Aug 12, 2018
KNOWLEDGE is certainly power, as Honeywell project manager Lim Swee Hiang found out.
He was studying construction contract law at the Singapore Institute of Management Global Education (SIM GE), while dealing with a client who kept withholding a project progress claim.
The module is a component of the part-time Bachelor of Applied Science (Construction Management) (Honours) (Top-up) awarded by the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) University, Australia.
It covers key areas such as contentious clauses, claims and dispute resolution, which was particularly beneficial to Mr Lim.
He recalls: “After learning about the contract laws that govern the construction industry payment clause, I was able to resolve the situation through negotiation and by highlighting our contractual rights.”
Not only did the incident allow Mr Lim the opportunity to apply his newfound knowledge in the real world, it also emphasised the importance of keeping up with industry practices and various construction contract laws.
As a project manager, Mr Lim, 41, has to implement building management systems (BMS), tender for BMS projects, align with sustainability initiatives set by the authorities and manage contracts. He also needs to undertake cost planning and project scheduling duties, and lead a team. The electronics and telecommunication engineering diploma holder had been with Honeywell for three years when he enrolled in the RMIT course in 2015. The course was then known as the Bachelor of Applied Science (Construction Management).
Mr Lim says: “After working for nearly a decade, I realised that equipping oneself with the relevant knowledge and qualifications are pre-requisites when opportunities for career advancement present themselves.
“I needed the knowledge to better execute the projects I was managing, as well as to understand the end-to-end process of managing construction projects.”
When deciding on where he should study, SIM GE was his top choice — as he knew the tertiary institute offered part-time degrees for professionals in various industries.
The modules, which provided an in-depth look at construction management, were also a perfect fit for his career trajectory.
Making it work
Mr Lim graduates this month with first class honours. He is grateful that the understanding lecturers at SIM GE managed to accommodate his busy work schedule.
Being able to apply what he learnt in his classes directly to his work — such as the project lifecycle in construction — was also useful.
Says Mr Lim: “I can now better assist my company in the various steps of the BMS project cycle — from tendering, compliance to authority code, execution process, forms of contract and subcontractor contract rights.”
This article was first published in The Straits Times on Aug 12, 2018.