Visit to Samwoh eco-green building!

Participants for Samwoh visit

Participants for Samwoh visit

On 24 November, 14 enthusiastic strangers came together for a common purpose: to see what can drive someone so crazy as to design a building with up to 100% recycled concrete aggregate (RCA) and work everyday inside such a building.

Our friendly tour guide, Hoon Kiat, who is also the PR/ Marketing Communications officer for Samwoh, shared with us the amazing story of Samwoh and their innovative eco-products.

Samwoh started as a transportation and logistics businesss between 3 good friends who were lorry-drivers. The logo is made up of 3 chinese characters of the word “ren” (person). Over the years, the business grew and eventually was handed over to the 2nd generation. This generation was the one who started looking at the construction and demolition waste and wondering what they could do with it. With the arrival of the en-bloc wave (or craze), Singapore produces a million tons (that’s 1,000,000,000 kg) of construction waste a year.

Samwoh decided to crush up the concrete waste into smaller pieces called recycled concrete aggregates (RCA), which could be used to replace granite in buildings. Unfortunately, there was no demand at that time, so the mountain of RCA kept growing. That was in 2005. Then in 2007, Indonesia suddenly stopped export of sand and granite to Singapore, and the government woke up. They realised that we needed to reduce our dependence on imports and started looking at RCA seriously.

What started as a purely environmental notion of reusing waste therefore turned into an economic windfall for the company as Samwoh’s expertise allowed them to ride the wave of demand for RCA following the ban from Indonesia.

demolition waste

The foreground shows typical demolition waste. In the background, you can see the RCA

However, that was not all. Samwoh continued to push the boundaries by incorporating RCA into a building well beyond the 20% limit by international code of practice. To show their confidence in their research as well as they real-time monitoring systems, the Technical Director placed his office right where 100% RCA is used.

For more info on Samwoh, please visit:

For an interesting viewpoint of the en-bloc scheme from the affected families, read: The Sunday Times talks to families whose lives were changed by a collective sale

If you have any views, please feel free to comment!