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Specialist construction mediation centre established in Singapore

A new construction-industry specific mediation centre has been established in Singapore, offering contractors an alternative means of resolving disputes to costly and time-consuming court action.20 Mar 2019

The Singapore Construction Mediation Centre (SCMC) has been established by the Singapore Contractors Association (SCAL) in response to increased demand for mediation from its members. Construction disputes currently make up around 40% of the cases heard by the non-specialist Singapore Mediation Centre (SMC) each year.

The new SCMC will initially work with 24 mediators, each of whom either holds a senior managerial position within the construction industry or has experience in mediating disputes, SCMC chair Wilson Wong told The Straits Times. It will initially provide mediation services for disputes between housing contractors and subcontractors.

Infrastructure law expert Yong Neng Chan of Pinsent Masons MPillay, the Singapore joint law venture between MPillay and Pinsent Masons, the law firm behind Out-Law.com, welcomed the launch.

"Launch of the industry-niche mediation centre is testament to the advancement and quality of Singapore's construction dispute resolution offering," he said. "The by-contractors for-contractors mediation centre is welcomed as an alternative avenue for interest-based resolution of contractor disputes."

SCAL intends for the SCMC to operate as an alternative to the SMC, for disputes in which at least one of the parties involved is an SCAL member or is a registered contractor which appears on the Singapore List of Trade Subcontractors. The SMC has dealt with over 4,000 cases since it was founded in 1997.

The most common causes of disputes between main contractors and sub-contractors are payments disputes, defects and liquidated damages, according to SCAL.