Delay to Punggol BTO project after contractor's services axed

HDB says project milestones not met; home owners may now get keys only one year later in 2022

The construction site of the Waterway Sunrise II project (front) in Punggol yesterday. Launched in February 2017, the project has 1,014 units in seven blocks and is currently about 45 per cent completed. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH
The construction site of the Waterway Sunrise II project (front) in Punggol yesterday. Launched in February 2017, the project has 1,014 units in seven blocks and is currently about 45 per cent completed. ST PHOTO: JASON QUAH

Future home owners of a Build-To-Order (BTO) project in Punggol are facing a one-year delay after the Housing Board terminated the building contractor's services this month.

The project, Waterway Sunrise II, has 1,014 units in seven blocks. Block 653A was originally estimated to be completed in the first quarter of next year, while the remaining six blocks were set to be ready in the second quarter of next year.

The delay means home owners may now get keys to their flats only in the first or second quarter of 2022.

Yesterday, in response to queries from The Straits Times, the HDB said the building contractor, Lian Ho Lee Construction, has "not been able to meet project milestones" over the past few months.

The HDB said it has been monitoring the progress of works at the site.

On July 28, the contractor informed the HDB that due to difficulties in continuing with the project, it would have to cease operations at the site.

The HDB did not specify what those difficulties were. Calls and e-mails from ST to Lian Ho Lee Construction went unanswered.

The HDB said: "As the contractor had failed to perform its duties effectively, we terminated their services to safeguard the interest of flat buyers. We have commenced the process to quickly bring on board a new contractor to complete the remaining works."

In the meantime, a contractor has been appointed to secure the site and to provide environmental control services such as the prevention of mosquito breeding.

The housing project is currently about 45 per cent completed. It was launched in February 2017.

"As a result of the Covid-19 circuit breaker measures, the termination of the building contract and the additional time needed to procure a new contractor, we expect a projected delay of about 12 months," said the HDB. "We recognise the inconvenience that this brings to our flat buyers and will try our best to minimise the delays."

LONG WAIT CONTINUES

When I finally managed to get this BTO flat after many tries, I thought that since I've waited for so many years, it's okay to wait for another four years, but now this happens.

MS SUKINA, 55, who rents a room for $600 a month, had been looking forward to her two-room flexi flat at Waterway Sunrise II and was disappointed to hear of the delay.

Flat buyers will be kept updated on the revised completion date through online portal My HDBPage as construction progresses.

ST observed during a visit yesterday that an adjacent BTO project, Waterway Sunrise I, which was launched in November 2016, appears to be further along in the construction process. The project comprises about 1,200 units.

The HDB had previously said some BTO projects would be delayed by about six to nine months beyond their estimated completion dates due to Covid-19, although it would strive to reduce the delays.

 
 
 
 

Home owners were informed of the year-long delay at Waterway Sunrise II via e-mails and letters sent by the HDB on Monday.

Many had expected to move into their new flats next year.

Some took to private group chats on Telegram and Facebook started by fellow home owners to express their frustration.

One home owner who wanted to be known only as Ms Sukina said she has been renting a bedroom for the past 14 years, moving as many as five times.

The 55-year-old office attendant, who pays $600 in monthly rental, had been looking forward to her two-room flexi flat and was disappointed to hear of the delay.

"When I finally managed to get this BTO flat after many tries, I thought that since I've waited for so many years, it's okay to wait for another four years, but now this happens," she said.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 28, 2020, with the headline 'Delay to Punggol BTO project after contractor's services axed'. Print Edition | Subscribe