Monday, 30 October 2017

Post Technical Report, Draft #1

1 Introduction/background information

Singapore has implemented many measures to help people with disabilities integrate into the community in the last 13 years (Society for Physically Disabled, 2014). Visually impaired commuters travelling alone, however, are still having difficulties using public buses.
The two main problems faced by the visually impaired are knowing which buses are arriving at the bus stop and whether the buses that they are on have reached their destination (Singapore Association of the Visually Handicapped, 2017). Their predicament was reported by Spykerman (2016) - a visually impaired undergraduate had to alight many stops after her destination when the bus captain had forgotten to inform her and she had to wait for someone to assist her to go to the bus stop across the road to get to her destination.
Statistics on visual impairment in Singapore for gauging the extent of the problem is limited. An estimate derived using the study results of Wong et al. (2012) and the data from the Census of Population 2010 (Department of Statistics Singapore, 2011) showed that about 175,000 adults who are above 40 years old are visually impaired. This indicative number excludes children and adults below 40 years old. The number is likely to increase since "more people are at risk of age-related visual impairments as our population ages" (Ministry of Culture, Community and Youth, 2017).
The anticipated rise in visually impaired persons warrants attention to ensure they are able to board the right public bus and alight at the right stop every time and all the time when travelling by themselves.

2 Problem statement

Visually impaired commuters travelling alone often face challenges with boarding the right bus and alighting at their desired stop. Technology such as mobile phone applications and voice-operated technology can be implemented to alleviate the problem.

3 Purpose statement

This report proposes ideas to the Land Transport Authority with the aim to enhance the commute experiences of the visually impaired and encourage inclusivity in the design of public transportation system.
4 Proposed Solutions

To enhance the independent travelling of visual impaired commuters, our team has proposed two solutions, smart bus stop and mobile phone application. With smart technologies, visually impaired commuters are able to commute easily. Features and functions of these smart technologies will be discussed below.

4.1 Use of mobile application
4.1.1 Features and functions
Boarding
1.   Visually impaired at bus stop says his destination to the voice-based apps (different common languages and dialects).
2.   The apps taps on the bus information from the bus-stop to generate the recommended bus service based on fastest, cheapest and most direct which the visually impaired would choose.
3.   The visually impaired would be alerted by the apps through voice (and even vibration if selected) when the desired bus is approaching.
4.   The bus captain will also be alerted of a visually impaired passenger at the next stop through his dashboard.
5.   The bus captain would alight at the bus stop to assist the visually impaired with boarding if there no one else to assist the latter.

Alighting
1.   Both the visually impaired and the bus captain would be alerted again (through their respective channels) when the bus is reaching the desired stop based on the computation by the apps using location positioning technology.
2.   The bus captain would render assistance again as needed.


4.2 Smart bus stop
4.2.1 Features and functions
The smart features of bus stop include user interactive panel located in the bus shelter (see appendix A) and LED display screen installed on the bus stop pole (see appendix B). The interactive panel is a touchscreen LCD display monitor, which have both bus flagging and journey planner capabilities. The LED display screen informs the bus captain of the flag down bus that a visually impaired commuter is ready to board the bus.

For bus flagging function, user will be able to make selection of the bus services through tapping of the icon on the interactive panel. Once selection has been made, the interactive panel will prompt for a confirmation where the user would then tap the SG Enabled concession card on the card reader to confirm their choice.

Upon confirmation of the authenticity of visually impaired commuter, the audio speaker will sound off the selected bus service and the timing that the bus would take to arrive at the bus stop. Concurrently, the system will send the user’s selected choice to the LED display screen, where the bus number, together with an icon of visually handicapped person, will be flashed. This would inform the bus captain of the selected bus service to know that a visually impaired commuter would be boarding the bus, allowing him/her to render any assistance, if required.
Once the selected bus service arrives at the bus stop, the audio speaker will sound off the bus service number loud and clear that it has reached, informing the visually impaired commuter to get ready to board the bus i.e. “Bus 858 arrived, board the bus now.” Once the bus left the bus bay, the LED display will be updated again.

The lower part of the smart board shows the bus services information in braille, allowing the visually impaired commuters to find out the bus services available at the bus stop.

For journey planner function, the user is able to plan their journey to their destination via the shortest travelling time. The user first selects the journey planner application. When the interactive panel prompt for their destination, a button is pressed on the voice recognition microphone and the user will speak the destination into the system. The planner would then display and tell the user the shortest travelling route.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Reader Response (Draft 3)

Use of Cladding in Buildings Here Have Grown in Recent Times: Reader Response

In the article “Use of Cladding in Buildings Here Have Grown in Recent Times”, Mokhtar (2017) reports the increasing use of cladding in Singapore and its benefits and risks. Cladding, a layer of panels added to the facade of buildings, is gaining popularity as it can cut energy use, improve building appearance or provide shade. The use of cladding, however, is being scrutinized after the fatal Grenfell Tower fire tragedy. The ventilation gaps between the cladding and the building’s walls cause fire to spread upwards rapidly, drawing fresh air from the bottom of the facade and fuelling the fire. In Singapore, use of cladding is regulated. For example, the article states that cladding material must not allow fire to spread along its surface when ignited, known as the Class '0' standard. It also reports that besides meeting statutory regulations, a building owner has included fire stops to prevent fire spread and regular certification of fire protection systems. Cladding is useful, but its associated risks need to be mitigated. Cladding used must meet applicable safety standards and certified practices to minimize fire risk.

It is important to use cladding that comply with fire safety requirements. The Building Research Establishment, on behalf of the British government, conducted a fire safety test using a replica of the Grenfell Tower cladding system. Although vertical and horizontal fire stops were included, the cladding system comprising "aluminium panels with a combustible polyethylene plastic core and combustible PIR plastic foam insulation" still burnt (Mairs, 2017). The test proved that the cladding did not meet regulatory guidelines and would not have been used if it has been tested.

Singapore also has cladding that does not meet standards. On 4 May 2017, a life was lost in a fire confined mainly to the facade of an industrial building. Subsequently, Minister for Home Affairs, Mr K. Shanmugam, revealed that, as of 8 September 2017, cladding of 15 buildings does not meet the Class '0' standard (Ministry of Home Affairs, 2017). Preliminary investigations pointed to the sole supplier of the panels used. Two models of panels were mixed together during storage; one model meets the Class '0' standard while the other does not. Mr K. Shanmugam said that the model that does not meet standard "may have, at times, been supplied for use on external walls". He added that, panels that supposedly met the standard were found to be "not of uniform quality; some met the standard, but others did not". He explained that sampling method is used as it is not possible to subject all panels to the destructive test. Ong (2017), citing Singapore Civil Defence Force, reports that cladding is required to be tested yearly.

Our current fire safety practices need to and can be improved to better ensure cladding used meet standards. Firstly, besides ensuring cladding meet standards, the certification process has to ensure different cladding models can be identified easily with proper handling procedures implemented to prevent mix up. Secondly, sampling tests need to be stricter with tests conducted by production batch instead of yearly to better ensure the quality of cladding. Lastly, on-site inspections can be more thorough to lower the risk of incorrect cladding being installed. With all these changes, the quality of cladding used is better ensured.

The dire consequences of using sub-standard cladding are evident from the two tragedies. The UK fire showed the inadequacy of relying solely on the stipulation of stringent standards; preventative measures can also do little when sub-standard cladding is used. Quality assurance of cladding is crucial to minimize fire risk.

References

Mairs, J. (2017, July 28). Fire safety test shows Grenfell Tower's cladding system was "an absolute failure". Retrieved from https://www.dezeen.com/2017/07/28/grenfell-tower-aluminium-cosposite-cladding-amc-passes-bre-fire-safety-test-news/

Ministry of Home Affairs. (2017, 11 September). Oral Reply to Parliamentary Questions on Cladding by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law. (2017, September 24). Retrieved from https://www.mha.gov.sg/Newsroom/in-parliament/oral-replies-to-pqs/Pages/Oral-Reply-to-Parliamentary-Questions-on-Cladding.aspx

Mokhtar, F. (2017, June 17). Use of Cladding in Buildings Here Have Grown in Recent Times. Retrieved from http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/use-cladding-buildings-here-have-grown-recent-times-experts

Ng, J. S. (2017, September 5). Outer Cladding of 24 buildings fails checks. Retrieved from http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/housing/outer-cladding-of-24-buildings-fails-checks

Ong, J. (2017, June 28). Guarding against a Grenfell-like disaster in Singapore. Retrieved from http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/guarding-against-a-grenfell-like-disaster-in-singapore-8985482


Sunday, 1 October 2017

Reader Response (Draft 2)

Use of Cladding in Buildings Here Have Grown in Recent Times: Reader Response

In the article “Use of Cladding in Buildings Here Have Grown in Recent Times”, Mokhtar (2017) reports the increasing use of cladding in Singapore and its benefits and risks. Cladding, a layer of panels added to the exterior facade of buildings, is gaining popularity as it can cut energy use, improve building appearance or provide shade. The use of cladding, however, has come under the limelight after the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy. The ventilation gaps between the cladding and the building’s wall cause fire to spread upwards rapidly, drawing fresh oxygenated air from the bottom of the facade and fueling the fire. In Singapore, the use of cladding is regulated. For example, cladding material must not allow fire to spread along its surface when ignited, known as the Class '0' standard. Besides meeting statutory regulations, a building owner was cited to have included fire stops to prevent fire from spreading between levels and regular certification of fire protection systems. Cladding is useful, but its associated risks need to be mitigated – cladding materials must meet safety standards to minimize fire risk.

The importance of using materials that comply with fire safety requirements was demonstrated by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), United Kingdom (UK). BRE, on behalf of the British government, conducted a fire safety test using a replica of the Grenfell Tower cladding system. Despite the inclusion of vertical and horizontal fire stops, the cladding system comprising "aluminium panels with a combustible polyethylene plastic core and combustible PIR plastic foam insulation" still burnt (Mairs, 2017). The test proved that the composite material does not meet regulatory guidelines. It also triggered the remark that the material would not have been used if it was tested before installation.

In Singapore on 4 May 2017, a fire confined mainly to the facade of an industrial building has claimed a life. Subsequently, Minister for Home Affairs, Mr K. Shanmugam, revealed in Parliament that, as of 8 September 2017, 15 buildings have cladding that does not meet the Class '0' standard (Ministry of Home Affairs, 2017). Preliminary investigations pointed to the sole supplier of the composite panels used. Two models of panels were mixed together at the warehouse; one model meets the Class '0' standard while the other does not. Mr K. Shanmugam said that the model that does not meet standard "may have, at times, been supplied for use on external walls". He added that, panels that supposedly met the standard were found to be "not of uniform quality; some met the standard, but others did not". He explained that sampling method is used as it is not possible to subject all panels to the destructive test. Ong (2017), citing Singapore Civil Defence Force, reports that cladding materials are required to be tested annually.

The dire consequences of using sub-standard materials are evident from the two tragedies. The UK fire showed that it is inadequate to just rely on the stipulation of stringent fire safety standards to mitigate fire risk. Locally, our current fire safety practices need to and can be improved. Firstly, besides ensuring products meet standards, the accreditation process needs to ensure different product models can be identified easily with proper handling procedures implemented to prevent mix up. Secondly, sampling tests need to be stricter with tests carried out by production batch instead of annually to better ensure the quality of cladding material. Lastly, on-site inspections can be more thorough to lower the chance of incorrect materials being installed. With all these changes, the quality of cladding materials used is better ensured which contribute to reduced fire risk.

References

Mairs, J. (2017, July 28). Fire safety test shows Grenfell Tower's cladding system was "an absolute failure". Retrieved from https://www.dezeen.com/2017/07/28/grenfell-tower-aluminium-cosposite-cladding-amc-passes-bre-fire-safety-test-news/

Ong, J. (2017, June 28). Guarding against a Grenfell-like disaster in Singapore. Retrieved from http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/guarding-against-a-grenfell-like-disaster-in-singapore-8985482

Oral Reply to Parliamentary Questions on Cladding by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law. (2017, September 24). Retrieved from https://www.mha.gov.sg/Newsroom/in-parliament/oral-replies-to-pqs/Pages/Oral-Reply-to-Parliamentary-Questions-on-Cladding.aspx


Mokhtar, F. (2017, June 17). Use of Cladding in Buildings Here Have Grown in Recent Times. Retrieved from http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/use-cladding-buildings-here-have-grown-recent-times-experts

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Reader Response (Draft 1)

Use of Cladding in Buildings Here Have Grown in Recent Times: Reader Response

In the article “Use of Cladding in Buildings Here Have Grown in Recent Times”, Mokhtar (2017) reports the increasing use of cladding in Singapore and its benefits and risks. Cladding is a layer of panels added to the exterior facade of buildings to cut energy use, improve building appearance or provide shade. The use of cladding, however, came under the limelight after the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy. The ventilation gaps between the cladding and the building’s wall cause fire to spread upwards rapidly, drawing fresh oxygenated air from the bottom of the facade and fueling the fire. In Singapore, the use of cladding is regulated. For example, cladding material must not allow fire to spread along its surface when ignited, known as the Class '0' standard. Besides meeting statutory regulations, a building owner was cited to have included fire stops to prevent fire from spreading between levels and regular certification of fire protection systems. Cladding is useful, but its associated risks need to be mitigated – cladding materials must meet safety standards to minimize fire risk.

The importance of using materials that comply with fire safety requirements was demonstrated by the Building Research Establishment (BRE), United Kingdom (UK). BRE, on behalf of the British government, conducted a fire safety test using a replica of the Grenfell Tower cladding system. Despite the inclusion of vertical and horizontal fire stops, the cladding system comprising "aluminium panels with a combustible polyethylene plastic core and combustible PIR plastic foam insulation" still burnt (Mairs, 2017). The test proved that the composite material does not meet regulatory guidelines. It also triggered the remark that the material would not have been used if it was tested before installation.

In Singapore on 4 May 2017, a fire confined mainly to the facade of an industrial building claimed a life. Subsequently, Minister for Home Affairs, Mr K. Shanmugam, revealed in Parliament that, as of 8 September 2017, 15 buildings have cladding that does not meet the Class '0' standard (Ministry of Home Affairs, 2017). Preliminary investigations pointed to the sole supplier of the composite panels used. Two models of panels were mixed together at the warehouse; one model meets the Class '0' standard while the other does not. Mr K. Shanmugam said that the model that does not meet standard "may have, at times, been supplied for use on external walls". He added that, panels that supposedly meet the standard were found to be "not of uniform quality; some met the standard, but others did not". He explained that sampling method is used as it is not possible to subject all panels to the destructive test. Ong (2017), citing Singapore Civil Defence Force, reports that cladding materials are required to be tested annually.

The dire consequences of using sub-standard materials are evident from the two tragedies. The UK fire showed that it is inadequate to just rely on the stipulation of stringent fire safety standards to mitigate fire risk. Locally, our current fire safety practices need to and can be improved. Firstly, besides ensuring products meet standards, the accreditation process needs to ensure different product models can be identified easily with proper handling procedures implemented to prevent mix up. Secondly, sampling tests need to be stricter with tests carried out by production batch instead of annually to better ensure the quality of cladding material. Lastly, on-site inspections can be more thorough to lower the chance of incorrect materials being installed. With all these changes, the quality of cladding materials used is better ensured which contribute to reduced fire risk.

References

Fire safety test shows Grenfell Tower's cladding system was "an absolute failure". Dezeen. Retrieved, September 23, 2017 from https://www.dezeen.com/2017/07/28/grenfell-tower-aluminium-cosposite-cladding-amc-passes-bre-fire-safety-test-news/

Guarding against a Grenfell-like disaster in Singapore. Channel NewsAsia. Retrieved, September 23, 2017 from http://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/guarding-against-a-grenfell-like-disaster-in-singapore-8985482

Oral Reply to Parliamentary Questions on Cladding by Mr K Shanmugam, Minister for Home Affairs and Minister for Law. Ministry of Home Affairs. Retrieved, September 24, 2017 from https://www.mha.gov.sg/Newsroom/in-parliament/oral-replies-to-pqs/Pages/Oral-Reply-to-Parliamentary-Questions-on-Cladding.aspx

Use of Cladding in Buildings Here Have Grown in Recent Times. (2017). Today Online. Retrieved, September 18, 2017 from http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/use-cladding-buildings-here-have-grown-recent-times-experts

Sunday, 24 September 2017

Summary - Draft 1 (Cladding)

In the article “Use of Cladding in Buildings Here Have Grown in Recent Times”, Mokhtar (2017) reports the increasing use of cladding in Singapore and its benefits and risks. Cladding is a layer of panels added to the exterior facade of buildings to cut energy use, improve building appearance or provide shade. The use of cladding, however, came under the limelight after the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy. The ventilation gaps between the cladding and the building’s wall cause the fire to spread upwards rapidly, drawing oxygenated air from the bottom of the facade and fueling the fire. In Singapore, the use of cladding is regulated. For example, cladding material must not allow fire to spread along its surface when ignited. Besides meeting statutory regulations, a building owner was cited to have included measures to prevent fire from spreading between levels and regular certification of fire protection systems. Cladding has its usefulness, but its associated risks need to be mitigated – cladding materials must meet safety requirements to minimize fire risk.

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Self-Introduction

To: Professor Brad Blackstone

Senior Lecturer
Centre for Communication Skills
Singapore Institute of Technology @ Dover
10 Dover Drive
Singapore 138683

Date: 10 September 2017

Subject: Self-Introduction

Dear Professor Blackstone,

My name is Jasson Juay Wei Sheng and I am writing to introduce myself as a student in your class. I have graduated from Ngee Ann Polytechnic with a diploma in environmental and water technology in 2015. During my course of study in the polytechnic, I began to grow interest in green energy and the build environment sector. Hence, I decided to further my studies in the sustainable infrastructure engineering (Building Services) programme.

Strength and Weakness

As I reflect on my strength, I believe that I am a good listener. During group projects, I am able to listen attentively to what my friends have to say. This enables them to voice out their chain of thoughts, without any interruption midway through the speech. I would only voice out when they are done, so that I could respond to it appropriately.

As for my weakness, it would be my poor ability to write well. When it comes to written assignments, inclusive of this self-introduction task, I have a tendency to take a long duration to write them. This is due to my incapability to organise and process the thoughts fast and well.

Goals for the module

What I hope to achieve from this module is to improve on my weakness and further hone my strength, so that I can improve on my communication skills. With better communication skills, I would be able to engage in meaningful discussions and develop relationships with others. As such, I look forward to learning more about effective communication from you in the coming classes.

Best regards,
Jasson Juay
SIE 2016 (Group 5)

Edited on 11 September
Edited on 12 September
Edited on 20 September
Edited on 23 September

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