Construction firm fined $44,000 for damaging water pipe

Foodstall operators in and around Tampines Bus Interchange queueing for water from a PUB water wagon after a pipe burst on Nov 3, 2017.
Foodstall operators in and around Tampines Bus Interchange queueing for water from a PUB water wagon after a pipe burst on Nov 3, 2017.PHOTO: ST FILE

Construction company CCECC Singapore was fined $44,000 for damaging a water pipe at a Tampines work site.

A statement from national water agency PUB yesterday said the damage to the pipe, which was 30cm in diameter, happened on Nov 3 last year and resulted in water overflowing onto the road nearby.

Water supply to four commercial buildings nearby was disrupted, including Tampines Bus Interchange, a foodcourt in Eastlink Mall, Tampines Plaza and the CPF Tampines Service Centre.

The damaged potable water main was located near the junction of Tampines Avenue 5 and Tampines Central 2.

About 4,000 cubic m of water was lost, enough to fill 1½ Olympic-size swimming pools, PUB said.

PUB's investigations found that CCECC was engaged by Hexacon Construction as a sub-contractor to carry out works as part of the construction of an overhead bridge in Tampines Avenue 5.

CCECC did not obtain approval from PUB before exposing three buried water mains at the work site despite having been given a copy of the PUB water mains service plan and guidelines on preventing damage to water mains.

The construction company also failed to provide adequate protection and install proper pipe supports for the exposed water mains, PUB said. This caused one of the pipes to become dislodged at a joint, resulting in the leak.

The water quickly flooded the work-site trench, which was 19m long, 6.6m wide and 4m deep, and overflowed onto the road.

As it was the company's first offence, CCECC was fined $42,000 for damaging the water main.

Anyone who damages PUB water mains with a diameter of 30cm or more can be fined up to $200,000 and jailed for up to three years.

The company was also fined an additional $2,000 for failing to get PUB's approval before carrying out works. Under the public utilities regulations for the protection of water pipes infrastructure, PUB's approval must be sought before specified activities can be carried out within protected areas near water mains.

Anyone who fails to do so can be fined up to $10,000. In the case of a continuing offence, the offender can be further fined up to $250 for each day the offence continues.

Correction note: An earlier version of this article stated that CCECC's $42,000 fine was known as a composition sum. We have since removed that description. We are sorry for the error.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 14, 2018, with the headline 'Construction firm fined $44,000 for damaging water pipe'. Print Edition | Subscribe