Deeply fascinated by cities and their skylines, Mr Jerald Han spent his growing up years sketching buildings and urban landscapes in his free time.
Today, he is a structural design engineer in the Building & Research Institute’s Centre of Design Excellence, under the Housing and Development Board (HDB).
It is a dream come true for the 26-year-old, whose buildings will soon be part of Singapore’s skyline and built environment.
In his role, Mr Han collaborates with architects, landscape architects, as well as mechanical and electrical engineers, to develop safe and durable housing projects that Singaporeans will eventually call home.
This includes overseeing about two or three of the developments rolled out every year, and designing everything within a precinct — from the residential blocks and the carparks, to the environmental decks and drainage systems.
Mr Han will never forget the moment he first arrived at the construction site for his first key project — Northshore Edge, a 2017 Build-To-Order (BTO) development in Punggol.
He says: “It gave me a sense of where the structures I designed were going to be. It felt very real and gave an actual context to the designs that I had produced within my office space.”
His other project, Tampines GreenGem, is a BTO launched in Nov 2018.
Learning beyond the classroom
Mr Han is motivated by a strong desire to be part of something tangible — something that can be seen and experienced by many.
He took the first step towards his dream in 2013 when he was awarded the HDB Undergraduate Scholarship.
Under the scholarship, Mr Han graduated with a degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the University of California, Berkeley in 2017.
While his course exposed him to rigorous core engineering classes that equipped him with the technical skills such as structural analysis and calculations, the scholar also did much of his learning outside of the classroom.
During his scholarship internship, Mr Han was posted to his current office — the Centre of Design Excellence at HDB’s Building & Research Institute.
In his current role, he was exposed to research on Prefabricated Prefinished Volumetric Construction (PPVC), where volumetric modules are constructed in prefabrication plants before being transported to and installed on site. He now works on projects that involve improving the design of PPVC components for greater architectural flexibility.
“We have had to experiment a lot with our design and conduct research to ensure that our projects are safe, productive and have good spatial quality,” he says.
Besides looking forward to the completion of his existing projects, Mr Han is also excited about the growing digitalisation of the building and construction industry, which has begun to move from 2D drawings to 3D Building Information Models.
“Making information more comprehensive during the design and construction stage also opens up many avenues to enhance facility management and perform data analytics on building use,” he says.