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Singapore

New contractors appointed for 5 BTO projects delayed by pull-out of troubled firms

SINGAPORE: New companies have been appointed to take over the construction of five Build-to-Order (BTO) projects affected by the liquidation of their previous contractors, said the Housing and Development Board (HDB) on Wednesday (Sep 29). 

Construction work at all the project sites will resume progressively from early October. 

HDB said it is now able to "minimise the extent of delays" for flat buyers of the affected housing projects - Senja Ridges, Senja Heights, Sky Vista @ Bukit Batok, Marsiling Grove and West Coast Parkview.

"All five projects will be further delayed by about two to three months, due to the time needed to bring in the replacement contractors, and for them to mobilise their resources to take over and complete the projects," said the agency.

The replacement contractors and the revised probable completion dates of the five projects are as follows: 

Construction work at the five BTO projects has been suspended since Aug 20, after Greatearth Corp and Greatearth Construction informed HDB that they ran into financial difficulties and were unable to complete the projects despite government assistance.

On Wednesday, HDB said that over the past month, it has been working closely with Greatearth and their liquidators from PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Services to bring on board new contractors "as quickly as possible to complete the remaining works and reduce the impact on home buyers". 

To speed up the process, HDB said it helped in sourcing for several suitable contractors to take over the projects and worked with Greatearth and PwC to facilitate the transfer.

"This has enabled HDB to bring on board the new contractors within about a month, compared with the three to four months it would typically take to call a fresh tender for new contractors to take over the balance of works," it added. 

SELECTING THE REPLACEMENT CONTRACTORS 

Several factors were considered in selecting the replacement contractors, said HDB. This included their competency, track record, and ability to deliver on the projects.

"Only contractors who scored well in these criteria were considered, to ensure that they have the capabilities and resources to complete the projects without compromising safety and quality," said HDB. 

It added that a list of Greatearth’s subcontractors and material and product suppliers was also provided to the new contractors prior to them being appointed. 

This was so that they could work out suitable arrangements with the replacement contractors to remain on the projects and complete the remaining works. 

"This would also minimise disruption for subcontractors and suppliers, and bring the projects back on track more quickly," it added. 

HDB said it will continue to work closely with the new contractors and extend any help required to ensure a smooth handing-over and completion of the projects.

ASSISTING AFFECTED FLAT BUYERS

HDB said it has updated flat buyers of the five BTO projects about the appointment of the new contractors, as well as on the revised completion dates for their projects.

"We recognise and understand that the delays will affect flat buyers and further disrupt their life plans," it said. 

Affected flat buyers who are unable to find alternative interim housing arrangements with family members, relatives or on the open market, can apply for temporary housing under the Parenthood Provisional Housing Scheme if they are first-timers.

On a case-by-case basis, HDB will also offer Interim Rental Housing to low-income households with limited family support and without alternative housing options.

For those who decide to cancel their flat application to buy a resale flat, HDB said it will consider waiving the forfeiture and one-year wait-out period.

SUPPORT DURING PANDEMIC

In the release, HDB said that all its building contractors have been affected by the pandemic, though to different degrees depending on the financial strength of their companies. 

"To ensure that projects stay on track, HDB has been leaning forward to support our contractors, including rolling out an extensive suite of assistance measures to help ease their financial pressures." 

It added that given the prolonged impact of the pandemic, HDB has also been checking in regularly with its building contractors and consultants to address any problems early and offer help where necessary.

"We have also been engaging some of the key sub-contractors and suppliers of our BTO projects to widen our sources of feedback and pick up emerging problems early," HDB added. 

Source: CNA/ad(gs)

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