UT research group collaborates with team in Singapore

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Photo Credit: Chelsea Purgahn | Daily Texan Staff

The Construction Industry Institute, a research-based group within the Cockrell School of Engineering, signed a three-year and $3 million contract working with the Singapore Economic Development Board for better chemical processing facilities.  

The project’s lead investigators are Carlos Caldas, professor in the Cockrell School’s Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, and Stephen Mulva, associate director of Construction Industry Institute and associate lecturer in the Cockrell School.

Mulva said UT started working with companies in Singapore in spring 2014 and continued its work during summer 2015.

Based on the work Construction Industry Institute has done for the last 32 years, Mulva said the team would apply this same initiative in Singapore.  

“The objective is to improve the productivity of refining processed chemicals in Singapore,” Mulva said. “What we mean by productivity is improve the worker productivity in order to use less workers and produce more quantities of work.”

Mulva said Singapore is an important region for the refining and petrochemical hub in Asia. However, because of the country’s small size, the number of workers allowed on the projects is limited.

“In order to get a lot of construction work done, they are reliant on workers from other countries,” Mulva said. “So it’s making it even more crowded. The government puts a limit on the number of workers you can have on a construction project. To lower the cost of projects, they want to limit the number of foreign workers.”

According to a University press release, the research team will come up with proposals for measurement and management across 15 pilot projects and will share knowledge through
annual workshops.

“The research findings will give Singapore’s petrochemical industry a clear sense of where it stands globally, in terms of productivity, and they will set the stage for its improvement,” Caldas said in the press release.