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Support Measures FAQs

Updated on 11 January 2021

General

[Added on 24 July]
During this period of time when my workers are not able to resume work, what are the subsidies government is providing for my employees?

The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has caused disruptions for many businesses in Singapore and we understand the difficulties that the construction sector is going through during this period of time.

The Government has introduced various support measures to help Built Environment firms and their employees tide over this period, such as i) manpower levies, ii) business transformation and iii) cash flow and business sustainability. These measures aim to help businesses preserve capacity and capability, and protect jobs. You may refer to the full list of support measures at BCA’s webpage: www1.bca.gov.sg/COVID-19/support-measures-for-built-environment-sector-firms/

If you have any specific support measure you wish to clarify, we will be glad to assist you further. Please write in to us via our online feedback form

[Added on 24 July]
I would like to seek for funding support for my company during this period of time. How can the government help me?

The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has caused disruptions for many businesses in Singapore and we understand the difficulties that the construction sector is going through during this period of time.

The Government has introduced various support measures to help Built Environment firms and their employees tide over this period, such as i) manpower levies, ii) business transformation and iii) cash flow and business sustainability. These measures aim to help businesses preserve capacity and capability, and protect jobs. You may refer to the full list of support measures at BCA’s webpage: www1.bca.gov.sg/COVID-19/support-measures-for-built-environment-sector-firms/

If you have any specific support measure you wish to clarify, we will be glad to assist you further. Please write in to us via our online feedback form.


Job Support Scheme (JSS)

[Added on 24 July]
How do I know if my company qualifies for the enhanced 75% JSS support?

All Built Environment (BE) Construction and Consultancy firms as defined below will qualify for the enhanced JSS. This is applicable regardless whether firms have started work. For the enhanced JSS, the Government will co-fund 75% of the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages for each Singapore Citizen and Permanent Resident employee from BE construction / consultancy firms, covering wages from Jun to Aug 2020. The payout will be in Oct 2020. No application is required.

Qualifying Criteria:
- Built Environment must be classified under SSICs 41, 42, or 43.
- Built Environment consultants must be:
   >registered with the Public Sector Panel of Consultants (PSPC); or
   >classified under SSICs 71111, 71113, 71121, or 71125

For more details, please refer to IRAS website on JSS enhancements for specific industries.

[Updated on 27 June]
Will Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) still apply for companies which have received BCA’s approval to start work?

All BE Construction and Consultancy firms as defined below will qualify for the enhanced JSS. This is applicable regardless whether firms have started works. For the enhanced JSS, the Government will co-fund 75% of the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages for each Singapore Citizen and Permanent Resident employee from BE construction / consultancy firms, covering wages from Jun to Aug 2020. The payout will be in Oct 2020.

Qualifying Criteria:

  • Built Environment contractors must classified under SSICs 41, 42, or 43.
  • Built Environment consultants must be:
    • Registered with the Public Sector Panel of Consultants (PSPC); or
    • classified under SSICs 71111, 71113, 71121, or 71125
[Added on 24 July]
May I confirm that JSS support is 75% for the Construction sector companies from Jun-Aug 2020? IRAS website seems to indicate that we are only entitled to 25% JSS support?

The Construction sector is deemed not to have restarted in Jun-Aug.  All BE Construction and Consultancy firms as defined below will qualify for the enhanced JSS. This is applicable regardless whether firms have started works. For the enhanced JSS, the Government will co-fund 75% of the first $4,600 of gross monthly wages for each Singapore Citizen and Permanent Resident employee from BE construction / consultancy firms, covering wages from Jun to Aug 2020. The payout will be in Oct 2020. No application is required.

Qualifying Criteria:
- Built Environment must be classified under SSICs 41, 42, or 43.
- Built Environment consultants must be:
   >registered with the Public Sector Panel of Consultants (PSPC); or
   >classified under SSICs 71111, 71113, 71121, or 71125

For more details, please refer to IRAS website on JSS enhancements for specific industries.

[Added on 24 July]
My firm does not meet the Qualifying criteria for the enhanced JSS, but we are part of the Construction sector (e.g. supply materials/ provide services to construction firms). Can we apply for the enhanced JSS?

The enhanced JSS is only for Built Environment construction / consultancy firms which meet the qualifying criteria below. 

Qualifying Criteria:
- Built Environment must be classified under SSICs 41, 42, or 43.
- Built Environment consultants must be:
   >registered with the Public Sector Panel of Consultants (PSPC); or
   >classified under SSICs 71111, 71113, 71121, or 71125

For more details, please refer to IRAS website on JSS enhancements for specific industries.
You may also refer to the full list of support measures for Built Environment firms on the BCA website.


Construction Restart Booster

[Updated on 12 November]
Is my company is eligible for the Construction Restart Booster package?

Please note that as the deadlines for (i) COVID-Safe firm-based support and (ii) COVID-Safe project-based support are over, we will no longer process any applications and appeals for these support measures. For information on other support measures for built environment firms, please visit the BCA website.


Safe Management Officers (SMOs) Support

[Added on 30 November]
Why is the SMO Support only for 4 months (November 2020 to February 2021), instead of 6 months (September 2020 to February 2021) as announced under the Construction Support Package?

The Jobs Support Scheme (JSS) has been extended to provide 50% support for the Built Environment from September to October 2020. This would have accounted for 2 months of the support. As such, BCA will “top up” salary support for Singapore Citizens and Singapore Permanent Residents (SCs/SPRs) SMOs for remaining four months till February 2021.

[Added on 30 November]
Who are eligible for the SMO support? Are SMOs of subcontractors, operation teams and Facilities Management/HQ personnel eligible for this support? 

The SMO support is applicable only to main contractors required by BCA to have one SMO per construction project, as part of COVID-Safe Worksite requirements. Qualifying SMOs must be SCs/SPRs. The SMO support is not applicable for subcontractors, suppliers, specialist trades or employees appointed at office or commercial workspaces.

BCA will approve the disbursement of the support to employers only if  the project worksite does not have COVID-Safe related Stop Work Orders (SWOs) in BCA’s records during the funding period, prior to disbursement.

[Added on 30 November]
Can the SMO position be taken up by an existing employee rather than a new hire? Is there a support cap on the SMO wage support? What are other qualifying criteria for the SMO support scheme? 

The SMO position can be taken up by an existing employee or a new hire. There is a support cap of one unique SC/SPR SMO for each construction project (as per the COVID-Safe Worksite requirements). For example, a company with 5 project sites are eligible for 5 supportable SC/SPR SMOs.

[Added on 30 November]
I changed the project’s SMO during the SMO co-funding “top up” period of Nov 2020 to Feb 2021. Am I still eligible for the SMO support?

Yes, BCA will provide the SMO co-funding “top up”, provided your firm has declared that it will engage or deploy at least one SC/SPR SMO for each construction project from Nov 2020 to Feb 2021. The support cap of one unique SC/SPR SMO for each construction project (as per COVID-Safe Worksite requirements) applies.

[Updated on 11 January 2021]
When and how will the SMO support be disbursed?

The SMO Support will be credited directly to eligible firms via GIRO. To receive the one-off disbursement by 28 February 2021, firms should have a valid bank account registered with Vendors@Gov by 20 February 2021.

Firms that do not have a bank account registered with Vendors@Gov can do so at http://www.vendors.gov.sg. A login user guide can be found here. Please note that firms require a CorpPass to register with Vendors@Gov. Details on CorpPass can be found at http://www.corppass.gov.sg.

[Updated on 11 January 2021]
Do I need to apply for the SMO Support? 

BCA will continue to contact eligible firms to submit an online application/declaration form, and the Letter of Award for each declared construction project. The submission should be completed by 11 February 2021.

[Added on 30 November]
How is the “top up” amount of $3,680 per SMO derived? 

This is based on 20% of the SMO’s de facto monthly salary of $4,600 (20% x $4,600 = $920), multiplied by 4 months funding period from November 2020 to February 2021 ($920 x 4 months = $3,680).


Swab Tests Support

[Updated on 10 August]
Are clients, consultants, RTOs, REs and technicians eligible for the swab tests cost support?

The Government will fund the cost of swab tests for construction projects until 31 March 2021. The above-mentioned personnel are eligible for the swab tests cost support.

Yes. As announced on 27 Jun 2020, the Government will continue to bear the costs of COVID-19 testing for the construction sector until 31 Mar 2021, to help ensure a safe restart of the construction sector. Starting from 1 Aug 2020, employers will need to schedule appointments for periodic swab test for their workers through the online Swab Registration System (SRS) at https://swab.hpb.gov.sg/ext/login.aspx. Employers can create an account via https://go.gov.sg/reg-srs-acc if they do not have a SRS account. Personnel will not be required to pay for the swab tests arranged through SRS.


Advance Payment for Public Sector Construction Contracts

[Added on 30 June]
Does the “Circular on Advance Payment for Public Sector Construction Contracts to Facilitate the Restart of Works”, dated 29 Jun 2020,  apply to all construction contracts

No. It only applies to public-sector projects undertaken by Government agencies. As such, it does not apply to projects under private entities. Nonetheless, contractors could discuss the arrangement with their clients.

[Added on 30 June]
Does the “Circular on Advance Payment for Public Sector Construction Contracts to Facilitate the Restart of Works”, dated 29 Jun 2020, apply to maintenance contracts (eg. maintenance of lifts, air-cons etc) or term contracts? 

No, it only applies to public sector construction contracts.

[Added on 30 June]
Is it mandatory for main contractor to claim for the Advance Payment (AP)?

It is not mandatory for main contractors to claim for AP.

 As most construction works have been suspended during the Circuit Breaker (CB) and restart period, most contractors would not receive much progress payment until works resume.

Hence, we strongly encouraged main contractors to assist and work out a mutually acceptable arrangement with their subcontractors or suppliers such that they will have cashflow to tide over this period. Main contractors can also claim AP from the Government agencies so as to be disburse to the subcontractors or suppliers who may be in need of the AP. We hope to avoid a situation where main contractors fail to claim AP, and their subcontractors and suppliers suffer from cashflow issues during this period.

[Added on 30 June]
Are suppliers (e.g. rental of equipment etc) entitled to the same AP as subcontractors? 

It is dependent on the payment arrangement stated in the contract and whether the stop work period has affected the payment for material or equipment suppliers. For example, if the main contractor is paying for the rental of equipment during the stop work period, there is no need to pay equipment suppliers the AP.

[Added on 30 June]
If I carried out the project without any subcontractors or suppliers, am I also entitled to claim for the AP? 

Yes.

[Updated on 6 July]
What is the deadline for the submission of the claim? Will I still be eligible for the claim if I were to submit it after the deadline?

The claim for first tranche (i.e. April 2020) and second tranche (i.e. May 2020) must be submitted by 30 April 2020 and 8 June 2020 respectively. Subsequently, main contractors are allowed to submit AP claims at monthly intervals, until approval to restart is obtained from BCA. The main contractor shall only submit claim for one month of AP each time. Late claims will not be entertained by the agencies.

[Updated on 6 July]
How is the apportionment of AP to the main contractor and subcontractors/suppliers computed.

From government agency to main contractors:
The amount of AP covering CB period from 7 April 2020 to 4 May 2020 would be computed based on 50% of the average monthly amount of certified progress payments in past 3 months received by the main contractor, capped at 2.5% of contract sum or $5 million, whichever is lower. The amount of each subsequent AP shall be calculated based on (i) AP amount certified in previous tranche or (ii) 50% of the average monthly payment based on past 3 most recent certified monthly payments, if no AP was certified in previous tranche. Each AP quantum shall be capped at 2.5% of the awarded contract sum or $5mil, whichever is lower. The total cumulative AP for each contract is capped at 5% of the awarded contract sum or $10mil, whichever is lower.

From main contractors to subcontractors/suppliers:
Main contractors need not equally apportion the payment to their subcontractors or suppliers. Main contractors can use similar computation to decide how much AP to be apportioned, i.e. to provide AP quantum based on 50% of what the subcontractor should be receiving during the CB (estimated using average monthly payment to the subcontractors in the past 3 months) for CB period from 7 April 2020 to 4 May 2020 or estimate the AP amount based on (i) the AP amount certified in previous tranche or (ii) 50% of the average monthly payment based on past 3 most recent certified monthly payments, if no AP was certified in the previous tranche.

[Added on 30 June]
How do we compute the amount of AP for newly awarded projects that do not have any progress payments or less than 3 certified progress payments thus far?

It can be computed based on the cashflow projection for the project or the available numbers of certified progress payment or a combination of the two methods.

[Added on 30 June]
What can the main contractor do if the AP received from the government agency is lesser than the sum of subcontractors’ AP claim? 

The amount of AP to the main contractor is computed based on (i) AP amount certified in previous tranche or (ii) 50% of the average monthly payment based on past 3 most recent certified monthly payment, if no AP was certified in previous tranche. Main contractors may use similar computation to decide how much AP to be apportioned to their subcontractors / suppliers. Notwithstanding, main contractors are not expected to pass down to their subcontractors / suppliers more than what they have received from the government agencies. For example, if the AP received from the government agency is $1mil, the main contractor may apportion amount received to their subcontractors and suppliers involved in the construction works during the CB. The basis of using 50% of average monthly amount of certified progress payments in past 3 months is just one of the methods to estimate the amount of progress payment that the contractor is supposed to receive during the CB. The exact amount that the subcontractor/supplier would receive still depends on the actual amount of AP received by the main contractor from the government agency. However, the main contractor shall use his best efforts to apportion the AP on a fair basis.

[Added on 30 June]
Is this AP claim over and above the progress claim for work done during CB, which the main contractor will be claiming separately?

Yes, this AP claim is in addition to the progress claim for work done, if any, during the CB. Contractors can submit the claim for AP in their regular progress payment claim or as a standalone payment claim.

[Added on 30 June]
Upon submission of the AP claim, when will the AP certificate be issued and when will the AP be made to the main contractor?

The issuance of the payment certificate and payment will be made in accordance to the main contract provisions or as advised by the government agencies.

[Added on 30 June]
When should main contractor pay the AP to subcontractors or suppliers?

The main contractor shall pay the AP to subcontractors or suppliers according to the terms stated in their respective subcontracts. Main contractor shall submit Payment Responses issued to their subcontractors or suppliers, to the government agency, within 14 days of the receipt of the Payment Certificate of AP from the government agency.

[Added on 30 June]
Can the main contractor request for a security deposit (SD) or performance bond from subcontractors or suppliers for the AP?

For contracts where there are already existing provisions such as security deposit (SD) and/or retention monies to safeguard main contractor’s interest, main contractors can rely on the existing provisions.

 To minimise risks, if the AP amount to the subcontractors or suppliers exceeds the amount under the existing security deposit and/or retention monies, main contractors may discuss with their subcontractors or suppliers on suitable mechanisms to safeguard the AP provided. During this difficult period, we appeal to all members of the construction sector to support each other. Without the AP, some subcontractors or suppliers could face cashflow problems and may become insolvent.

[Updated on 6 July]
What if the main contractor does not pass down the AP to their subcontractor or supplier?

Where a main contractor fails to pass on the AP to its subcontractors or suppliers, the AP shall be recovered in full in the next immediate progress payment. The main contractor’s performance assessment will also be accorded a “Poor” rating by the Government agency.

BCA may review the CRS registration status of the CRS registered contractor upon feedback on failure to pass down the AP received. 


COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act – Part 8A & Part 8B

*Please also refer to the Part 8A & 8B Guide (the ”Guide”) which can be downloaded from https://go.gov.sg/bca-guide-cotma-8a-8b

General
[Updated on 30 November]
Why is there a need to introduce reliefs specially for the Built Environment (BE) sector?

The ongoing COVID-19 outbreak has caused disruptions for many businesses in Singapore. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the construction and property sectors in Singapore significantly, resulting in delays and additional costs for construction projects. The construction sector continues to face significant delays, due to work stoppages during the Circuit Breaker and reduced operating capacity because of the implementation of Safe Management Measures on site. During the work stoppages and project delays, contractors and developers continue to incur significant costs due to idle equipment on site and other associated costs.

To address this, the COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act (COTMA) provides temporary reliefs for parties of construction or supply contracts who had been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Part 2 imposes a moratorium on certain legal actions and gives the defaulting party a defence for his breach of contractual obligations that gives rise to liquidated damages and imposes a moratorium on calls made on his performance bond. Part 8 provides further relief to contractors by allowing Assessors to vary the rental expenses for plant or materials used in construction works.

Given the significant legal and financial implications to the stakeholders, there is a need to intervene legally in certain circumstances to provide additional relief to ensure that no stakeholder bears an undue share of the burden imposed by COVID-19. The reliefs will provide stakeholders in the BE sector with continued support as they adjust to new operating environment and complement other relief measures for the sector from the Government.

[Added on 30 November]
What are the types of contracts covered under Part 8A and Part 8B of the COTMA? Do the reliefs apply to projects which do not require submission to Authorities?

Please refer to Section 1.2 of the Guide. The Guide may be downloaded from https://go.gov.sg/bca-guide-cotma-8a-8b.


Extension of Time (EOT) for Construction Contracts
[Updated on 30 November]
Why is there a need to provide universal EOT to construction contracts?

Typically, most construction contracts will have EOT provisions to allow contractors an extension of the contract period to complete the works if there are valid grounds under the contract. However, we have received feedback from the industry that there can be some contractual pre-conditions (e.g. serving of notice and substantiation of claims by the contractor to be assessed by contract administrators) which could slow down the claim process, which is not helpful when the industry is looking to recover from work stoppages in the previous few months. This relief measure will give contractors more time to complete their projects, allow consistency of treatment across all affected construction contracts and provide certainty and assurance to the industry as they restart their projects.

[Updated on 30 November]
What are the eligibility criteria for the relief on seeking Extension of Time (EOT)?

Please refer to Section 2.2 of the Guide. The Guide may be downloaded from https://go.gov.sg/bca-guide-cotma-8a-8b.

[Updated on 30 November]
What is the applicable period for EOT? How is the 122 days derived?

Please refer to Section 2.3 of the Guide. The Guide may be downloaded from https://go.gov.sg/bca-guide-cotma-8a-8b.

[Updated on 30 November]
How to obtain the relief?

Please refer to Section 2.3 of the Guide. The Guide may be downloaded from https://go.gov.sg/bca-guide-cotma-8a-8b.

[Updated on 30 November]
Is there any recourse for contractors if their projects have been delayed for more than 122 days? What if my construction project commenced after 6 August 2020 where we still face delay issues? Are we able to appeal for extension of time?

Please refer to Section 2.3 of the Guide. The Guide may be downloaded from https://go.gov.sg/bca-guide-cotma-8a-8b.

[Updated on 30 November]
What if the contract meets all the criteria, but the contractor and developer had already privately agreed on a settlement agreement on EOT? Is the settlement agreement still valid? Will the developer still have to issue 122 days of EOT?

Only private settlement entered into in the course or as a result of arbitral or court proceedings before 2 November 2020 will have to be honoured and adhered to. Other private settlements will not restrict the application of the relief under Part 8A. For example, if a developer has provided a 1-month EOT as private settlement (not arising from arbitral or court proceedings), the statutory relief of 122 days of EOT will still apply to the construction contract concerned notwithstanding the earlier private settlement.

[Updated on 30 November]
Does the relief still apply if the contract meets all the criteria, but the construction works were certified as completed prior to 2 November 2020 (but after 7 April 2020)?

The relief will be applicable to construction contracts that remain in force on 2 November 2020, including constructions contracts under which construction works has been certified as completed and other contractual obligations are pending performance. For example, if the contract is still in force on 2 November 2020 (e.g. contracts still within the rectification or defects liability period), the EOT relief of 122 days will apply.

If the contract is not in force on 2 November 2020 (e.g. contracts having been terminated), the EOT relief of 122 days will not apply. This is to minimise the risks of unintended knock-on implications that the contractual parties may have effected with third parties or back-to-back arrangement along the value chain.


Cost-Sharing in Construction Contracts
[Updated on 30 November]
Why is there a need for customers to co-share additional costs incurred by contractors, especially when COVID-19 is beyond customers’ control as well?

Most contracts do not have provisions which entitle contractors to claim for additional payment from their customers for loss and expense sustained or incurred by the contractor arising from delay of works attributed to unforeseen events such as the onset of a pandemic like COVID-19, which is beyond both parties’ control.

The cost-sharing relief will require contractual parties to co-share the additional costs arising from COVID-19, which will help ensure that no stakeholder in the construction value chain bears an undue share of the burden caused by the pandemic. Upstream parties, such as developers and main contractors, have an interest and the responsibility to share additional costs for project delivery, so as to minimise the risk of downstream contractors going under, which could in turn have knock-on impact on subcontractors and suppliers.

[Updated on 30 November]
What are the eligibility criteria for the relief on seeking cost-sharing?

Please refer to Section 3.2 of the Guide. The Guide may be downloaded from https://go.gov.sg/bca-guide-cotma-8a-8b.

[Updated on 30 November]
How to obtain the cost-sharing relief? How do we calculate this and make application?

Please refer to Section 3.3 of the Guide. The Guide may be downloaded from https://go.gov.sg/bca-guide-cotma-8a-8b.

[Updated on 30 November]
What items can qualify for the cost-sharing? Why are manpower costs not covered?

Please refer to Section 3.3 of the Guide. The Guide may be downloaded from https://go.gov.sg/bca-guide-cotma-8a-8b.

[Updated on 30 November]
What happens if there are any disputes on the cost-sharing quantum?  Where can I seek help if there are disputes on sharing of qualifying costs?

Please refer to Section 3.3 of the Guide. For more information on the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act, please visit https://www1.bca.gov.sg/regulatory-info/security-of-payment/building-and-construction-industry-security-of-payment-act.


Covid-Safe Accommodation Criteria Support

[Updated on 27 June]
What form of assistance is provided for Construction Temporary Quarters (CTQs) or Temporary Occupation License Quarters (TOLQs) under the COVID-Safe Accommodation Criteria?

The Government provides cashflow assistance for contractors to build CTQs / TOLQs in order to comply with the COVID-Safe Accommodation requirement. Firms may apply for government’s Temporary Bridging Loan Programme (TBLP) to secure low-interest loans in building CTQs/TOLQs. Application for the loans may be made through preferred local banks.


Foreign Worker Levy Waiver and Rebate

[Added on 24 July]
How do I apply for the FWL waiver and rebate for June and July?

On foreign worker levy rebates and waivers, pls refer to MOM's website for more details.

[Updated on 27 June]
Will construction companies be eligible for the extended Foreign Worker Levy waiver and rebate if their projects have yet to restart?

The Foreign Worker Levy waiver and rebate in Jun and Jul 2020 are applicable regardless whether construction firms have started works, subject to MOM’s conditions. For more details, pls refer to MOM’s website.

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