Playing a Part in Transforming the Built Environment

Playing a Part in Transforming the Built Environment

As a BCA Scholar, Lee Si Min goes behind the scenes of the building industry, getting intimately involved in its evolution at the country’s top agencies.

I have always been passionate about Physics. Therefore, it was a natural choice for me to pursue Engineering in university. The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Scholarship caught my eyes while I was flipping through scholarship guides after my A-Levels. The core function of BCA is grounded in Engineering expertise, which was very much aligned with my inclination and dream of becoming an engineer. Fortunately, I was offered the BCA Overseas Scholarship, which sent me to the UK to study Mechanical Engineering at Cambridge University.

After graduation, my first posting was at the Green Building Policy Department. This was a great fit for me as a fresh graduate, as I was specialising in “Energy and Environment” in my final year in university. In this department, my main job was to formulate policies to reduce carbon emissions in the building sector. As climate change is a complex matter that requires a wide range of expertise, I had the chance to work with officers from different ministries and agencies in my course of work. This portfolio broadened my perspective of the public sector’s work and exposed me to other areas of policymaking beyond the building sector, such as foreign affairs and building an economy. I also had the rare opportunity to represent Singapore at the COP21 Paris Climate Conference in 2015, where I participated in the launch of the Global Alliance for Building and Construction.

Since July 2018, BCA has seconded me to Beca Carter, a private engineering consultancy in the building industry. This industry secondment allowed me to gain design experience and form a deeper understanding of the industry. I am currently developing a detailed design for a new building in the city centre of Singapore. I enjoy working with the architects and contractors to solve problems and improve current designs with the users’ needs in mind. I believe this industry attachment will increase my technical competency and make me more grounded in my approach towards policy-making when I return to BCA.

The built environment has been transforming rapidly over the last few years and BCA plays a pivotal role in this transformation. The building industry is now very different from the early days of Singapore’s development. BCA is promoting productive technologies like Design for Manufacturing and Assembly, and Integrated Digital Delivery, which will help to improve the quality of building projects and reduce the construction time. BCA is also exploring smart technologies, such as 3D printing and artificial intelligence, that can potentially disrupt the building sector in the very near future. I am glad to have joined BCA at the peak of this exciting journey to steer the industry to deliver a future-ready built environment for Singapore.

BCA Overseas Undergraduate Scholarship
Attained: Bachelor of Arts, Master of Engineering (Mechanical), University of Cambridge, UK
Now: Engineer, Beca Carter Hollings & Ferner (S.E.Asia) Pte Ltd
From: Hwa Chong Junior College