Mechanical Engineers in HDB

Scholarship Guide HDB Scholar Sharon George

HDB Scholar Sharon George highlights the importance of her work in providing the quality of life and comfort in HDB homes.

Whenever I introduce myself, I would normally say ‘I work as an engineer for HDB’. Without fail, people assume I am a civil or ­structural ­engineer. When I share that I am a ­mechanical ­engineer, my audience frowns in confusion. There are an awkward silence and ­eventually, someone asks: ‘Why does HDB need ­mechanical engineers?’

Well, let me share with you the importance of a mechanical engineer’s role in enhancing our quality of life, and ensuring comfort and convenience in HDB towns and estates.

#1 Water and Sanitation

Water supply systems are designed by mechanical engineers. We ensure that a safe and reliable water supply is readily available to HDB homes. Without a water supply, there would also be dead plants, or even worse, no plants. Can you imagine an HDB estate without the lovely greenery that you are so used to? Singapore would be less of a garden city without mechanical engineers.

Mechanical engineers also design sanitary drainage and plumbing systems such as the network of pipes that transport wastewater from toilets, sinks and showers. Without us, you would not enjoy proper sanitation, and ­visits to the bathroom could be quite ­unpleasant. Singapore would not be as clean and hygienic as it is today.

#2 Food

Over 750,000 HDB homes and numerous hawker centres are supplied with piped gas, which is primarily used for cooking. Since gas supply systems are designed by mechanical engineers, many Singaporeans indirectly rely on us for their daily meals.

#3 Fire Safety

In high-rise buildings, fire-fighting and rescue systems require the expertise of mechanical engineers to provide high-pressure water supply, lifts, fire alarms, sprinklers, smoke control etc. We work together with the relevant authorities on the safety design of HDB homes to prevent, control and mitigate the effect of fires.

In short, we take care of mechanical building services such as water, gas, ­sanitation, fire protection, air-conditioning, waste management, stormwater management and lifts. People may not notice the engineering behind these systems, but if anyone of these fails, they will suffer some major inconvenience. Our work impacts the lives of over 80 percent of Singapore’s resident population.

This is what you can look forward to if you pursue an engineering career with HDB:

• Challenge And Dynamism

HDB is one of the largest statutory boards in Singapore. Working with various stakeholders who have different interests and perspectives can be challenging, but it is also what enables HDB to handle the scope and volume of work that it does. We are always looking for better designs, smarter products and more efficient processes. Ideas that we are exploring include modular MEP systems, virtual design and construction, predictive maintenance… go ahead and google them!

• Impact

Our work intersects with the lives of a large number of people in a space which is very personal to them: their homes. Designing effective and efficient building ­services improves convenience as well as the ­comfort and safety of our residents.

• Professional Development

A career with HDB brings ample ­opportunities to hone your professional skills through courses, post-graduate studies, and ­exposure to different job portfolios.
I would encourage you to identify your ­passion before you choose a profession and the organisation to work for. ­Accepting a scholarship is a major commitment. It works best for both you and the organisation if it is indeed the right fit for you.

If you do ­decide to join HDB, I look forward to meeting you!

HDB Undergraduate Scholarship
Attained: Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering, Imperial College London
Now: Executive Engineer, Construction ­Productivity and Mechanical & Electrical ­Department, Building Quality Group
From: Raffles Institution

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