One of Asia’s largest wooden buildings takes shape, honoured at 2022 RICS Awards

Construction of the new Nanyang Technological University Academic Building South (NTU ABS) in Singapore is well underway. Upon completion, it will be one of Asia’s largest mass engineered timber (MET) buildings.

Aurecon was engaged to deliver civil and structural engineering services to bring this iconic building to life, including consultancy services for the demolition of the existing Innovation Centre, conceptualisation and detailed design of all structural elements, preparation of tender documents, and construction support.

For the project, Aurecon has also won the Innovation and Sustainability awards at the 2022 Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) Awards Southeast Asia, which took place in mid October.

The RICS Awards showcase the most inspirational initiatives and developments in land, real estate, construction and infrastructure. They recognise industry-leading achievements and demonstrate the upholding of the highest standards of professionalism and ethics by individuals and teams across built and natural environments.

Construction process ‘simplified significantly’

Inspired by the environmental benefits and versatility of timber, the building epitomises the adept and innovative use of MET. Aligned to the Building and Construction Authority’s (BCA) push for design for manufacturing and assembly (DfMA) as part of the Construction Industry Transformation Map, the Aurecon team adopted a modular design approach and prefabricated timber components.

Given that the timber had to be manufactured to precise specifications and thus had to have design details finalised ahead of construction, Aurecon undertook early, detailed 3D-digital documentation and utilised BIM-Revit to create floorplans and isometric views for easy visualisation for the client.

With each component manufactured through precise digital design, the construction process has been simplified significantly, focusing mainly on assembly at the site. As a result, this innovative approach significantly increased construction productivity and led to a cleaner, quieter and safer construction site.

Andrew Maher, group managing principal for eminence, digital & innovation at Aurecon, shared, “Innovation is truly part and parcel of all that we do at Aurecon. It is heartening to see the industry recognise how our people go above and beyond what is possible, to bring about groundbreaking solutions that create a more sustainable future for our clients and communities.”

Aurecon further explained that “the use of MET is highly sustainable as it is renewable and results in less waste, less noise and less dust generated. In terms of design and liveability, timber adds warmth and natural quality interiors, creating an environment that is conducive for learning and discourse. With MET providing a higher level of thermal performance, heating and cooling costs of the building will also be reduced.”

“We are honoured to have won the awards. This affirms the strong technical acumen and deep experience of our engineers to deliver an iconic building that will inspire and shape the growth of students for many generations to come,” said Jean-Marc Girard, chief operations officer for Asia, who is currently leading Aurecon’s Singapore business.