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Sato Kogyo: Total project excellence

Article - March 13, 2023

With 160 years of history, Sato Kogyo continues to provide top-quality construction not only in Japan, but also in Singapore and other Southeast Asian countries.


“Based on our guiding philosophy of ‘total project excellence’, we strive to enhance customer satisfaction, build safe, secure and comfortable spaces, and develop high-quality social infrastructure.”

Hiroshi Heima, President, Sato Kogyo Co., Ltd.

A company that this year celebrates its 160th anniversary, Sato Kogyo is one of Japan’s leading construction contractors. Boasting eight branches across the country, as well as international offices in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Cambodia and Myanmar, the firm applies its guiding principle ‘total project excellence’ to a wide range of building and civil engineering projects both at home and abroad.

“We have significant experience in commercial and institutional buildings, and constructions for industrial sectors such as bioscience, pharmaceutical, aerospace, data centers and semiconductors,” Sato Kogyo President Hiroshi Heima says. “In civil engineering, we have a commendable record in infrastructure such as bridges, viaducts and tunnels. We’ve demonstrated our ability to deliver fast-track, large-scale, technically demanding and high-quality projects.”

Sato Kogyo’s growing global presence has seen its overseas business rise to about 25% of total sales volume. The company is particularly active in Singapore, where it began working half a century ago. “One of our competitive advantages in Singapore and other Southeast Asian markets is our 50-year history of business operation and our proven track record,” Mr. Heima says. “Thanks to our dedication to meeting the timeline and strong belief in completing projects successfully, we’ve gained the trust of our customers in Singapore and elsewhere in Southeast Asia.

“Our history in Singapore began with the Benjamin Sheares Bridge, the gateway to the center of the Singaporean business district, a unique and interesting bridge. We’ve had several bridge and viaduct projects in Singapore, and have built around 10% of the total length and stations of the city-state’s Mass Rapid Transit rail network. Meanwhile, one of our prized projects is probably the data centers we built for an American IT company in the west of Singapore. The first building was completed in 2013 and was followed by three more, with the final one completed in 2021, making this client the operator of the largest hyperscale data centers in Singapore.”

Sato Kogyo’s work in Singapore is prize-winning: in June 2022, the firm received the 5th Japan Construction International Award for the project that saw it build the Mass Rapid Transit Downtown Line 3, in addition to Bedok North Station, Mattar Station, Bencoolen Station and associated tunnels. At 43 meters below the surface, Bencoolen Station is the deepest underground station ever built in the country.

As it looks to the future, Sato Kogyo is stepping up its use of technologies such as building information modeling (BIM). This process is key to overcoming the growing shortfall in available skilled workers in Japan, caused by the country’s aging, declining population. “We’re working on shifting our reliance onto machinery and computerized systems instead of human engineering,” Mr. Heima explains. “In some projects, we use BIM to reduce required manpower on site.”

Opened in February this year, Sato Kogyo’s new Technology Center is central to this evolution. Fueled by renewable energy sources such as solar and geothermal power, the facility in Tsukuba also reflects the company’s commitment to sustainability. “Compared to typical buildings of the same scale, we’re running with only 22% of the energy that would otherwise be required,” Mr. Heima reveals.

In 2020, Sato Kogyo’s dedication to a greener future led it’s declaration as an ‘Eco-First’ company in collaboration with Japan’s Ministry of the Environment. “This declaration is raising awareness among our staff that they are a member of an environmentally advanced company,” Mr. Heima says. “Our ‘Eco-First’ targets are to contribute to a zero-carbon society by way of CO2 emission reduction, a recycling society by way of waste reduction and a symbiotic society by way of biodiversity conservation, and to promote environmentally friendly behavior by our staff.

“These targets will directly contribute to the achievement of the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals. Among the specific examples of our efforts are the utilization of hybrid-type construction machinery, by which we can reduce CO2 emissions at construction sites, and the implementation of environmentally friendly design concepts like zero-energy buildings and zero-energy housing, through which we can enhance energy-saving performance and reduce CO2.”