ms Lenny Chew, Director, Healthcare Infrastructure Projects Division at MOH Holdings Pte Ltd.