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Singapore Property News

Fight over defects at The Sail condo to be heard in court next month

A long-running dispute between the owners of The Sail@Marina Bay and City Developments Ltd (CDL) over numerous alleged defects in the high-end condominium project will finally be heard in court next month.

Posted on 19-Jan-2018

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Fight over defects at The Sail condo to be heard in court next month

A long-running dispute between the owners of The Sail@Marina Bay and City Developments Ltd (CDL) over numerous alleged defects in the high-end condominium project will finally be heard in court next month.

The most serious and costly of the defects is said to be the condominium's rubbish chute system, which the residents claim has been emitting foul smells.

But, to resolve this issue sooner, owners may have to cough up their own money for now.

The condominium's Management Corporation Strata Title (MCST) is seeking owners' consent in an extraordinary general meeting on Jan 27 to use up to S$3.3 million from the sinking fund to replace the vertical section of the pneumatic waste collection system.

It will also seek consent to use up to S$450,000 from the management fund for legal proceedings and another S$100,000 to engage non-legal experts.

A writ of summons and statement of claim were filed by the MCST back in 2014, a year after owners mandated it to take the developer to task, with several letters of demand sent to CDL asking for the defects to be rectified.

The 1,111-unit development received its temporary occupation permit in 2008, but problems were said to have surfaced later on.

The dispute has dragged on for four years, with the trial hearings scheduled to be held on Feb 6.

Dragages Singapore, the main contractor for the project, is also named as defendant in the lawsuit.

When contacted, CDL said it is unable to comment further as this is an ongoing court matter.

Based on its statement of claims, the condominium's MCST is alleging that "numerous defects have become manifestly apparent in the development and which demonstrate a failure to develop and/or construct the development in a good and workman-like manner with reasonable skill and care and/or to ensure that the development is reasonably fit for the purpose for which it was intended".

Apart from the rubbish chute system, the residents have also complained about water leakage in the lift and escalator areas, and burst underground water pipes that have had to be repaired. In all, more than S$1 million has been coughed up by owners to rectify the numerous defects.

Among its key claims, the MCST alleges that CDL is in breach of contract against the original buyers and its duty of care to design and construct the development to "a reasonable, functional and safe standard", to ensure that the development would be reasonably free of defects, and to maintain it in good condition before the handover of management and maintenance to the MCST.

CDL has since denied the claims; concerning its duty of care, it denies that such duty was a "non-delegable duty" or cannot be delegated.

Main contractor Dragages Singapore also denies it is liable for any alleged defects.

Both defendants have pointed out that The Sail@Marina Bay was awarded a high Conquas or Construction Quality Assessment System score, an assessment of building quality by the Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

Its Conquas score of 94.8 per cent puts the development among the top 10 per cent of all private housing projects in Singapore since 1988, CDL said in its statement of defence.

The project also received an award for construction excellence from the BCA in 2010.

Meanwhile, CDL has managed to fend off a separate legal dispute raised by owners of Shelford Suites, the MCST of which filed a legal complaint against CDL and main contractor Tiong Seng Contractors last year. This case, in which owners also claimed numerous defects, has been resolved, BT understands.

The 77-unit project in prime District 1 was completed in 2011 and given a Conquas score of a 96.5 per cent - the highest score awarded for a private housing project that year, said CDL and Tiong Seng Contractors in their statement of defence.

Conquas, however, assesses workmanship of the project upon completion. It does not cover latent defects that may appear after the handover, said the BCA website.

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