Tag Archives: Samsung C&T Corporation

Project delays caused by tighter rules on foreign workers

Singapore’s construction industry is suffering from late payments and project delays, as contractors are squeezed by higher operating costs and the government’s curb on foreign workforce, according to media reports.

“Construction demand is expected to continue with many big projects such as the MRT line extensions, Changi Airport expansion, but a shortage of workers means projects may cost more and take longer to complete,” said KPMG Singapore Partner for the building sector, Teo Han Jo.

In fact, more than half of the payment transactions in the sector were overdue in the second quarter, with the incidence of late payments increasing by 3.8 percentage points to 51.4 percent, revealed the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau (SCCB).

Payments are considered late when over half of the amount owed is not satisfied on time, while prompt payments are made when at least 90 percent of the total amount is paid on the stipulated date.

But one of the most pressing issues for construction companies are the high levies on foreign workers. In fact, the operation of a subcontractor working on Downtown Line 3′s Upper Changi Station has been disrupted when it failed to pay such fees on three instances due to cashflow problems.

“Works on the DTL3 (Downtown Line 3) Upper Changi Station are progressing as normal. The sub-contractor . . . has foreign worker levy arrears and the main contractor, Samsung C&T Corporation, is in the process of taking over (its) workers. There is no impact to the schedule of the project,” a representative from the Land Transport Authority (LTA) said.

Despite these issues, the prospect of the construction industry appears promising due to the substantial number of projects in the long-term pipeline, particularly government infrastructure developments, noted Teo.

“Government agencies are also placing more emphasis on quality rather than just prices when awarding projects. The net effect of this for the construction industry is good over the longer term, as it raises overall quality and helps construction companies maintain healthy margins,” she added.

Record number of firms to receive BCA awards

A record number of 24 construction firms will receive the BCA Green and Gracious Builder Award this year.

Among them, 18 builders join the ranks for the first time and six have been re-certified to higher ratings under the Green and Gracious Builders scheme.

Five of the top seven winners – Hexacon Construction, Ho Lee Construction, Samsung C&T Corporation, Sembawang Engineers and Constructors and Ssangyong Engineering & Construction Co. – were previously awarded ‘Merit’ and ‘Excellent’ ratings.

They now meet the higher criteria during re-certification to clinch the ‘Star’ rating.

Lend Lease Pharmaceutical Asia and Lend Lease Singapore are the other two firms in the top tier.

Ho Lee Construction is one of the builders specialising in public housing projects to have clinched the ‘Star’ award.

It has put in place a strategic Earth Control Measure Plan on site to reduce soil erosion from exposed earth surfaces.

The company also ensures that used water is treated and recycled for non-potable consumption such as flushing of toilets, washing of vehicle wheels and watering plants.

Another ‘Star’ award winner, Sembawang Engineers and Constructors, has also adopted good earth control measures by using coir logs, which are made of interwoven coconut fibres and biodegradable netting, at the bottom of slopes to prevent erosion.

Its office is also paperless, with staff making use of electronic gadgets such as the iPad for inspection, incident reporting and for the submission of photographic evidences.

The winners will receive their awards at the BCA Awards ceremony on Thursday.

The Green and Gracious Builder Award was introduced in 2009 as part of the Building & Construction Authority’s efforts to promote sustainability, environmental protection and considerate practices during the construction of a development.

Source : CNA – 2012 May 23