With increasing competition for land usage in Singapore, there is a need for more extensive use of underground space in Singapore, which can help to free up more surface land for other better usage. An Underground Master Plan Task Force was formed by the Ministry of National Development with active participation from key government agencies together with the planners to formulate a Master plan and also to develop guidelines on the use of underground spaces. In view of the need to better study the potential of deep underground developments, the Singapore Geological Office (currently renamed as the Geological and Underground Projects Department) was set up within Building Construction Authority (BCA) to investigate the country's geology and identify sites which are suitable for such developments. The first part of the paper covers how the Geological Office plans and conducts the geological investigation works. The second part of the paper discusses the geosurvey results, especially the variability of the rock mass properties in one particular area revealed from the investigation works. Finally, the paper demonstrates how the variability and uncertainty of the rock mass can be accounted for using a probabilistic approach for assessment, and the results would provide a better insight of the areas suitable for cavern.
As Singapore has a land area of only 710km2, there is greater need to look into utilisation of underground space and this has become an integral part of Singapore's strategy for space creation in the future with the ever-increasing competition for land use in this small island state. The Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore (URA) has hence put forth the creation of underground rock cavern as one of the land optimising approaches in their underground masterplan. Ever since Brown raised the potentiality of having underground spaces to be built in Singapore in 1989 (Zhou & Cai, 2011), many deep underground feasibility studies have been conducted. To date, Singapore has successfully constructed the Underground Ammunition Facility (UAF) in 2008, which freed up 300 hectares of land above ground for other use (Wan, 2015), as well as South-East Asia's first commercial underground liquid hydrocarbon storage facility at Jurong Island (i.e. Jurong Rock Caverns) built in 2014 and it free up 60 hectares of usable land above ground (Chia, 2014).
Adding to the list of activities and development on deep underground space in Singapore since 1990 (Lui, Zhao and Zhou, 2013), the Building and Construction Authority of Singapore (BCA) set up the Singapore Geological Office (currently renamed as the Geological and Underground Projects Department (GUPD)) to investigate and identify the country's deep geology characteristics and identify sites suitable for such developments to support URA's development of the underground masterplan (Lim, 2018).