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New building codes from April: BCA
Singapore will be one of the first countries outside Europe to adopt the Eurocodes
By: Ong Chor Hao
SINGAPORE will adopt a new set of building codes from next month to raise industry standards and design, but industry players will have time to adjust to the change, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) said yesterday.
It will become one of the first countries outside Europe to adopt the Eurocodes to specify standards and principles for the structural design of buildings. They will replace the current codes, which are based on the British Standards that have not been maintained and updated since 2010.
"In moving from the British Standards to the Eurocodes, we now have a set of building codes that is constantly reviewed at an international platform and regularly updated to suit developments in the building industry," said Ong See Ho, the commissioner of building control at BCA.
The Eurocodes were developed by specialists from the European Union, and are being used by all 27 member states. The BCA said that they are considered one of the world's most advanced structural development codes.
Mr Ong said that the move will raise the standards and expertise of building professionals in Singapore.
The decision was made after six years of studies by the BCA to see how the codes were being used by other countries. There were also extensive discussions with industry professionals and experts, the regulatory body said.
To ease the transition, the BCA will allow building professionals to submit structural plans in either the British Standards or the Eurocodes for two years from next Monday.
Chua Chiow Chye, director of civil and structural engineering at Surbana International Consultants, said: "The two-year transition period is useful to allow our engineers trained in the British Standards to be familiarised with the new Eurocodes."
Kenneth Lim, assistant director at civil engineering firm Swee Hong, said that adopting a more international standard may open up more doors, especially when it comes to multi-national companies.
But he is concerned that companies may have to buy new software that are compatible with the new codes, as a typical engineering software can run from $8,000 to $10,000 per licence.
Compared with the British Standards, the Eurocodes are supposed to be less prescriptive, stimulate more innovation, and are based on more up-to-date research, although largely based on the same theory. This is according to the website for Britain's Department of Transport which the rules fall under. They are split into 10 areas such as design of concrete structures, design of steel structures, and general principles for safety reliability and durability of structures.
A BCA spokesman said that the new building codes will not affect the calculation of buildability and constructability scores, which look at the efficiency of labour usage and construction methods in the design and execution of a project.
The new codes will also not impact the funding under the Construction Productivity and Capability Fund.