BCA eases conditions to speed up construction restart after dorms cleared of COVID-19

Staff Writer, Singapore
·Editorial Team
·2-min read
Migrant workers queue to collect food at the Punggol S11 dormitory during the coronavirus outbreak (COVID-19) in Singapore April 6, 2020. Picture taken April 6, 2020. REUTERS/Edgar Su
Migrant workers at the Punggol S11 dormitory in Singapore. (PHOTO: Reuters/Edgar Su)

SINGAPORE — Firms employing foreign construction workers registered with the Ministry of Manpower (MOM) can now resume work outside of construction sites and supply works premises without having to apply for approval from Building and Construction Authority (BCA).

The move is part of several measures announced by BCA in a media release on Wednesday (12 August) to speed up the restart of construction work in a safe manner amid the COVID-19 pandemic, with almost all the migrant workers dormitories being cleared of the coronavirus.

The new measure applies only for jobs that employ a relatively small number of construction workers, such as lift repair and renovation works. For deployment of workers at construction sites and supply works premises, main contractors are still required to apply for BCA’s approval to resume work.

To be allowed to resume work without applying for BCA’s approval, workers must meet four conditions: be cleared of COVID-19 infection; not be on Stay-Home Notices; have installed the TraceTogether app; and are staying in accommodations cleared of COVID-19.

BCA said in the media release that about 40,000 workers are expected to benefit from this new measure.

Re-housing workers of same companies together

It has also lifted a rule requiring employers to re-house workers if they are originally living in more than 10 different addresses. The rule was aimed at reducing the risk of infection when workers from different dorms interacted on work sites, and at minimising the number of dorms affected if a COVID-19 case surfaced.

With almost all dormitories cleared, the rule has been lifted to facilitate a faster construction restart, although BCA advises employers to continue reducing the number of accommodations for their workers.

BCA – together with MOM, Inter-agency Task Force and Economic Development Board – will also be reorganising worker accommodation so that workers in the same company can live at the same address. This will involve the relocation of about 160,000 workers in 43 dormitories by 30 September.

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