Parliament: 36 HDB projects given time extensions: Desmond Lee

SINGAPORE - The Housing Board (HDB) has given 36 projects time extensions over the past two years, it was revealed in Parliament on Wednesday.

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.

This, however, will cost them more, said Minister of State for National Development Desmond Lee.

He was responding to Mr Gan Thiam Poh (Pasir Ris-Punggol GRC), who had asked how many main contractors affected by the tightening of foreign workers had been given extensions in the past two years.

Reasons for the extensions include changes in design beyond contractors' control, or exceptionally inclement weather.

Mr Lee added that of the 36 projects, liquidated damages were levied on six contractors for delays in seven projects. This was because of various reasons such as poor project planning, coordination and execution.

"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," said Mr Lee.

Mr Zaqy Mohamad (Chua Chu Kang GRC) then asked how HDB helps companies, noting that contractors for HDB lift upgrading projects in his constituency felt "caught in-between" as they could not get foreign workers.

"If they do need more workers, then they are certainly entitled to apply for more workers. It's not that they should be prevented from doing so. But in so doing, there is the incurring of additional levies," replied Mr Lee.

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