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BTO contractors with financial woes linked to other projects; NEA, LTA looking at minimising impact

BTO contractors with financial woes linked to other projects; NEA, LTA looking at minimising impact

Greatearth's office in Ang Mo Kio. (Photo: Neo Rong Wei)

SINGAPORE: The contractors that pulled out of five Build-to-Order (BTO) housing projects due to financial difficulties were involved in several other government projects, including a new crematorium complex at Mandai and a bus depot in Woodlands. 

The National Environment Agency (NEA) said it expects a delay in the completion date of the crematorium complex.

Both NEA and the Land Transport Authority (LTA) told CNA on Thursday (Aug 26) that they are looking at how to minimise the impact on their projects that involve contractors Greatearth Corporation and Greatearth Construction.

It was announced earlier on Thursday that the two contractors are unable to continue work on five BTO projects even with government assistance.

The two companies had informed the Housing and Development Board (HDB) last week about its financial woes. All work at the five sites has been suspended since Aug 20 and HDB said it is working with Greatearth to bring in new contractors for the remaining works.

This means further delays are likely at the affected BTO projects, whose completion dates were already pushed back due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

A check on the corporate website of Greatearth - a company founded in 1912 and has its core business in areas such as property development, engineering and construction - showed that it is also involved in at least five other local government projects.

Greatearth Construction was the main contractor for the new crematorium complex at Mandai, NEA said in its reply to CNA.

“With the change of main contractor, we expect that the new crematorium complex, which was originally expected to be completed by end-2022, to be delayed,” the spokesperson added.

“NEA will evaluate our options to mitigate the impact of the delay.”

CNA has asked NEA when the change in the main contractor was made and whether it had started the search for a replacement contractor.

A screengrab of Greatearth's website.

LTA said it is in discussion with Greatearth’s joint venture partner regarding the development of the Gali Batu Bus Depot in Woodlands.

The contract for the bus depot was awarded to the joint venture formed by Greatearth Corporation and Gamuda Berhad Singapore in November 2019.

When ready, the bus depot, which is in the vicinity of the Gali Batu MRT depot and bus terminal, will be able to accommodate around 500 buses with associated facilities to support the operator’s administrative and operational requirements.

“LTA is currently in discussion with Gamuda Berhad Singapore on how to ensure project continuity and minimise the impact on the depot’s completion timeline,” its spokesperson said. 

About 15 per cent of the project is completed, with full completion slated for around 2024.

“LTA will continue to monitor project progress closely,” the authority added.

Meanwhile, JTC has two projects that were awarded to joint ventures involving Greatearth Construction in 2019 and 2020.

These two projects involved the building of a key development and infrastructure works in Bulim, one of the precincts in the upcoming Jurong Innovation District.

JTC said “the partners in the joint ventures have agreed to take over and fulfil the contract commitments”.

“At this juncture, we do not foresee delays to the ongoing works resulting from Greatearth’s financial difficulties," its spokesperson added.

Source: CNA/sk(gs)

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