$470,000 bin centre was a ‘complex and complicated’ project: Singapore’s arts council

The bin centre outside the Asian Civilisations Museum. Photo: Yahoo Singapore

There were many considerations and technical challenges in building a $470,000 bin centre that necessitated a feasibility study and consultancy services, said the National Arts Council (NAC).

NAC was responding to the Auditor-General’s Office (AGO) report for Financial Year 2015/2016. The AGO said that NAC had spent an “exceptionally high” consultancy fee of $410,000 in building a bin centre for Victoria Theatre and Victoria Concert Hall. This was in addition to the $470,000 construction cost of the bin centre. 

But in a statement posted on the Factually section of government website Gov.sg, NAC explained that the bin centre was not a standalone project, but part of redevelopment for the Civic District.

Victoria Theatre and Victoria Concert Hall (VTVCH), Asian Civilisations Museum (ACM) and Old Parliament House previously had their own bin centres. However, the redevelopment of the Civic District presented an opportunity to build a centralised refuse collection centre to serve the three venues.

No simple project

Photo: Yahoo Singapore

While a suitable location was eventually identified at ACM’s existing outhouse, which is above its basement, NAC listed seven factors and technical challenges to explain why the bin centre was not a simple undertaking.

For example, structural and reinforcement works were needed as the bin centre was above the ACM basement. Traffic flow had to be studied, as the ACM’s loading/unloading bay would be affected. The facade design also had to be taken into account, as the aesthetics of the historic area needed to be preserved.

These factors meant that consultancy services were necessary. These included a feasibility study taking into account the various requirements of the three separate institutions, a technical study, design proposal and more.

Nevertheless, NAC acknowledged that the cost assessment for the construction of the bin centre should have been “more robust”.

Relevant processes will be put in place to ensure that the norm for cost assessment of consultancy fees will be adopted for future development projects, said NAC.

Revision: An earlier version of this story said the $410,000 consultancy fee paid brought the total construction to $470,000. That line has been removed.