Brick by Brick
Singapore construction firm Sunhuan celebrates its 20th anniversary.
Writer Ian Armitage
Project manager Arron Rampling
Ambitious companies can maximise business opportunities but the best companies also recognise that success depends on the ability to think strategically and to spot opportunities and threats on the horizon.
This is part of the continued success behind Singapore-based Sunhuan Construction, a firm that was first established in 1993 as a sub-contractor and which has evolved to become a Class A1 General Building Contractor, qualified to tender for projects with unrestricted tender limits.
"Sunhuan demonstrates high-level viability coupled with sustainability of our business in this competitive industry," says general manager Alex Pang. "For instance, Sunhuan has practiced the Design & Build concept to provide flexibility and adaptability in satisfying the diverse demands of our customers. We have regular dialogue sessions with industry players and business partners to make necessary changes to our business models so as to stay competitive. We have also complied with all the standards and requirements through our QEHS policy to provide within budget, timely, quality services and products to our customers. In addition, we have also partnered with architectural and structural firms to design unique and cost efficient projects that meets the energy efficient requirements of the present market needs."
Sunhuan was founded by Sun Lai Fong – a migrant worker who came to Singapore from China 30 years ago – and he attributes the firm's success to being "in-line with the most stringent quality and safety requirements".
Talking in a commemorative book that celebrates the firm's 20th anniversary, he says that "Sunhuan Construction with its notable status has laid a firm foundation to maintainand secure its position in this ever changing industry."
"In today's construction industry, every construction company including Sunhuan Construction is constantly facing new challenges and also existing issues relating to manpower and resources," he explains.
"Throughout these years, we had experienced and overcome all odds in Singapore's construction scene." And this is a good time to be involved in Singapore's construction industry, Mr Pang says. Sunhuan has done a lot of work with the Housing and Development Board (HDB) and has a number of high-profile projects to its name.
Today around 80 percent of Singaporeans live in HDB flats.
"With the strong demand of public housing in Singapore for the next two years, Sunhuan is looking at a three percent share of the market which we estimate at about S$1 billion," says Mr Pang. "One of the policies of Sunhuan is quality and higher technological approach and we make sure the objectives are rationalised and met in any construction project that we have tendered and awarded. With this strength, Sunhuan has always been increasing our presence in this competitive market."
Of course green initiatives are increasingly important and Sunhuan has been incorporating eco-concrete, solar panels and water recycling into its construction – aware that there is a need to reduce the reliance on the non-renewable materials and methods that are not only expensive but also prone to polluting the environment.
Tied into this, innovation is absolutely vital in Sunhuan's eyes and its R&D team is in constant pursuit of the best techniques, designs, and qualities that "are preferred by the customers," says Mr Pang.
The customer, it seems, always comes first, and they are never left disappointed - Sunhuan has even carried out market research in which it has sought to discover customer preferences. This explains why Sunhuan is "popular and has a wide customer base," Mr Pang says. "A part from their compliance with the needs of the customers, Sunhuan also provides quality buildings that are also sustainable throughout its intended lifespan. Sunhuan has always ensured that the clients' requirements are met without any fail."
And the future is bright, with growth on the cards, says Mr Pang, who explains that Sunhuan has "forecast the number of construction projects 'til year 2015."
"Sunhuan has future plans for expansion to engage in construction activities in regional countries near to Singapore," he says. "We have been carrying out feasibility studies in Myanmar, Indonesia and Laos to be the potential areas for international expansion. We have also engaged overseas consultants and work with the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) to venture into those targeted countries. Our overseas consultants are exploring opportunities with the various government agencies of the countries. We have also gathered advice from our bankers and BCA on the countries' risks so as to assess on the viability of carrying out business in those countries."
To make sure it is well-placed to capitalise on future expansion opportunities, Sunhuan has spent a lot of time looking internally, ensuring it has the necessary systems in place to measure, monitor and improve productivity. Indeed, it has a Bio-matrix system which monitors employee attendance, and participated actively in the BCA's Coretrade scheme whereby qualified and trained workers, foremen and supervisors are deployed to the construction sites to improve productivity. The system has worked and since the start of the scheme, Sunhuan has sent a minimum of 50 workers for training every year with productivity increasing about 25 percent after workers have been sent to Coretrade.
But, in the true spirit of this ambitious company, this isn't enough.
It is now working on its own training centre, under the BCA's guidance.
"We are looking at setting up our own training centre with the assistance of BCA in two years to carry out internal training for our own workers and also external training to other contractors," Mr Pang says.
It certainly pays to dream big and dream big is what Sunhuan Construction has done. But it also recognises people as a key asset.
To learn more visit www.sunhuan.com.sg.