Calvin Ng reviews structural plans and processes as a Senior Engineer in the Geotechnical Engineering Department at BCA. He is a BCA Local Undergraduate Scholar and holds a Master of Science (Geotechnical Engineering) and a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (1st class honours).
Singapore is as busy underground as above it, crisscrossed by tunnels and buttressed by foundations and basements. For that, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) oversees our built environment to ensure that everything remains on the level, be it above or underground.
Maintaining and upgrading these foundations is Calvin Ng Ziyu, BCA Local Undergraduate Scholar, who is part of the team that oversees and administers the regulatory framework on the structural safety of buildings in Singapore.
Reflecting on his work with BCA, the scholar described his journey in maintaining Singapore’s built environment.
Were you always interested in buildings? How did your interest blossom?
One of my favourite childhood pastimes was assembling LEGO blocks into simple structures.
Over time, I also began to marvel at how complicated buildings were constructed. Subsequently, the maths and science curriculum in my school led me to enrol in a Civil Engineering undergraduate degree as it seemed like a natural extension to understand better the considerations involved in buildings and structures.
What made you choose the BCA Local Undergraduate Scholarship?
I selected BCA because BCA’s work has a wide-reaching influence on the daily lives of Singaporeans. This scholarship gives me the opportunity to be part of the organisation overseeing the industry. BCA plays a continued role over the entire lifecycle of a building – from project conceptualisation to construction, completion and maintenance.
There are also both managerial and technical routes for progression, which allows development in both breadth and depth for me.
You read a Master of Science (Geotechnical Engineering), and a Bachelor of Civil Engineering (1st class honours). How did BCA help and influence your education?
When I was an undergraduate, I really appreciated how BCA actively engages the students through professional internships and the public through outreach events. I had the opportunity to attend town hall events and one of their key mega conferences - the Singapore Construction Productivity Week.
Upon commencement of work, valuable lessons were learnt through project discussions with colleagues, involvement in committees and projects, etc. Project consultations and presentations helped me understand the considerations and intricacies involved in designing and constructing buildings and infrastructural projects.
You are a Senior Engineer in the Geotechnical Engineering Department. Could you explain what that entails?
I am part of the team that oversees and administers the regulatory framework on the structural safety of buildings in Singapore. The team administers and reviews relevant regulations and processes to ensure geotechnical building works, such as deep foundation works, slopes, deep excavations and tunnelling works, are designed and constructed safely.
Currently, I process structural plans and calculations submitted. These include the check and design review of analyses, models, assessments and monitoring data. To ensure building safety, I also conduct site checks and investigate how the surrounding buildings will be affected.
What is the work culture in your organisation?
My colleagues in BCA are both competent and supportive, so I am able to flourish in this challenging working environment and develop my capabilities and skills.
Besides work, BCA also provides many avenues for staff to give back to society, through organising Corporate Social Responsibility activities such as volunteering at nursing homes, donation drives, and so on. BCA also strives to keep staff healthy through programmes such as the healthy lifestyle initiative, for instance, an hour off per week for staff to exercise.
What possibilities are there for BCA scholars?
BCA provides career development opportunities for scholars who wish to pursue the specialist path or management path.
Our talent grooming framework has many different facets including job rotations, secondment to other public agencies or attachment to private sector companies, sponsorship for postgraduate studies, specialised/milestone training and structured exposure such as leading project teams.
What advice would you give to aspiring scholars looking to join BCA?
If you would like to shape the future of Singapore’s built environment, this scholarship offers immense opportunities.
It would be prudent to find out the nature and key aspects of BCA’s work. Given the multi-faceted work at BCA in safety, sustainability, construction productivity, expect the work to be challenging yet fulfilling.