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Main contractor fined S$10,000 for 2017 PIE viaduct collapse

SINGAPORE — The main contractor involved in the 2017 fatal collapse of an uncompleted Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) viaduct at Upper Changi Road East was fined S$10,000 on Tuesday (July 30).

Or Kim Peow (OKP) Contractors, which was involved in the fatal collapse of an uncompleted Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) viaduct at Upper Changi Road East two years ago, was sentenced to a fine of S$10,000 on Tuesday (July 30).

Or Kim Peow (OKP) Contractors, which was involved in the fatal collapse of an uncompleted Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) viaduct at Upper Changi Road East two years ago, was sentenced to a fine of S$10,000 on Tuesday (July 30).

SINGAPORE — The main contractor involved in the 2017 fatal collapse of an uncompleted Pan-Island Expressway (PIE) viaduct at Upper Changi Road East was fined S$10,000 on Tuesday (July 30).

Or Kim Peow (OKP) Contractors executive director Or Lay Huat pleaded guilty on behalf of his company to one charge under the Building Control Act.

The company admitted that it carried out unauthorised strengthening works to a permanent corbel of the structure on July 8, 2017.

Six days later, in the early hours of July 14, 2017, an uncompleted section of the 1.8km-long viaduct collapsed.

Chinese national Chen Yinchuan, 31, died while another 10 workers were injured.

A second similar charge, for failing to get approval for said strengthening works, was taken into consideration for sentencing.

Permanent corbels, or support structures, are used to support one end of a flyover and are essential to the overall structural stability of a viaduct. The viaduct in question links the PIE to Tampines Expressway and Upper Changi Road East

The developer of the project was the Land Transport Authority, which awarded OKP the contract to design and build the viaduct in November 2015. Another company was awarded a replacement tender in December 2018 to complete the construction.

The only person already dealt with in this case — Calibre Consulting Singapore executive Leong Sow Hon — was sentenced to six months’ jail earlier this month.

The 61-year-old had pleaded guilty to failing to check detailed structural plans and design calculations of the viaduct in accordance with regulations.

PENDING CHARGES

OKP still faces one charge under the Workplace Safety and Health Act, for allegedly failing to take necessary measures to ensure their employees' safety and health.

The company will be contesting that charge, with the trial set to begin on Thursday (Aug 1). 

Four other individuals — including Or Toh Wat, 51, OKP’s group managing director — will also be claiming trial to their respective charges on Thursday.

OKP's project director Yee Chee Keong, 49, allegedly failed to call for works to be stopped when he discovered cracks on the corbels that were supporting the deck slab which the workers were on, and permitted the carrying out of the unauthorised strengthening works.

Yee, who was the technical controller of the viaduct's worksite, was also alleged to have deleted a WhatsApp conversation between OKP project engineer Wong Kiew Hai and himself, which allegedly contained photographs and information potentially relevant to criminal investigations.

Wong, 31, was charged with failing to call for works to be stopped when the cracks were discovered, as well as deleting the WhatsApp conversation.

Meanwhile, CPG Consultants' professional engineer Robert Arianto Tjandra, who approved the design and supervision of the construction works, allegedly put up structural plans without checking the design assumptions made for the corbels.

The 45-year-old, who was the project's qualified person, also allegedly did not carry out the necessary remedial works to rectify the corbel designs even though he knew that they could not support the deck slab.

Among his other charges, Tjandra is accused of falsely certifying that the structural plans and design calculations were prepared in accordance with the Building Control Act.

MATERIAL DEVIATION FROM APPROVED PLANS

On Tuesday, the court heard that Tjandra applied for the approval of plans for the building works between November 18, 2016 and June 13, 2017.

Following the fatal collapse, investigations revealed that around July 4, 2017, Tjandra told Yee to reinforce a completed crosshead at the section that eventually collapsed.

One of Tjandra’s design engineers then forwarded a drawing to Yee and the project manager whom Yee was supervising. It detailed how the concrete on the corbel surface would be hacked, holes drilled in the crosshead, and additional rebars installed in the holes.

Tjandra endorsed the drawing. 

However, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Yang Ziliang told the court that this deviated from the plans approved by the Commissioner of Building Control. The permanent corbel was inadequate and did not comply with performance requirements.

Tjandra was required to submit the structural plans and design calculations to the Commissioner of Building Control, as “this deviation involved a material change to the structural design”, DPP Yang said.

However, the prosecutor added that Tjandra did not do this, and OKP — while aware of this — carried out the works anyway.

During Leong’s case, the court heard that some of the permanent corbel structures were so inadequate, they would not have supported more than half of the total load that they were intended to carry.

For carrying out the unauthorised strengthening works, OKP could have been fined up to S$200,000. The charge also carries a maximum jail term of two years.

Related topics

court crime PIE viaduct collapse

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