In February 2015, GCS received the Building Construction Authority's (BCA) Green Mark Platinum Award. According to the BCA standards, building owners who want to maintain this recognition should be recertified every three years. Before the achievement of this prestigious award, GCS successfully attained recertification of green mark platinum award by BCA, which is validity is between January 2018 and January 2021. The BCA award strengthened the GCS' goals and group mission especially when it comes to achieving continued sustainability. The BCA award is also a significant factor towards GCS' efforts in protecting the environment through achievement of the green energy saving techniques. GCS boasts of efficient chiller plants with an efficiency of 0.62KW/RT (Kilowatt/ Refrigerant Ton) as compared to the platinum requirement of 0.65KW/R, which is set by BCA. This factor has played a crucial role in boosting the efforts and eventual success of the team.
CCTV Camera System
It is imperative to allow the integration of the CCTV camera in the buildings of this institution. In 2018, the plans are underway to upgrade the organization's CCTV camera with the door-access control system, ultimately enhancing the safety of the building. With the improved CCTV camera system, security personnel will be able to monitor the whole structure easily and cover all points of entry to the building. This will include the external compound surrounding the building. The proposed budget of $100,000 under capital expenditure for these improvements need to be set aside. The final evaluation process for the location and quantity of the CCTV camera to be installed is ongoing. The company will conduct the tendering process and followed by tender evaluation, clarification and board application. The project is expected to commence in April 2018.
Facade Retrofitting Project
The facade retrofitting project underway. Irrespective of minor setbacks such as safety issues of the materials chosen for cladding, the retrofitting project has been operated smoothly.
Design Perspective and Board Application
The GC facade retrofitting project completed the stage of design development, followed by the board's approval. The appointed consultant, ID Architects (IDA), has come up with ten types of prospective facade designs for the consultants to comment on and choose from, under the voting system and decision from senior management. The head office settled on the WAVE-type design at the front entrance and on the two staircases, combined with the three-color band at the perimeter wall on the east and west wing.
JTC design review panel meeting was held on 15 October 2017. The team advised GC and IDA to consider improving connectivity in the external compound pathway, especially when building a covered walkway from the bus stop facing Jurong Town Hall to GC front entrance canopy. The motive for this improvement work is for public convenience. The cost for installing the covered walkway was estimated to be at most $150,000. Even if JTC is not compelling us to deliver the project soon, we have projected that this task should be completed before 2022 before renewing of our lease. The appointed Architects IDA suggested doing it after facade submission plan approval, separate submission plan to authorities for the covered walkway to avoid delaying the project schedule.
Material for Cladding
A severe fire incident occurred in the UK (United Kingdom) in 2017, and it was revealed that the occurrence was associated with the use of an ACP (aluminum composite panel) for the external wall cladding. The latest incident, which happened in one of the buildings located at Toh Guan incorporating with ACP, has prompted us to inquire as to whether ACP may be safe to be used for our building. Although our initial ideas focused on recladding with the same ACP (Alucobond brand), that we have previously installed in our building for almost 22 years. |However, there are concerns regarding the safety of our building occupants, compelling us to comply with the ACP requirements from the authority of Singapore, that is, the SCDF (Singapore Civil Defence Force).
It is understood that there has been an unclear situation as to whether the Alucobond ACP is safe or not when it comes to using an external cladding. This was an area of concern since SCDF did not have an explicitly confirmed decision for usage of ACP. Besides, the testing method to be used for ACP involves the use of BS (British Standard) part 6 and 7. Apparently, NFPA has also created a lot of confusion in the industry.
We are firmly working with an appointed architect and SCDF in the selection of the material of cladding. Besides cost, safety is also our primary concern. The emphasis is placed on the selection of the materials which comply with SCDF requirement, which promote high safety standards.
Security and Cleaning Services
While carrying out budgeting planning for 2028, GCS TSD team embarked on going through evaluation process and identification of the areas that needed enhancement to facilitate cost minimization. Security and cleaning services were chosen as the primary sections that can be utilized in efforts of cost-cutting measures.
Security Contract Services
In 2018, we successfully reduced security personnel from five to four staff on duty per day, with no adverse impact on the daily building operations.
The roles and duties of the removed security workers were fully optimized and covered by night duty security supervisor on shift. With the deduction of one security personnel, the cost for security contract services was projected to reduce to $18,700/month, or $224,400/month in 2018, saving approximately $3,600/month, $43,200/year, or 16.14% as compared to the previous expenditures.
Cleaning Contract Services
The cost-saving strategy also applied to Cleaning contract services at GCS in 2018. There has been the removal of one cleaner, thus reducing the number of cleaning personnel from eight to seven workers per day on duty. Evaluation of the daily operations and outcomes attest that the decision to reduce the number of cleaners has not adversely affected the efficiency or productivity of the GC building. This approach allowed the institution to minimize its total costs on cleaning services from $20,800/month or $249,600/year in 2017 to $19,300/month, or $231,600/year in 2018. The approximate savings will be $1,500/month, $18,000/year, or 7.21% as compared to the 2017 budget.
In general, we will ensure that the reduction of the workforce from our security and cleaning services will not affect the operation of the building and will continue to keep the building in tip-top condition. Our in-house technician will be optimized and back up security and cleaning as needed, such as assisting Singapore Power (SP) Services with meter-reading, supervising contractors, and cleaning the external compound drainage system.
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