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Saturday, 22 May 2010

TODAYonline | Voices | A conference too soon

A conference too soon

There's no way MBS would have been ready for bar meet - and the IPBA should've known better
My Letter to Today Voices, May 22; 2010

IT HAS been reported that Marina Bay Sands had slapped the organisers of the Inter-Pacific Bar Association (IPBA) conference with a writ of summons to claim payment of $300,000 ("MBS serves writ on conference organiser", May 20). Last week, the organisers asked MBS how it would compensate them for the "aggravation and embarrassment" encountered during the four-day event.

This incident highlights the unique way the construction industry operates as compared to other business sectors.

In the construction industry, new buildings are often issued a TOP (Temporary Occupation Permit) after a series of checks by the Building Control Authority, certifying "substantial completion".

The common Standard Forms of Contract adopted locally, including the Public Sector Standard Conditions of Contract for Construction Works, allow for construction defects to be rectified within the Defects Liability Period - usually at least 12 months after substantial completion.

The is an entrenched practice, one which I believe is not alien to the organisers of the IPBA conference, which consists of top lawyers practising worldwide.

There could be no way of ensuring the conference would proceed without fault unless the premises had first been meticulously put through a thorough testing and commissioning regime.

You could compare it to the situation at the Singapore Flyer soon after its launch, when a power failure saw dozens of visitors trapped for hours.

As such, the IPBA was walking in with "eyes wide open" in opting to be the first to host a conference at the integrated resort.

Shouldn't ample time have been given for the premises to be ready for its opening? That would have been fairer to the thousands of construction workers who had to work non-stop to ensure the building was ready for the opening ceremony.

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