Singapore’s Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has slashed its forecast for this year’s projected construction demand to between $18 billion and $23 billion. 

This is a $10 billion plummet from the $28 billion to $33 billion value expected at the beginning of what was meant to be a good year for the construction sector, the authority announced on September 17.

Breaking down its latest numbers BCA says, construction demand from the public sector is estimated between $11 billion to $14 billion, while the remaining $7 billion to $9 billion is expected to be for private sector activity. 

The revision comes after the authority’s mid-year review of construction contracts awarded in the first half of the year as well as public and private-sector projects expected till December.

These moves are a result of the Covid-19 pandemic which has stalled construction, particularly from the stay home notices and quarantine orders imposed on migrant workers who account for a substantial proportion of the sector’s workforce.

This has resulted in a drop in demand for private sector construction and a postponement in the award of some public sector projects from 2020 to 2021 as contractors and suppliers take time to assess their resource management and project implementation timelines.

“The construction industry has realised that disruptions like COVID-19 can have serious impact on business and understands the need to build up capability for sustainable business development,” National Development Minister Desmond Lee writes in a September 17 Facebook post.

He expects demand to recover to some extent from 2021 following upgrading works and public residential developments. 

These include developments at the Jurong Lake District and construction of: new healthcare facilities and other infrastructure projects such as the Cross Island MRT Line.

For this, BCA urged the construction industry to “remain vigilant to prevent a resurgence of Covid-19 cases which could bring the sector to a halt again”.