Housing Migrant Workers

When the first migrant worker dormitory was identified as a COVID-19 cluster in March 2020, the SAF had to take swift action and set up temporary housing facilities for the migrant workers at SAF camps to help curb the spread. Our team of procurement specialists, engineers, and technical officers quickly joined the effort.

To prepare the camps, all of which were either vacant or unused premises not required for any operational activities, the team stepped up to engage suppliers to construct additional housing facilities in the camps in just mere weeks. Adding to the challenge, the facilities had to be equipped with a variety of amenities for habitable living, including beds, lighting, ventilation, mobile toilets and shower facilities.

PC13 EP Housing Migrant Workers 01

Working closely with the various stakeholders and tapping past experiences, the procurement team collaborated with the engineers to develop requirements quickly and began sourcing. Senior Procurement Manager (Procurement) Kelvin Ang recalled: “We had to think strategically and holistically to overcome issues arising from labour constraints and shortages due to border restrictions. These unforeseeable impacts of the pandemic exacerbated the difficulties for a mass population relocation.”

The procurement team had to think through their strategies very thoroughly. Eventually, they decided to manage supply risks by diversifying sources and aggregating demand to attract more potential suppliers, among other solutions. To overcome uncertainties in the prevailing COVID-19 situation, the team also adopted a flexible pricing mechanism to secure prices.

Despite the immense time pressure, the team still ensured adherence to the government procurement standards of fair evaluation. they were eventually able to issue multiple contracts to qualified suppliers within days instead of the typical procurement lead time that could run into months for major purchases.

Echoing the team’s sentiments, Director (Policy and Transformation) Christine Zhuo said: “We know what we do have a direct impact on Singaporeans, and are very proud to have played a part in Singapore’s fight against COVID-19.”