Steps to curb coronavirus transmission will raise construction costs

An idle construction site is seen at the junction of Serangoon Road and Towner Road on April 23, 2020.
An idle construction site is seen at the junction of Serangoon Road and Towner Road on April 23, 2020.PHOTO: ST FILE

The measures to keep Covid-19 transmission low in the construction sector are bound to increase costs for contractors, which they will have to bear in principle.

National Development Minister Lawrence Wong said at a press conference yesterday that construction costs will rise as a result, and all in Singapore must be prepared to bear them.

As the construction sector prepares to start its engines again from June 2, after the circuit breaker ends on June 1, the authorities aim to implement a regular Covid-19 testing regime for workers at a proposed interval of two weeks.

Mr Wong said the number of workers being tested will depend on the number resuming work, but this will be scaled up progressively.

"We want to test all the workers who will be resuming work and it will be done on a regular basis. This will be a new regulatory requirement on top of all the other safe distancing measures that we have put in place... that contractors will now have to uphold."

Building and Construction Authority chief executive Hugh Lim said the details of the testing regime are still being worked out with the Ministry of Health (MOH) to ensure that its scale and frequency can be fully supported once construction activity resumes.

Though the costs will be borne by employers in principle, he said they and MOH were working out how costs can be spread among the different parties involved.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 16, 2020, with the headline 'Steps to curb transmission will raise construction costs'. Subscribe