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‘Wearable security’ debuts at Changi East development site

SINGAPORE — For the first time, smart eyeglasses that can stream real-time video and audio will be used in Singapore as part of security measures during the development of the Changi East site. The site is where the new Changi Airport Terminal 5 is located.

‘Wearable security’ debuts at Changi East development site

Changi Airport Control Tower seen from the Changi East development site, taken during a site visit on Oct 9, 2018.

SINGAPORE — For the first time, smart eyeglasses that can stream real-time video and audio will be used in Singapore as part of security measures during the development of the Changi East site. The site is where the new Changi Airport Terminal 5 is located.

Donned by safety inspectors and resident engineers, these smart glasses — resembling the Google Glass — have been used at the Changi East worksite since June. Costing around US$1,500 (S$2,070) a pair, they allow 20 roving duty managers to have a live view of what is happening at various work zones, so they can respond faster to incidents.

Safety inspectors and resident engineers have been wearing smart eyeglasses for part of their work at the Changi East site. Photo: Koh Mui Fong/TODAY

Land preparation for the mega construction site, which spans 667 football fields and is as big as Sengkang town, started in 2014. On Tuesday (Oct 9), giving an update on the project during a visit for reporters, operator Changi Airport Group (CAG) revealed that some 3,000 workers and 700 vehicles are now on site daily.

Besides the building of Terminal 5 — which is slated for completion around 2030 — there is the redevelopment of a third runway, an intricate network of drainage tunnels, and taxiways to connect the third runway to the rest of the airport. The entire Changi East project is set to cost tens of billions of dollars.

The redeveloped runway is 4km in length, and taxiways will collectively measure almost 40km. Four main canals — 40m at the widest — have been constructed to drain surface runoffs into the sea.

Since work has to be carried out next to one of the world’s busiest airport, CAG said that it had to develop and deploy a series of innovative technologies to ensure high levels of efficiency, safety and security, as well as to address construction site challenges that are unique to the development.

For example, there are specific parts of the airfield that have height restrictions, where equipment cannot be taller than 45m. To ensure that tall equipment such as cranes do not cross into zones with such height restrictions, an automatic height infringement detection system has been developed.

The system, which uses Global Positioning System-enabled sensors, will sound an alarm when an equipment has exceeded an area’s height limit.

Mr Marken Ang, CAG’s assistant general manager in charge of site safety, said: “(We do) manual checks and, on top of that, we have automated systems where, if cranes were to breach (the) height limit, it will trigger an alarm at the (command centre).”

A centralised system to track personnel and vehicles entering and leaving the worksite was set up in September as an added safety measure. This is done at a central Changi East checkpoint, which has six operational vehicle lanes designed to handle up to 500 vehicles an hour. For personnel, there are six operational turnstile lanes.

All personnel will need to scan their passes at the checkpoint, which ensures that everyone entering the worksite, as well as vehicles, are accounted.

CAG declined to disclose the cost of putting up the security measures.

Even though work on the site began as early as four years ago, most of the security measures were rolled out only this year because there was no critical mass in the earlier stages requiring such centralised and large-scale operations.

Mr Ang said that there were “very few contractors” in the initial years and so, it was “easier for the contractors to coordinate among themselves”.

In 2015, CAG announced that it awarded a S$1.12 billion contract to a joint venture formed by Samsung C&T Corporation and Koh Brothers, for the first phase of works relating to the development of a three-runway system at Changi Airport. 

Mr Ang said that more works are expected to be carried out at the Changi East site. "There will be more contractors, (so better) coordination is needed, therefore the checkpoint was set up to ensure that we (know) exactly who is on site."

The Changi East Command Centre was built to provide round-the-clock surveillance, to oversee safety works within the airfield at Changi East. Contractors from different projects are allocated spaces at the centre, where they can monitor works and track workers. Photo: Koh Mui Fong/TODAY


Online work declaration system

  • Team supervisors are expected to update work logs twice a day. The information is reflected on a digital map which provides a view of ongoing work at the site at any one time.

  • The system will log the contact details of team supervisors, allowing for better management and oversight.

Electronic tracking

  • All workers and vehicles entering the airfield are issued with a transponder (a tracking device) daily, which will have to be returned when they leave.

  • It allows the command centre to track how many workers are in an area at one time.

  • Geo-fencing has been set up on the airfield, so should a worker cross the fence into a restricted area, an alarm will be triggered to alert managers in the command centre.

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