Changi viaduct collapse: Charges against managing director of construction firm withdrawn

At about 3.30am on 14 July 2017, a section of the 1.8km-long PIE viaduct along Upper Changi Road East collapsed. (PHOTO: SCDF)

SINGAPORE — The group managing director of a construction firm responsible for the collapse of a section of the Changi Pan Island Expressway (PIE) viaduct in 2017 was given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal on Wednesday (31 July).

Or Toh Wat, 51, was instead given a conditional warning from the Building and Construction Authority and the Ministry of Manpower. All three charges – two under the Building Control Act and one under the Workplace Safety and Health Act – against Or were withdrawn.

At about 3.30am on 14 July 2017, a section of the 1.8km-long PIE viaduct along Upper Changi Road East collapsed. The accident killed one worker, Chinese national Chen Yinchuan, and left 10 others injured.

Or's charges read that he had not taken measures to ensure the safety of the firm’s employees by failing to adequately assess risk when Or became aware of cracks on the viaduct’s corbels – a type of weight-bearing structure.

He had also allegedly failed to stop all work on the viaduct after discovering that fresh cracks had formed on the corbels, which led to the fatal incident.

Or was also accused of carrying out unauthorised strengthening works on a corbel without the approval of the Commissioner of Building Control, and for failing to notify the Commissioner of the contravention of a section the Building Control Act.

Company to contest charge

OKP, Or’s company, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to one charge under the Building Control Act and was fined $10,000.

The company still faces one charge of failing to ensure the safety of the workers. It will be contesting the charge in a trial on Thursday, together with three other individuals involved.

The three are OKP employees Yee Chee Keong and Wong Kiew Hai, and consultant Robert Arianto Tjandra.

Apart from Or, only one other man – an accredited checker appointed by the Land Transport Authority who was working on the project – has been dealt with.

Engineer Leong Sow Hon, 61, had earlier admitted that he failed to evaluate, analyse and review the project’s structural design, and did not perform original calculations for the structure’s permanent corbels between 18 November 2016 and 13 June 2017.

Leong was jailed for six months on 4 July.

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