Promoting Well-Being & Fostering a Diverse, Inclusive & Creative Space

Mr Nicholas Hu, Co-Founder & CEO of Build Built Pte Ltd (BuildBuilt)

BuildBuilt is one of the rare companies that has been very intentional about social sustainability, with a focus on employee health and well-being, diversity and inclusivity.


Looking After Employees’ Well-Being

To help BuildBuilt work smart and not just hard, Nicholas has been tabling the topic of burn-out at team meetings to make sure that everyone is conscious about this common phenomenon and can actively address it.

“I would hope that we all take care of our mental health, like how we take care of our physical health. And there’s no shame to say that we have a bruised mind -- the same unabashed way we say we have a bruised knee. Both conditions require care and healing,” Nicholas shares.

To battle mental bruises and burn-out in work environments, BuildBuilt has been:

  • ensuring that the nature of work is inherently challenging, yet enjoyable
  • being creative with their work process and philosophy to allow for joyful work
  • maintaining constant formal and informal communication with team members through various mediums
  • offering a multitude of training and development platforms, and
  • providing a variety of growth opportunities.

They have recommended the above tips and elaborated more about burnout in their blogpost here. Given how almost every one of us would probably experience burnout at some point in our careers and lives, the perspectives in their article will hopefully provide some relief and support to fellow companies and people of all backgrounds.

Besides practicing the above, some of BuildBuilt’s ongoing initiatives for their employees include a quarterly Mental Well-Being Day, where all their staff go on compulsory leave to rest and unwind.

As they believe that leading an active lifestyle is key to mental wellness, Build Built also has an Active Lifestyle Fund, which employees can use for fitness classes.

Moving forward, BuildBuilt’s Community Manager is looking into a guide of therapists in Singapore that their employees can refer to, to further improve their mental well-being.


Personally, Nicholas believes that BuildBuilt’s success in fostering mental well-being amongst their staff has translated into their capacity to build spaces that improve their clients’ mental well-being.

Their interior designers consciously leverage natural elements like sunlight and incorporate biophilic elements like houseplants, which come together to create more conducive spaces for their clients to live and work in.

For spaces meant for children to live and play in, BuildBuilt’s designers also pay close attention to the colour wheel and how different colours stimulate children.

Bohemian Living Room by BuildBuilt

(Project by Farrah & Jane; Photography by Studio Mahogany)


Celebrating Females’ Exemplary Contributions to the Company

Looking into employee well-being has better enabled BuildBuilt to build spaces that look after their clients’ well-being. Similarly, they have found value in fostering a working environment where females and males are as equally valued for their contributions as possible.

As Nicholas attests, BuildBuilt’s female teammates have brought a lot of value to the team. They have gone above and beyond their jobscopes, often drawing compliments for their work from various project stakeholders.

Nicholas observed the following characteristics of BuildBuilt’s experienced female project managers:

  • generally higher level of emotional intelligence when dealing with people problems
  • empathy / relational
  • meticulous and organized
  • patient and slow to anger (calm)
  • a huge sense of responsibility and loyalty
  • nurturing

“Companies spend a great deal of time and money to train managers to possess these types of soft skills. It seems that women have a natural advantage in these key areas of work that bring about success to any company, big or small,” he adds.

Cover Graphic for BuildBuilt's International Women's Day Blogpost


Growing a Diverse Team

Zooming out onto the broader topic of employee diversity and inclusivity, Nicholas believes that a diverse team has a lot more potential than a homogenous one, provided that there is good leadership and clear standards for work and communication.

“We can compete on a global scale, we are open to multiple markets, our clients can receive a better design through a team with varied experiences. Learning from each other, daily, helps us to be a better person from a growth perspective as well.”

Having a team of various race, nationalities, religion and socio-cultural backgrounds has enabled the BuildBuilt family to be more exposed to different ways of thinking about work. They have become more open and aware of one another’s abilities, reinforcing the foundation for a holistic learning and working environment.

“The commercial impact on the frontlines are apparent,” Nicholas adds.

The Diverse BuildBuilt Team


Going beyond to give back to the community

Beyond advancing social sustainability internally, BuildBuilt has taken a step further to give back to the community. Partnering with Habitat for Humanity Singapore (HFHSG), BuildBuilt endeavours to make a comfortable and safe home a right for all, especially the vulnerable in Asia-Pacific.

Towards this mission, BuildBuilt dedicated half of their Design & Build Guide proceeds to HFHSG from 2021, on top of existing financial commitments to them.

Looking ahead

As COVID-19 measures ease up, the BuildBuilt team is excited to get their boots on the ground and volunteer with the HFHSG team on some construction projects. Through their collaborations with HFHSG, BuildBuilt hopes to create a better future for the marginalised among our community.

BuildBuilt is also developing a New Homeowners’ Guide and is in the process of incorporating sustainability into it. When complete, the guide will include a brief of some key sustainability certifications and more sustainable products and supplier brands which new homeowners can look out for.

Shelf with some surfaces that are more sustainable, which will be included in the Sustainability Section of BuildBuilt’s New Homeowners’ Guide

Complementary to their New Homeowners’ Guide, BuildBuilt will be creating a corner in their Materials Library for clients to easily identify and choose from more sustainable materials.

Part of BuildBuilt’s Materials Library, where they plan to include a sustainable materials corner

The BuildBuilt team looks forward to exploring other aspects of holistic corporate sustainability!


A BuildBuilt Open-Concept Kitchen Project

Designer: Nadia Shihan @madeinspaces
Project Manager: Eleanor Toh
Photography by: 

Introduction to BuildBuilt

We are a design & build company with a twist. We promote the design and planning process, and we prioritize our client’s experience by creating authentic relationships and by engineering transparent processes… all while maintaining a professional output! Our team is made up of inquisitive designers, and creative project managers, and more! The work culture that we have is trying to move from ‘me’ to ‘we’.


Type of Furniture Company: Contract Manufacturing & Design

Specialisation: Home Furnishing



  • Employee health & well-being, consumer health & well-being, diversity and inclusivity



Environmental Initiatives:

  • Reduction of single-use waste in the office:
    • Uses a reusable jug and cups to serve their guests water
    • Uses digital namecards by Bumpp (free)

BuildBuilt’s Meeting Room, which offers guests water in reusable jug and cups

Social Initiatives:

  • Financially supports local charity Habitat for Humanity Singapore, which includes channelling half of their income from their Design & Build Guide fee to them (read more here)
  • Covers the topic of mental well-being and fairer work evaluation for employees in this article & other blogposts like this
  • Highlights the importance of female employees in this blogpost
  • Highlights the importance of a diverse group of employees in this blogpost

Part of the BuildBuilt Team’s Female Employees

Future Plans for Environmental Sustainability:

  • Incorporate sustainability into the New Homeowners’ Guide that they are developing
    • Including a brief of some key sustainability certifications and more sustainable products and supplier brands which their potential clients can look out for
  • Dedicate a corner in their Materials Library (sample showroom) to more sustainable materials, for clients to easily identify and choose from

This article extracts and combines key sustainability-related perspectives from BuildBuilt’s various musings on their blog. All photos are courtesy of BuildBuilt. All photos are courtesy of BuildBuilt.