Stalling of govt building projects uncommon

Stalling of govt building projects uncommon
The Braddell Road widening project was just one of three - out of more than a thousand the LTA awarded in the last 10 years - that stalled.

About three quarters of the 590 government infrastructure projects worth above $10 million between 2012 and last year went to the lowest bidders.

But the number of projects which became unviable because of financial difficulties or other reasons remains low, said Senior Minister of State for National Development Lee Yi Shyan yesterday.

"For instance, LTA (Land Transport Authority) awarded in the last 10 years more than a thousand projects, but there were only three that stalled," he said, responding to Non-Constituency MP Yee Jenn Jong in Parliament.

One such project was the $29 million contract to widen the stretch of Braddell Road between Toa Payoh Lorong 1 and the Braddell flyover, which was awarded to home-grown contractor Hexagroup in late 2012.

While this was scheduled to be completed by the end of this year, work has come to a halt and the project would likely be finished next year instead.

In all, the Government awarded about $43.5 billion worth of construction projects between 2012 and last year, said Mr Lee.

When Mr Yee asked if building productivity methods were taken into account when awarding a tender, Mr Lee said: "All government projects which exceed the value of $10 million each are evaluated under the Price-Quality Method, where the productivity of building method would be taken into consideration for the award."

The weighting of productivity depends on how complicated a project is, he added.

In simple projects, the weighting for quality and productivity is about 20 per cent, he said.

"In a design-and-build project, there's a lot more complication. Then, the quality weighting is higher at 40 per cent."

Asked about incentives for contractors to adopt more productive methods for public projects, Mr Lee said that this is the emphasis of a committee to raise productivity in the construction sector.

Mr Lee, who chairs this committee, which is called the Construction Productivity Steering Committee, said: "Obviously we're very interested in the subject and we want to achieve bigger improvements in the years to come."

This article was first published on February 13, 2015.
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