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Arup clinches top honours at the Building and Construction Authority Awards

Jennifer Shand Jennifer Shand Australasia Press Office,Sydney
21 May 2018

Tanjong Pagar Centre and Downtown Line 3 (DTL3) Fort Canning Station and tunnels were two of four projects that received top honours at the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) Design and Engineering Safety Excellence Award 2018.

As part of the DTL3 Phase A project, Fort Canning Station and its associated tunnels won the excellence award in the Civil Engineering category. To overcome the challenging urban terrain that the project passes through, Arup’s engineers designed an alignment that ran under the Singapore River, historical buildings such as the National Museum, through the Fort Canning Hill, and a narrow strip of land between two HDB blocks and the State Court. An added complexity was the need to ensure that underground construction works near Bras Basah did not affect the integrity of three existing MRT lines – the Circle Line, North East Line and North South Line.

The project also saw an unprecedented temporary diversion of the Singapore River to facilitate construction. This critical step in the construction sequence effectively designed out associated risks by allowing the removal of underground obstructions. Arup also designed the cripple siding – an extra track that is used to facilitate withdrawal or storage of trains – to be located within the station. A first in Singapore, this solution overcome space constraints and avoided extensive construction around the historic Fort Canning Park.

After eight years and close to 400 Arup engineers and designers working on the DTL3 Phase A, I’m so pleased that the technical excellence of this project is recognised by the industry. At the outset, having to design an alignment that was accessible and safe, with minimum impact to its surroundings and the community was critical to the project’s success. I’m also incredibly proud to work with a team that was courageous in pushing boundaries, and in doing so developed a few pioneering design solutions for the rail industry in Singapore. ”

Tan Yoong Heng Singapore Office Leader

Conferred the excellence award in the Commercial category, the 290m high Tanjong Pagar Centre was constructed on a congested CBD site and had to meet an aggressive construction schedule. Currently the tallest building in Singapore, its slender and inclined building geometry exerts opposing forces at different levels, posing unique engineering challenges. Arup’s structural engineers had to anticipate the building’s behaviour and apply pre-setting to overcome its movements as it was constructed.

To meet the tight construction programme, Arup worked closely with the contractors to develop a meticulous excavation sequence that allowed for construction to proceed seamlessly. A top-down construction approach was adopted so that progress of the superstructures was advanced within a robust design of temporary supports and sequence of works.


To work around the challenge of space constraints, Arup proposed for the office podium and basement structures to be constructed in steel – an unusual but practical solution to achieve speed and ease of construction. These ingenious solutions optimised the basement construction which directly translated to time and cost savings.

Tanjong Pagar Centre is Singapore’s tallest building in more than two decades. Having to deliver tight basements and super tall towers located adjacent to an operational MRT within three years is a major achievement for the entire project team. The clever and practical construction methodologies, and meticulous planning and execution of the construction sequence was critical to delivering the structural engineering works on time and target. ”

See Lin Ming, Arup See Lin Ming Buildings Group Leader, Singapore

The BCA Design and Engineering Safety Excellence Award will be presented at the annual BCA Awards Night held on 22 May 2018 in Singapore. The awards recognise the efforts of Qualified Persons (Professional Engineers) for structural works, their firm and the project team for ingenious design processes and solutions in overcoming project challenges and ensuring safety in the design, construction and maintenance of building and civil engineering projects.