2 of 5 BTO projects affected by Greatearth liquidation completed

Updated from : The Business Times, 27 Feb 2022

The wait is over, with work completed in 2 of the 5 Build-to-Order (BTO) projects affected by Greatearth Corporation and Greatearth Construction going bust, ahead of revised deadlines.

The 782 owners of units in 3 blocks of flats in Senja – in Senja Ridges and Senja Heights – have begun to receive keys to their new homes.

The 3 other delayed projects – Sky Vista @ Bukit Batok, Marsiling Grove and West Coast Parkview – are “progressing well” and “on track to be delivered” by their amended deadlines, HDB said on Sunday (Feb 27).

The completion dates of the 5 projects had each been delayed by about a quarter of the year. Work was passed last year to replacement contractors after Greatearth said it could no longer fulfil its obligations, running up a S$70 million debt despite government aid.

HDB’s update comes as it continues to work on BTO projects that have been delayed by the pandemic, when the construction sector was badly hit by a Covid-19 outbreak in dormitories and works were slower due to safe management measures.

Some couples have had to seek interim housing after their weddings while awaiting their new homes, prompting National Development Minister Desmond Lee to say last year that the average waiting time for ongoing BTO flats remains between 4 and 5 years – the same wait pre-pandemic.

The 2 completed projects are a block of 230 units in Senja Ridges, completed by Teambuild Engineering & Construction, and 2 blocks with a total of 552 units in Senja Heights by Newcon Builders.

The completion date of Senja Ridges had been postponed from the fourth quarter of last year to this quarter and work was finished in January, HDB said.

The 2 blocks in Senja Heights had been slated to be finished in the fourth quarter of last year and the first quarter of this year but completion was each pushed back by a quarter.

Work wrapped up in December last year and February this year.

HDB on Sunday said the replacement contractors have been able to meet their deadlines, or even finish the flats earlier, due to its efforts that have allowed them to hit the ground running and acquire much-needed supplies and workers.

After Greatearth went bust last year, HDB provided new contractors with a list of Greatearth’s subcontractors and material supplies so that they could work out arrangements to keep changes to a minimum.

In both Senja projects, most subcontractors and suppliers were retained, HDB said, with the continuity enabling work to resume much more smoothly.

HDB also worked with partner agencies to bring in more workers, accelerating progress by up to 3 weeks.

Some inspections, such as those for light installment, were conducted virtually, where a worker on site would take HDB’s engineers around the premises through a video call, although HDB reiterated that comprehensive physical inspections were still done to make sure workmanship standards were met.

The 3 remaining projects are the 257 units of Sky Vista@ Bukit Batok (contractor: Welltech Construction) to be completed in the fourth quarter of the year; 1,246 units of Marsiling Grove (CES Engineering & Construction) in the first quarter of next year; and 697 units of West Coast Parkview (Newcon) in the third quarter of next year.

HDB’s chief executive officer Tan Meng Dui said: “Despite the extremely challenging environment brought about by the pandemic, HDB has been able to catch up and recover from most of the delays caused by the unfortunate exit of Greatearth.

“I would like to thank our flat buyers for their patience and understanding. The remaining three projects are currently progressing well, with structural works and even some architectural works already in progress.”