Legal experts to look at the construction delay of new Thailand parliament complex

Construction News
Construction of the new parliament building, named Sappaya-Saphasathan

Legal experts to look at the construction delay of new Thailand parliament complex

Sino-Thai blames lawmakers for ‘hindering’ construction

09 December 2019

House speaker Chuan Leepai wants legal experts to scrutinise another request to extend the deadline for construction of the new parliament complex, after several reports blamed “irregularities” for the delays.

The move was made after former Democrat MP for Bangkok, Wilas Chanphitak, questioned contractor Sino-Thai Engineering and Construction Plc‘s reasons for requesting another deadline extension.

Sino-Thai has asked for three extensions prior to the most recent request. The current deadline is set for Dec 15 and it is unclear what penalty it will face if it misses the date.

“As House speaker, I have to monitor the progress of the riverside complex, even though personally I’m not a party to the contract,” Mr Chuan said.

As the 12-billion-baht project was awarded to Sino-Thai by the Secretariat of the House of Representatives, “I cannot tell you who is right or wrong,” Mr Chuan said when asked to respond to Mr Wilas’s comments.

“A team of legal experts [under the secretariat] needs to look into the matter to clarify doubts,” the House speaker added, saying any decision must be made carefully in accordance to the law.

Mr Wilas had earlier insisted that Sino-Thai will have to pay a daily fine of 12.8 million baht if it fails to hand over the parliament complex within the specified deadline.

He also said a consultancy firm that was hired to help supervise the project has considered Sino-Thai’s request and suggested the secretariat grant 382 additional days to the company.

Sino-Thai, said Mr Wilas, had originally asked for 502 days.

“That means the contractor will have until April 2021 to complete its job,” he said.

At present, the new parliament complex in Kiakkai is only 70% completed with many tasks still to be done.

“Sino-Thai’s excuse — that the delays were caused by the use of the Senate chamber and carpark by legislators — does not hold water,” Mr Wilas said.

Under Section 34 of the construction agreement, the Secretariat has the right to use parts of the parliament complex before its official completion date.

“If activities [in the complex] are getting in the contractor’s way, Sino-Thai is required by Article 24.1 of the agreement to inform authorities within 15 days,” he said.

“[Sino-Thai] never reported any disturbances.”