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Building up the built environment

Enterprise 50 winner ECAS Consultants is leveraging its solid engineering foundation to springboard into the region and inspire the young.

How does an engineering consultancy firm find a way to remain relevant in a saturated industry? For ECAS Consultants, it’s by keeping up with industry innovations and constantly adopting new technologies. 

A home-grown engineering consultancy business, ECAS started out in 1996 as a traditional civil and structural engineering consultancy services firm. 

Today, it has evolved to provide a broader range of consultancy services, with capabilities ranging from bridge and road, building, civil, environmental, geotechnical, infrastructure, mechanical, rail and tunnel engineering.

ECAS is one of the winners of the Enterprise 50 Award, and this is the first win for the company.

Says Mr Chan Ewe Jin, 55, managing director at ECAS: “From the beginning, we have been committed to keeping up with industry innovations. We have been proactively exploring new technologies and building up our technical capabilities through internal and external training.”

With a team of around 190 staff, with roles ranging from professional engineers and design engineers to resident technical officers, ECAS has big plans to become the leading multi-disciplinary engineering consultancy firm in the region. 

Investing in technology to stay ahead

So what impact has technology had on the engineering industry?

“Digital transformation has largely benefited the sector over the years. Various types of engineering design softwareprogram integrated with BIMallow us to render our work faster and more accurately,” Mr Chan explains. 

“We are able to collaborate more effectively using Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Virtual Design and Construction (VDC) technologies. We have become more efficient and productive than ever.”

BIM is a digital representation of physical and functional characteristics of a facility, while VDC refers to the management of integrated multi-disciplinary performance models of design-construction projects.

Mr Chan says, “We actively use these technologies in the delivery of our design works and in collaborating with project stakeholders.”

With the fast-changing information technology environment, and the nature of the engineering business, it is crucial for ECAS to readily adopt new technologies as a way to stay relevant and ahead of the competition. 

“As a smaller enterprise, we try our best to invest in new technologies in the best way we can and as soon as possible,” Mr Chan explains.

A frontrunner for engineering solutions

ECAS projects appear all around Singapore. Some of its recent works include institutional buildings, condominiums, public housingand hefty infrastructure projects like the North-South Corridor and Thomson-East Coast Line. 

Known for its effective engineering solutions and reliable project deliveries, ECAS has built up a reputation for productivity and the high quality of its work.

What sets the company apart from others is that it is able to offer a wide spectrum of engineering services, covering feasibility design and detailed design, to construction management and independent accredited checking. 

Mr Chan further explains that ECAS is growing its capabilities to cover geotechnical, environmental and mechanical engineering sectors.

“Singapore is an open market where multinational firms flock for strategic growth,” he says. “As a small-to-medium enterprise (SME), we are constantly challenged by competition from the bigger firms, but we leverage on our wealth of experience and industry knowledge as a local firm.”

ECAS has plans to go beyond Singapore, especially in developing countries where the company can showcase its knowledge and expertise in the areas of infrastructure, transportation, building, environmental and geotechnical engineering.

Says Mr Chan: “Singapore is a highly-developed country that is at the forefront of construction technology. As an enterprising local firm, we have the advantage of growing our business in a global scale as the Singapore brand of service is highly respected all over the world.”

Moving forward as a winner

Grateful for the recognition from Enterprise 50, Mr Chan believes that this award will pave the way for similar firms in the industry to also take the leap into becoming enterprising and innovative. 

“As a local SME, we feel that we have been successful in growing our business in terms of manpower, capability building, quality project deliveries and expanding our client network over the years,” he believes. “We are also successful in our pursuit of business excellence, having received such prestigious awards from Singapore Quality Class and Enterprise 50.”

Mr Chan emphasises the importance of increasing youth awareness of careers in the engineering sector — he hopes that ECAS can inspire the younger generations of Singapore to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“We also hope that we can further gain the support of the government in developing our local talents and in building up the local engineering firms’ capabilities,” Mr Chan says. 

“ECAS hopes to inspire the youth to consider careers in the built environment, as the work we do is significant to the development of our region.”