Government Land Sales site receives nine bids despite technical restrictions

source: URA

A Government Land Sales site at Hillview Rise off Upper Bukit Timah attracted nine tender submissions from eight bidders despite having technical evaluation criteria attached to it.  Besides bidding for price, the tenderers had to define innovative construction solutions for the site. To elicit innovative construction solutions, a Concept and Price revenue tender approach was adopted.

The tender closed on 3 May with concept submissions. The site has a land area of 14,269.1 sqm with a maximum permissible Gross Floor Area (GFA) of 40,030 square metre (sqm). The Concept Evaluation Committee will shortlist proposals that demonstrate comparable or higher construction productivity outcomes than those that are achieved by the most advanced method of Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) technologies adopted for sites sold under the Government Land Sales (GLS) programme.

JLL national director for research & consultancy Ong Teck Hui noted that “this level of participation is not indicative of particularly strong interest in the tender and neither does it reflect dampened demand due to the concept and price tender nor the technicalities of the requirements.”

Adding: “In the previous tenders in the Hillview area, the Hillview Peak site had 7 bidders in March 2012 while The Hiller’s parcel was contested by 12 parties in April 2011.”

During the last concept and price tender for the Holland Village mixed use site in March 2018, 15 concept submissions were made by 10 tenderers reflecting higher interest due to the site’s location.

The participation level in the Hillview Rise tender also shows firm demand for sites by developers notwithstanding many sites being clinched in both collective/en bloc sales and Government Land Sales (GLS) scheme in recent times.

Ong said that the “interest level in the Hillview Rise site is positive since quite a number of parties are prepared to compete for the site with the fairly technical evaluation criteria under which construction productivity plan takes up 75% of the evaluation weightage.”

This criterion takes into account the overall construction productivity concept and level of prefabrication and integration across architectural, structural, mechanical, electrical and plumbing works. The construction background and experience of many of the tenderers explains their interest in the tender notwithstanding a more protracted bidding process.

URA said that the tenderer/developer and project teams for the Hillview Rise site will be assessed based on their relevant skills and/or experience in employing advanced construction technologies for residential developments, with proven track records (which may include productivity, quality and safety) both locally and overseas. Tenderers/developer and project teams with only overseas projects will have to substantiate their track records with relevant international construction awards or accolades.

Released in October 2017, the Government Land Sales of Hillview Rise is part of the Government’s Construction Industry Transformation Map (CITP). CITP will require the successful bidder to developed the site in close partnership with industry, trade associations and chambers (TACs), institutes of higher learning (IHLs), unions and government. The CITP aims to achieve a future-ready built environment with smart, green and high quality buildings.

The CITP has identified 3 key areas to develop the construction sector. The first key area is identified as “Design for Manufacturing & Assembly” (DfMA). DfMA requires builders to design upfront for ease of manufacturing and assembly. It further requires them to highly automate offsite facilities and have efficient, clean on-site process.

The second key area will focus on Green Buildings where developers will have to design for Green Buildings and adopt sustainable practices in operations and maintenance. The third key area of Integrated Digital Delivery (IDD) will fully integrate processes and stakeholders along the value chain through advanced info-communications technology and smart technologies. IDD will be enabled by Building Information Modelling.

URA hopes that CITP will establish robust DfMA ecosystem to make DfMA price competitive to enable widespread adoption. It also hopes to develop IDD shared platforms and standards to support the adoption of IDD solutions. URA envisions CITP to develop strong and capable firms, while encouraging greater collaboration among firms.

URA identifed the Hillview Rise site as pilot project under the CITP because it is sizable (535 residential units) site suitable to benchmark productivity outcomes. The development will also provide for greater scope for modularization and economies of scale to optimize productivity gains.

The Hillview Rise site was also identified because it was a pure residential site – without the complexity of other usage requirements, making it suitable for piloting new innovative technologies.

Tenders for the Hillview Rise site will be evaluated based on concept proposal and tendered sale price in a 3-stage process. At the first stage, the bids will be evaluated by the Concept Evaluation Committee (CEC) – which will be chaired by the Building and Construction Authority. The CEC will first evaluate the Concept Proposals and only Concept Proposals that substantially satisfy the evaluation criteria will be shortlisted for the 2nd stage of evaluation under the Tender Evaluation Committee (TEC).

The TEC will open the price envelopes of shortlisted tenders. Tender with the highest tendered sale price will be considered for award. After tender award and at the 3rd stage, the concept proposal will still be required to be reviewed by a Construction Productivity Advisory Panel.

Government land sales
Source: URA

URA said that other local DfMA construction projects were completed with a time saving of between 2 – 6 months, and manpower savings of between 17 – 44 per cent.

There are concerns from certain quarters that the Government Land Sales coupled with the en bloc frenzy, will lead to an oversupply of residential properties in Singapore.

Prominent finance commentator Ryan Ong has previously said: “The Singapore government is very fair, they simply want the highest prices for the land. They do not care if you have to pay through the roof for your house as any land sales goes to Government Reserves.”

Singapore government appoints Singapore Land Authority to manage the land sales, while URA, HDB, JTC, SLA and LTA are state land sales agents for the government to sell plots of land.

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Written by Ravi Chandran

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