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Colliers urges immediate review of Singapore industrial sites


High time to cut down on wasting resources.

Colliers International recently published its white paper titled "Come 2030, Will There be Suitable Space for Small and Medium Businesses?" The firm discusses about an urgent re-examination of  land-use zonings, usage definitions, planning parameters, plot ratio norms and regulations in industrial buildings. Here's more from Colliers International:

Demand for any type of real estate within a larger national built-environment is one derived from the consequent growth in human needs and economic activity.

With the increase in Singapore’s population from 4.27 million to 5.31 million from 2005 to 2012, there was the inevitable, natural increase in demand for goods and services that led to an increase in the demand for labour, new businesses and, of course, the real estate in which to accommodate all of these activities.

In the recently released government white paper, the total population is projected to reach between 5.8 and 6.0 million by 2020, and an even greater 6.5 to 6.9 million by 2030.

The white paper also stipulates that a sustainable population in Singapore rests on the three pillars of a strong and cohesive society, a dynamic economy and a good home.

Furthermore, the provision of 11 million square metres in the central area and another 13 million square metres in decentralised locations would provide the necessary real estate base, in which a multitude of locations where all forms of businesses can thrive throughout the length and breadth of the island.

These provisions, in addition to the overall increase in land allocated for industry and commerce from 13% to 17% (from 9,700 ha to 12,800 ha) in 20 years5, would serve as a platform in which Singapore’s “manufacturing sector can create high-value jobs and business opportunities” and where “Singapore’s status as a premier financial and business services hub” is strengthened.

While these farsighted large-scale plans seek to cultivate continued growth through a balanced management of resources, the Government also needs to ensure that the real estate facilities that eventually materialise suit the needs of businesses.

As Singapore moves forward and modernises its manufacturing sector as a contemporary, technology-based, high-value added engine of the economy, it is crucial that the form and shape of industrial real estate supports the overall evolution of modern production.

With less of the traditional hard manufacturing taking place in Singapore, there is a need to re-examine land-use zonings, usage definitions, planning parameters, plot ratio norms and regulations in industrial buildings.

Only with a clear understanding of the needs of businesses can industrial buildings be built with the right specifications - not under-provided or excessive. This would minimise wastage of resources and result in improved productivity.

With the Government having to, at the same time, try and maximise plot ratios in land scarce Singapore, this would be only effective with a clear understanding of what ‘new’ industries need.

In this light, there could also be a need for more economical strata office units for new businesses and some of the new citizens from Asia setting up businesses here.

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