The construction sector stagnated with the 2016 economic slowdown, with total values of construction demand falling for a second consecutive year. The Building and Construction Authority (BCA) stated that total construction demand in 2016 came up to $26.1b, a fall from $27b back in 2015. Demand in the construction industry recruitment has been affected as well.

Private housing sector to slow, public housing to grow.

The slowdown in the construction demand was largely due to re-planning and delay of a few major public infrastructure contracts. However, the private sector was hit hardest due to oversupply in the private residential market.

Despite the slowdown in the private housing sector, demand in the construction industry recruitment is expected to be high in the public housing sector to support the Home Improvement Programme for HDB flats, the new National Cancer Centre, the three-runway system at Changi Airport, and the State Courts’ new building at Havelock Square.

The Ministry of Manpower (MOM) has also taken steps to ensure training and retention of higher quality workers, as well as levy relief to companies that provide training in safety to foreign workers to satisfy demand in the construction industry recruitment sector.

Civil engineering and public sector construction to lead demand.

Growing demand for construction-related jobs in the public sector, however, means that a reversal could be seen in 2017. According to the BCA, public sector construction demand is expected to hit between $20b and $24b. Of this budget, 60% will be for building projects while 40% will be for civil engineering in government invested transport infrastructure.

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Civil engineering projects and public construction is set to lead construction demand in 2017.

This represents an incredible increase from the $15.8b from last year. Private sector demand, on the other hand, is expected to be between $8b and $11 billion.

The BCA states that total average construction demand is expected to remain between $26b and $35b in 2017 (partly to make up for lower construction demand in 2016), and between $26b and $37b in 2019 and 2020.

Demand in the civil engineering sector is expected to be the largest factor, with infrastructure projects including new MRT lines, the North-South Expressway, Changi Airport Terminal 5 and phase 2 of the Deep Tunnel Sewerage System.


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