The construction sector accounted for 2.7 percent of Singapore’s nominal gross domestic product in 2020. While this sector was badly hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore (BCA) projected that total construction demand would grow in 2021. Although the industry has yet to bounce back to pre-pandemic levels, several major public sector projects were expected to spur growth and recovery in the years to come.
Impact of COVID-19 on Singapore's construction sector
Singapore’s construction sector was among its worst-hit industries during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the global economy contracting by around 3.3 percent, and Singapore’s economy experiencing its worst recession since independence, many developers placed their projects on hold or scaled back on developments. The pandemic has also resulted in a labor shortage for the construction sector. Singapore's construction sector is heavily reliant on foreign labor, the majority of whom come from neighboring Asian countries such as Bangladesh, India, and Myanmar. The restrictions on travel, coupled with the ongoing COVID-19 crisis in these markets, resulted in a shortage of labor in construction.
The COVID-19 pandemic has also decreased productivity in construction. Safe distancing measures implemented during the pandemic have led to a decrease in laborers working on a construction site at a given time. Construction work was also halted for four months in 2020, as Singapore tried to contain an outbreak of COVID-19 among its migrant worker community, the majority of whom were employed as construction laborers. To prevent such an outbreak from happening again, Singapore has started offering vaccines to its migrant workers.
Major infrastructure projects spur Singapore’s construction sector recovery
The construction industry is, however, expected to improve, spurred by the public sector. Singapore's largest road project, the North-South Corridor, is already in the works and is set to be completed by 2026. Further boosting construction demand are its ambitious civil engineering projects, such as the expansion of the rail network through the Johor Bahru – Singapore Rapid Transit System (RTS); the building of the 62km-long Coast-to-Coast (C2C) Southern Trail, a cross-island cycling and walking path; and the construction of the Integrated Transport Hub at Jurong East. With all these developments in the works, the BCA has projected for public sector contracts awarded to be between 23 to 28 billion Singapore dollars in 2021.
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In the following 6 chapters, you will quickly find the 28 most important statistics relating to "Construction industry in Singapore".