Smart solutions for better lives

Chief Executive Basant Raj Chhetri explains the use of smart technology in the construction sector

SONAM PENJOR

Thimphu

To help people build and own homes within a much shorter time frame and assist senior citizens, and those with special needs lead easier lives with the use of smart technologies, Bhutan Professional Services (BPS),  a private company launched their experience centers showcasing smart building solutions on 4 November this week.

This is to encourage alternative methods of construction that has the potential to eliminate dependency on foreign workers, create job opportunities within the construction sector, and control the spiraling cost of construction while building homes that are more comfortable, safe and energy efficient.

The company was established with support from the National Credit Guarantee Scheme.

A press release from the company states, “Although, the need to change the current methods of construction has been long felt and efforts have been made by various agencies over the past decade. With easy access to expatriate workers, the construction technology that is the most dominant in neighboring countries has continued to thrive creating complete dependence on expatriate workers.”

However, an urgent need to reduce or eliminate this dependency has been felt due to the pandemic, added the press release.

The Minister for Works and Human Settlement, Lyonpo Dorji Tshering, who was the chief guest at the launch, said that at least some of the construction sectors are coming up with modern technology. Construction industry in the country started five decades ago.

Lyonpo said, “If we look back five to six decades, our construction sector has not reached to our destiny of what we think. Therefore, the time has reach to change the construction industry. But, if we dissect our construction industry, we are 85 percent dependent on import.”

Chief Executive of BPS, Basant Raj Chhetri, said the core objectives of BPS has always been to introduce “systems approach” in construction as a way to enhancing construction productivity and cost reduction, through adoption of innovative building technologies and construction materials.

In adding, he said “While we have largely focused on project management services in the last ten years, we have realized the need for professionals to play a catalytic role in building the industry as the construction sector continues to be unproductive, has poor quality standards, and fails to meet customer expectations.”

The need to change the current methods of construction has been long felt and efforts have been made by various agencies over the past decade. However, with easy access to expatriate workers, the construction technology that is the most dominant in the neighboring countries has thrived and continue to thrive creating complete dependence on expatriate workers, added Basant Raj Chhetri.

Basant Raj Chhetri said “All of these are possible with prefabrication and smart building solutions.”

Lyonpo said “People think only the import of raw materials, but if we look deep into it, huge number of human resources (HR) is imported. I called it the foolishness, because of that 85 percent of the HR are imported.”

If it is not today, Lyonpo said tomorrow would be late and may not have this opportunity. “You might have realized that from the highest authority, we are now deeply focusing into the enhancing of construction sector. For instance, we have already constituted a task force to look after the construction industry roadmap.”

From the government, policies are put in place, and other helps, but want the partner from the private sectors. Lyonpo said “We want the stronger support from the private sectors and another  three to four years down the line, our construction sectors will improve more than what we have at present.”

Meanwhile, BPS was established in 2009, and in less than a decade, BPS have had an opportunity to lead some of the landmark projects, such the Le Meridien, Thimphu, dusitD2 Yarkay, Bhutan Elder Sangha Sanctuary Project in Punakha, and also associated with other landmark projects, such as, the Thimphu Techpark, and the Royal Thimphu College.