Derek Loh quoted by Today: “Covid-19: Faced with labour crunch, supply disruptions, contractors in S’pore fear missing project deadlines”

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News

21 February 2020

Derek Loh quoted by Today: “Covid-19: Faced with labour crunch, supply disruptions, contractors in S’pore fear missing project deadlines”

Features Derek Loh

TSMP Law Corporation Head of Construction and Engineering Derek Loh was quoted in a Today story published on 20 February 2020 on tighter labour laws and delays in the production and shipment of materials due to the ongoing Covid-19 outbreak leading some construction firms here to worry about whether they can meet the upcoming deadlines of their building contracts.

He said that because force majeure is not a legal concept that is recognised in Singapore law, it can only be invoked if it is explicitly specified in the building contract.

Force majeure also does not have a consistent definition in the local law. Therefore, whether or not a firm will be successful in a legal suit would depend on how it is worded in the contract, he said.

He foresees that the contractors — be they the main contractors or subcontractors — will ultimately bear the brunt of the additional costs that result because of the delays.

“The big question is whether the construction companies can absorb the additional cost or whether the employers are prepared to give compensation to address these issues.

“Somebody will have to pay for the cost of these delays to the work and in all likelihood, it’s likely to be felt by the lower end ,” he said.

The story was syndicated in Malaysia’s Malay Mail on 21 February 2020.