Condo owner wins suit over flooding against neighbour

PHOTO: Condo owner wins suit over flooding against neighbour

The owner of The Luxe condominium off Orchard Road has won its lawsuit against the owner of neighbouring condo Nomu and its contractor over a flooding incident in 2008.

The amount of damages that the defendants - Nomu developer Handy Investments and contractor Seng Systems Engineering - have to pay will be assessed at a later hearing.

The dispute concerned technical issues as to whether the flooding was caused by construction activities at the Nomu or inadequacies with the earlier construction of the Luxe.

The Luxe, a commercial-cum- residential building, sits at the bottom of a steep slope behind Handy Road.

Rainwater from the top of the slope flows into a storm drain, down a cascading drain, and into a drainage pit, known as a sump, at the Nomu site.

On the Luxe site, an internal drain at the rear of the building caters for the run-off from the slope.

It discharges water into an internal sump at the bottom of the Luxe's retaining wall.

On Aug 10, 2008, heavy rain resulted in the internal drainage system at The Luxe becoming choked with soil, silt and mud.

This caused muddy water to seep into the building through an exhaust pipe outlet and a ventilation opening.

The water flooded halls on the first and second storey, where an exhibition of Chinese ink paintings was being held.

Even after a clean-up, the false ceiling, walls and flooring of the halls were left with yellowish-brown stains.

The exhibition was cancelled.

Luxe owner JBE Properties and exhibition organiser Yisulang Art Gallery sued the defendants in 2011, holding them responsible for the flood damage.

The plaintiffs said the defendants failed to keep the Nomu worksite tidy and caused materials including construction debris to be washed into the Luxe sump, causing the blockage.

The defendants argued they could not be held responsible as the flooding was not caused by construction at the Nomu site.

In a written judgment released this week, Justice Lai Siu Chiu ruled in favour of the plaintiffs.

She found that the rain washed debris from the Nomu site down the slope.

Justice Lai found that if not for the debris that clogged the Nomu sump, the Luxe's sump would have been able to cope with the rainfall that day.

Mr Patrick Lam, director of JBE Properties, said he was pleased with the judgment.

He added that he hoped that in the future, flooding arising from the internal drain will be minimised and that the relevant authorities look into "potential long term implications".

selinal@sph.com.sg


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