The construction industry has been an ever-flowing source of revenue in the past few years for Singapore. Owing mostly to the rise of developments in business centers, public transportation, residences and more – the demand has not shown any sign of ceasing in the near future.
Should you be interested in cashing into the industry and starting your own construction business, you will have to secure a few necessary permits first:
General Builders License
This license is divided into two classes:
- Class 1
Builders are allowed to work on contracts of any value. A minimum paid-up capital of SGD 300,000 is required. The licensing fee charged is SGD 1,800.
- Class 2
Builders are only allowed to work on contracts of SGD 6 million or less. A minimum paid-up capital of SGD 25,000 is required. The licensing fee charged is SGD 1,200.
Specialist Builders License
For builders who partake in these activities, as specified by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA):
- Piling works
- Ground support and stabilization works
- Site investigation work
- Structural steelwork
- Pre-cast concrete work
- In-situ post-tensioning work
This type of license requires a company whose Technical Controller is a certified professional civil or structural engineer. However, a caveat is the person must be certified by an organization named on the list of recognized institutions by the BCA.
The licensing fee for this type is SGD 1,500.
These are the prerequisites for applying for the Builders’ license
- Appoint an Approved Person
Approved person to lead the management of the building project
- Appoint a Technical Controller (TC)
The TC will supervise the building. Specialist builders should have a civil or structural engineering degree from a recognized institution.
- Minimum paid up capital (for corporations only)
Class 1 General Builder: >S$300000
Class 2 General Builder or Specialist Builder: >S$25000
- Payment of licensing fees (licenses are valid for 3 years)
Class 1 General Builder: S$1800
Class 2 General Builder: S$1200
Specialist Builder: S$1500
Professional Engineering Services License
All firms that intend to offer professional engineering services must register with the Professional Engineers Board. This license covers, but is not limited to, companies engaging in services such as:
- Building construction – including structural repairs and renovation
- Building finishing – including glass and wood work
- Structural installations – including electrical work, automated systems, security systems, plumbing, etc.
- Construction of major thoroughfare, bridges and the like
- Construction of power lines, gas lines, sewer and drainage systems
- Leasing of construction equipment – rental supply
- Other similarly related activities
To apply for the license, majority of the company’s board of directors have to be licensed professional engineers. The director of which must also be an actively practicing engineer with a valid license. The company must also have a paid-up capital of at least SGD 500,000.
Aside from the Articles of Association stating where the directors are registered as engineers and the paid-up capital, the company must also obtain a Professional Liability insurance policy. Proof of said policy must contain the policy number.
The Professional Engineering Services License is valid for up to a year and must be renewed at least two months before the date of expiry. The fee for applications is SGD 300.
You may apply for these licenses on eBACS.
Other types of licenses may also apply to your construction business, however, these are even more specialized for each kind of operation you may need to take part in. Some examples of these special permits include:
- License to Operate Scheduled Premises
This applies to companies whose operations may cause severe air or water pollution, or deal in hazardous waste. It is issued by the National Environment Authority.
- Permit for Road Occupation Management
- Telecommunications Wiring Contractor’s License
Hiring foreign workers
To hire foreign workers, you should also approach Ministry of Manpower (MOM) to apply for the appropriate work permits.