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Shaping the built environment

AS A child, Mr Calvin Ng Ziyu used to assemble Lego blocks into simple structures. As he got older, he marvelled at, and appreciated, how complicated buildings are constructed. Given his passion for built-up spaces, it was only natural that the Local Undergraduate Scholarship by the Building & Construction Authority (BCA) captured his interest when he was considering applying for a scholarship. He says: “The scholarship gives me an opportunity to be part of an organisation that oversees the built-environment industry. “BCA plays a key role in the entire lifecycle of a building — from the project conceptualisation and construction, to its completion and maintenance. “Its work has a far-reaching influence on the lives of Singaporeans.” Mr Ng, 28, graduated with a civil engineering degree with first class honours from the National University of Singapore in June 2015. He is currently serving his fouryear bond at BCA. The agency offers young talents like him exciting opportunities to shape a safe, high-quality, sustainable and friendly built environment for Singapore.

Hands-on experience

Mr Ng started out as an executive engineer in the strategic engineering projects department of BCA’s Building Engineering (BE) Group. The department regulates structural design and construction works of building developments. His primary job scope then included processing structural plan submissions and permit applications for structural works and carrying out site inspections. He also had to handle feedback from the public, take enforcement actions and respond to construction incidents. Last May, he was seconded to Arup Singapore, a multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy firm. The attachment, which ends in April, has enabled him to gain first-hand experience on the ground and broaden his understanding of the built environment sector.

Apart from being involved in large-scale infrastructure projects, Mr Ng’s duties include planning and reviewing ground investigations and instrumentation, conducting geotechnical analysis and design reviews, preparing design submissions, and monitoring ongoing construction projects. He feels that being exposed to the integrated nature of project design enables him to better appreciate the intricate considerations behind the successful execution of projects. “The most interesting part of my attachment is having the opportunity to get exposure to overseas projects and getting a good overview of how civil engineering principles are applied,” he says.

Challenging but Fulfilling

Mr Ng has already taken on key projects at Arup Singapore, one of which was to oversee the successful demolition of a key development within the city centre. Many considerations had to be ironed out with various stakeholders due to the building’s close proximity to many adjacent structures, as well as underground utilities and services. These include the impact of vibration arising from the proposed works, adequacy of precautionary measures and site supervision. Such challenges may sound daunting, but Mr Ng takes them in his stride. He appreciates that his employer is supportive of his career ambitions. “I aspire to widen and deepen the scope of my technical knowledge in the course of my work,” he says. “This will help me to better appreciate the multi-faceted challenges in the built environment sector, and become a competent and respected engineer.” For those who are interested in joining BCA to help shape the future of Singapore’s built environment, Mr Ng says the scholarship can offer immense opportunities, as well as challenging but fulfilling work. “Find out the nature and key aspects of BCA’s work. Check if your personal career aspirations are aligned with the agency’s core purpose and goals,” he advises.