Contractor and 5 others charged over PIE viaduct collapse at Upper Changi Road East

Contractor and 5 others charged over PIE viaduct collapse at Upper Changi Road East

Construction company Or Kim Peow (OKP) Contractors and five individuals were on Wednesday (May 30) charged for their role in last year's collapse of an incomplete PIE viaduct in Upper Changi. Kamini Devadass with more.

SINGAPORE: Construction company Or Kim Peow (OKP) Contractors and five individuals were on Wednesday (May 30) charged for their role in last year's collapse of an incomplete PIE viaduct in Upper Changi.

The home-grown company, its executive director Or Toh Wat, project engineer Wong Kiew Hai, project director Yee Chee Keong, professional engineer from CPG Consultants Robert Arianto Tjandra, and accredited checker from another company Leong Sow Hon were accused of several offences under the Building Control Act and the Workplace, Safety and Health Act. 

All of them were represented in court.

Chinese national Chen Yinchuan, 31, was killed in the Jul 14 incident while 10 others were hurt. 

A multi-agency probe into the collapse found that corbels - brackets that help support beams - had given way. Cracks were also found in the areas supporting 11 other parts of the viaduct.

The charges faced by the company include failing to conduct an adequate risk assessment of the corbels when it became aware of cracks that appeared on them and failing to stop all works that were taking place on the viaduct section where fresh cracks had appeared. Or, 50, faced similar charges. 

In addition, Or was charged with carrying out unauthorised strengthening works without the approval of the Commissioner of Building Control.

Tjandra, 44, Wong, 30, and Yee, 48, were charged with "recklessly doing an act which endangered the safety of others". 

Tjandra, a qualified person engaged to design the viaduct and supervise the carrying out of the building works for the construction, was charged with putting up structural plans without checking on the design assumptions made for the corbels that cracked and omitting to carry out the necessary remedial works to rectify the inadequate design. He faces five charges.

Wong and Yee allegedly failed to stop all works on the viaduct section when they discovered cracks on the corbels of piers that were supporting a viaduct section. Yee faces three charges while Wong faces two. 

Tjandra was offered a bail of S$15,000 while Wong and Yee were offered S$20,000 bail.

Leong, 60, was charged with failing to evaluate, analyse and review the structural design in the plans and perform original calculations for the permanent corbels.

OKP Contractors was awarded the project despite being assessed to have a “low performance score”, it was revealed in Parliament in August last year. Just days before the accident the contractor had been convicted over a separate fatality at another work site in 2015.

As OKP has been previously convicted, it faces a maximum fine of S$1 million. Leong faces a fine of up to S$100,000, up to two years in jail or both, while the other four individuals face a maximum fine of S$200,000, up to two years in jail, or both. 

In a media statement on Wednesday, the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said it will be studying its options carefully and reviewing the viaduct project with OKP. The project was scheduled for completion in 2020.

LTA viaduct
Diagram of viaduct and photo of crossheads. (Photo: LTA) 

LTA said it has appointed an independent professional engineer to assess the structural integrity of the viaduct under construction.

"Any other sections, which are assessed to be unsafe by the independent professional engineer will be demolished," LTA said.

It added that all the crossheads will be demolished as a safety precaution following the earlier discovery of cracks on corbels at the incident site.

"After the accident, propping was extended to the parts of the viaduct where cracks were discovered at the corbel area. This was to ensure that there would be no safety risks," an LTA spokesperson said in a follow-up statement clarifying the scope of the demolition work.

"Since the accident, there has been a stop-work order on the viaduct. The demolition works will commence after the necessary approvals to proceed with the works have been obtained from the relevant authorities," the LTA spokesperson added.

Source: CNA/aa

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