But although the Government strongly encourages contractors to be more productive, those who need more foreign workers to complete their projects can still apply for higher manpower quotas.
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Here is the oral answer by Ministry of National Development on flat construction in today's Parliament:
Mr Gan Thiam Poh: To ask the Minister for National Development:
- How many HDB main contractors have been levied liquidated damages for job delays in the past two years;
- How many time extensions, if any, have been given to main contractors who are affected by the tightening of foreign workers in the past two years without liquidated damages being levied; and
- What measures has the Ministry taken to ensure that there is no compromise in quality, safety and workmanship in the construction of HDB flats in view of the tightening of foreign workers and strict timelines.
Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee's answer:
Over the past two years, HDB has granted 36 projects some form of time extension. The reasons for such time extensions include changes in design beyond contractors' control, or exceptionally inclement weather. Of these, liquidated damages were levied on 6 contractors for delays in 7 projects, due to various reasons such as poor project planning, coordination and execution.
HDB has a robust system in place to ensure quality, safety and workmanship at all stages in the construction of HDB flats. For example, before construction, HDB sets the required quality standard based on construction of sample units. During construction, HDB conducts audits to ensure that the work is carried out according to the design specifications and up to standard.
In addition, HDB adopts the Construction Quality Assessment System (CONQUAS) as an independent benchmark of construction quality. Over the years, HDB's CONQUAS scores have been rising, reflecting the higher quality of flats built.
HDB will continue to maintain quality, safety and workmanship in the construction of HDB flats. At the same time, we continue to encourage our contractors to adopt greater mechanisation and more productive methods of construction to reduce their reliance on foreign workers.