Woodlands pilot to allow more flexible use of industrial space

In response to demand for more flexible use of industrial space, the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA) and JTC will be piloting new land use guidelines at a multi-tenanted building to be developed by JTC and located within Woodlands North Coast on a site zoned Business 1-White.

The Woodlands pilot development will support manufacturing companies in co-locating their service-driven activities like R&D and after-sales support alongside their manufacturing operations. Companies that have offshored their lower value-added activities can also maintain their more knowledge-intensive activities here, while retaining close oversight of their operations overseas.

In addition, a wider range of uses will be allowed within the Business 1 component, including industrial-related uses that are closely linked to or provide critical support for the industrial sector. For example, engineering and industrial design activities that are currently not allowed in an industrial development would be allowed in the Woodlands pilot development, given that these activities play a key role in the manufacturing value chain.

Clear-cut commercial and other non-industrial activities will continue to be disallowed within the Business 1 component. For example, commercial uses such as accountancy firms, insurance companies, property consultancy companies, maid agencies, travel agencies, and tuition centres will not be supported in the Business 1 component. If such uses are proposed, they would have to be within the White component of the pilot development.

Given the constraints of land in Singapore, the Government has always safeguarded for industrial activities through land use zoning1. However, we recognize that business structures and needs are evolving. More manufacturing companies are shifting their business models from production-led to service-driven activities, or agglomerating their functions across value chains – some are growing their R&D, prototyping, sales/after-sales and other “services”-type activities, and do so alongside their core manufacturing activities so that all functions across their product development cycle are well-integrated.

This is why over the years, URA has progressively updated and revised its industrial land policies. In the 1990s, URA introduced the Business Park zone to better integrate manufacturing with knowledge-intensive activities. In the 2000s, URA introduced e-business and media guidelines (which were further updated in 2014) to better cater to IT and media-related business activities. Zones like Business Park-White and Business-White were also introduced in 2001 and 2003 to provide greater flexibility to combine industrial uses with other compatible uses such as commercial activities. Hence, the existing guidelines already provide flexibility for companies to carry out a range of production, assembly, and warehouse functions, including Industry 4.0 technologies and processes such as autonomous robots, big data and analytics, additive manufacturing, as well as horizontal and vertical system integration.

This pilot represents a continuation of the efforts to respond to changing industry needs. The government will closely monitor the market receptiveness and feedback for the pilot and study the applicability of various features to other locations. Meanwhile, it will also continue to review land use policies for industrial zones to ensure they remain relevant, taking into consideration trends in the manufacturing sector, other emerging sectors, as well as the needs of industrialists.