Singapore: Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong opens world's first high-rise rotatable lab
Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong in a meeting Reuters

The world's first rotatable laboratory was officially unveiled in Singapore on Wednesday by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

The BCA SkyLab will be used to test-bed technologies to bring more "positive energy" buildings into reality. The 132 sqm research centre, which is capable of rotating 360 degrees in half-an-hour, is developed by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) in collaboration with the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California.

The $4.5 million worth research centre has the capability to conduct tests at any orientation relative to the sun or wind. Multiple stationary labs facing in different directions is no longer required.

"Right now, what the industry does is to use a simulation programmes. But there's no way of verifying it. Simulation assumes a lot of behaviours. This rotatable lab can validate whether it's true or not," Lam Siew Wah, managing director of BCA's Built Environment Research and Innovation Institute (BERII) told Today Online.

The BCA chief executive John Keung said: "With the SkyLab, you can do many variations until you find the most optimal solution... It's critical for anyone who wants to invest in certain new fa├žade, new systems, that you test it out first in the real world before you make that commitment financially."

Lee said this new Sky Lab has already created a lot of interest and it is fully booked till the end of 2018. He said it is a place where both academia and industry can come together and ideate.

"The National University of Singapore, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore University of Technology and Design and Temasek Polytechnic are all collaborating with BCA and the industry. If successful, these ideas can be commercialised and can help us achieve our dream building goals," he said.

Lee said this facility would surely play an important role in Singapore's sustainability drive as there is need to upgrade the nation's building software to build safely, efficiently and with high quality.

He also stressed on the point that Singapore still has a huge number of workplace fatalities and construction sector is the major contributor to fatalities and major injuries. Hence, Singapore needs to improve productivity and safety and better professionals, having mastery of their skills.