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Singapore Contractors Association unveils mediation centre to resolve construction disputes

Singapore Contractors Association unveils mediation centre to resolve construction disputes

Source: Straits Times
Date Published: 12 Mar 2019
Author: Shabana Begum

The Singapore Construction Mediation Centre (SCMC) was set up in response to the high volume and increasing demand for mediation in resolving construction disputes.

To provide more options for disputing construction companies to seek mediation instead of undergoing expensive and time-consuming court proceedings, the Singapore Contractors Association (SCAL) launched a mediation centre on Tuesday (March 12).

The Singapore Construction Mediation Centre (SCMC) was set up in response to the high volume and increasing demand for mediation in resolving construction disputes.

The most common causes of disputes between main contractors and sub-contractors are payment disputes, defects and liquidated damages, said an SCAL spokesman.

Previously, the Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) was the main avenue to amicably resolve construction disputes.

More than 4000 cases of various kinds have been mediated at SMC since it was established in 1997. In 2017, construction disputes made up about 40 per cent of the cases that SMC handled.

Referring to court proceedings, SCAL noted a "disturbing trend in the adversarial nature in which some contractual disputes were being managed".

Lengthy and costly court trials affect the profitability of companies in dispute and may be detrimental to their reputation, added the SCAL spokesman.

SCAL president Kenneth Loo said: "It was for this reason that SCAL decided to set up a new mediation service as a platform for our members to resolve disputes in an amicable manner, while maintaining congenial business relationships particularly between main and sub-contractors."

Some 24 individuals who hold high management positions in construction companies and who are experienced in mediating construction disputes were appointed to the inaugural panel of SCMC mediators.

SCMC is aiming to start with providing mediation services for disputes between main and sub-contractors involved in housing.

It will serve the 3,000 SCAL members, including registered contractors under the Singapore List of Trade Subcontractors. The members can choose to go to SCMC or SMC to resolve disputes.

"My vision for SCMC is for it to be the preferred construction mediation service provider contributing to Singapore's drive as an international mediation hub," said SCMC chairman Wilson Wong.

Minister of State for Manpower and National Development Zaqy Mohamad was guest of honour at the launch.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.

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