SINGAPORE: The builder of a viaduct that collapsed mid-construction, killing one worker and injuring 10 others, was fined S$10,000 on Tuesday (Jul 30).
Or Kim Peow Contractors went ahead with construction of a Pan Island Expressway (PIE) viaduct even though it had not gained approval for the proposed building works.
Executive director Or Lay Huat Daniel pleaded guilty on behalf of the company to one charge under the Building Control Act for carrying out works without approval. Another related charge under the act was taken into consideration for sentencing.
The court heard that Or Kim Peow Contractors was awarded a contract by the Land Transport Authority (LTA) in November 2015 to design and build a westbound viaduct from Tampines Expressway to the PIE and Upper Changi Road East.
Working on the project were: The company's project director Allen Yee Chee Keong, who supervised project manager Andy Chang Shih Shiung and construction manager Peter Loh; project engineer Wong Kiew Hai; and Robert Arianto Tjandra from CPG Consultants, who was appointed as the qualified person to prepare the plans of the building works for the project.
They worked on the viaduct which was to be about 1.8km long and consisted of eight flyovers - monolithic structures supported by columns and with expansion joints at each end of the flyover.
The design included permanent corbels - short reinforced concrete projections located at expansion joints to support the ends of flyovers and transfer parts of the vehicular loads to independent columns.
Tjandra submitted several applications to the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) for the approval of plans for building works between Nov 2016 and Jun 2017.
However, proposed building works for one such application deviated from the approved plans. Strengthening works to a permanent corbel at one of the viaduct piers, Pier 36, had not been approved, and the company was aware of this.
At around 3.30am on Jul 14, 2017, temporary structures at two piers of the viaduct gave way, and formwork supporting the concrete deck slab of the viaduct collapsed, killing one construction worker and injuring 10 others.
Investigations by the BCA showed that the permanent corbel at pier 36 was inadequate. Proposed building works deviated from the approved plans, and the builder was aware it did not gain the necessary approvals for the change before construction.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Yang Ziliang asked for a fine of at least S$10,000, which defence lawyer Deya Shankar Dubey agreed with.
The maximum penalty for carrying out unapproved building works is a fine of S$200,000, a two-year jail term, or both.
The company faces a third charge under the Workplace Safety and Health Act pertaining to the death of a worker and the injuries of 10 others. It will be contesting the charge in a trial that opens on Thursday.
The accredited checker in charge of the project was sentenced to six months' jail earlier this month. Other parties involved are set to claim trial.