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GS E&C delays Singapore hospital project

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Published : 2014-08-21 20:35
Updated : 2014-08-21 20:35

GS Engineering & Construction has pushed back the completion date of a hospital project worth 600 billion won ($586 million) in Singapore by several months, the company said on Thursday.

The Ng Teng Fong Hospital project, commissioned by the Singaporean Ministry of Health, involves the construction of three hospital wards in the outskirts of Jurong. Completion was originally slated for September.

Regarding the delay, Singapore’s Health Minister Gan Kim Yong said in a written statement that while he was “disappointed about the delay,” Singapore would do everything it could to “ensure that overall capacity in the public health care system is not adversely affected and patient care will not be compromised.” 
An artist’s rendering of the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, to be constructed in Singapore. (GS E&C)

Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong first indicated that construction of the Ng Teng Fong Hospital would fall behind schedule by about six months at his National Day Rally on July 17.

“We are under negotiations with the Singaporean government to adjust the completion date,” a GS E&C spokesperson said.

The reason for the delay appeared to be mainly due to a lack of skilled construction personnel and problems with the supply of construction materials in Singapore, according to industry watchers and GS E&C.

“Singapore has recently been running out of manpower due to a construction boom fueled by various projects involving new metro stations and medical facilities,” the construction company official said.

Singaporean media outlets claimed that the South Korean builder would be liable to pay about S$100,000 ($80,000) in damages for each day the project is delayed.

GS E&C, however, said the terms of the contract were altered last year to adjust the daily amount of liabilities to S$7,600.

Officials said the Singaporean government’s comments about the hospital could be attributed to the anticipation that the opening would help enhance the country’s hospital capacity to meet growing health care demands.

To buffer the impact of the delay, the Singaporean Health Ministry decided to add about 500 beds to existing government and community hospitals by the end of this year.

GS E&C is currently working on eight construction projects in Singapore, including a 131-meter tunnel and metro stations in Woodlands, north of Singapore, which are expected to completed by 2019 under a deal with Singapore’s Land Transport Authority.

By Park Han-na (hnpark@heraldcorp.com)

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