Builders seek force majeure advice as COVID-19 causes labor crunch

Singapore has $20-$24b of building projects in the pipeline.

Singapore construction firms are asking for advice on invoking force majeure clauses in building contracts as firms face staff shortages over the COVID-19 outbreak, said a report by Reuters.

Singapore has an estimated $20-$24b of public and private sector building projects in the works in 2020, and any large impact on the sector, which is highly dependent on foreign labor, could help push the economy into recession.

Derek Loh, a partner at Singapore-based TSMP Law Corporation, said five clients involved in public sector construction projects have approached him in recent weeks for advice on force majeure, which refers to unexpected external circumstances that prevent a party to a contract from meeting their obligations.

Two other senior lawyers, who declined to be named, said they had also received queries related to force majeure.

The Building and Construction Authority has said, however, that contractors involved in public sector projects can seek extensions. It has also urged private sector developers to give extensions to contractors that work for them.

Read the full report here.

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