Robertson Quay Investment Pte Ltd v Steen Consultants Pte Ltd and Others

JurisdictionSingapore
JudgeChoo Han Teck J
Judgment Date05 March 2007
Neutral Citation[2007] SGHC 30
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
Published date07 March 2007
Year2007
Plaintiff CounselChua Sui Tong (Wong Partnership)
Defendant CounselJohn Morris (Drew & Napier LLC)
Citation[2007] SGHC 30

5 March 2007

Judgment reserved.

Choo Han Teck J:

1 The plaintiff in this action was the owner and developer of the building known as “The Gallery Hotel” (“the hotel”). The first defendant was the company that provided the civil and engineering services in the construction of the hotel. The second defendant was the person employed by the first defendant, known as “the official checker”. The plaintiff subsequently discontinued the action against the second defendant. The third defendant was the engineer responsible for the drawings in respect of the structural drawings for the project. The drawings were done in 1996 but was found by the second defendant to be underdesigned, and thus were corrected and then submitted to the building authorities in 1997. Unfortunately, the building contractor was given the uncorrected 1996 version of the drawings and that resulted in some structural columns being under built and rectification was thus necessary. The remedial work resulted in a delay of 101 days, from 1 September 1999 to 10 December 1999 (“the period of delay”).

2 The plaintiff sued the defendants in this action in July 2005. The first and third defendants admitted liability and interlocutory judgment was entered against them with damages to be assessed. Damages for the costs of the remedial work had already been paid. The defendants were, however, dissatisfied with the following items of assessment by the assistant registrar –

i. Management fees and remuneration for executive directors of the plaintiff - $49,612.77

ii. Consultant charges - $19,935.48

iii. Management staff salaries - $88,141.37

iv. Interest on loans from shareholders and other related parties - $279,363.82

v. Interest on bank loans and overdraft facilities - $215,859.84

vi. Loss of rental income for adjoining units - $46,516.13

3 Interest was also awarded at the rate of 6% from the date of the writ to the date of payment. The plaintiff cross-appealed on the loss of rental income claimed at $276,882, which claim was dismissed by the assistant registrar. Mr Chua, counsel for the plaintiff, informed the court at the hearing of the appeals that the plaintiff would proceed with its cross-appeal only in the event that the defendants succeeded in its appeal.

4 The two main items of the defendants’ appeal are related, namely, items (iv) and (v) and so I shall consider them last. Mr Morris, counsel for the defendants, informed me at the hearing of these appeals that item (ii) had been resolved. I shall first consider item (i) of the defendants’ appeal concerning the amount of $49,612.77 awarded for the loss in terms of management fees and remuneration for the executive directors of the plaintiff. These were the fees paid to a company called “Assobuild Realty Pte Ltd” and the plaintiff’s executive directors. The plaintiff had agreed to pay this company and its executive directors to supervise and manage the construction of the project. So far as the evidence showed, there was no challenge to this or the evidence of the plaintiff’s managing director Mr Ngo Soo Hiong that the pro rata payment for the additional 101 days was excessive. Mr John submitted that the plaintiff had not proved its loss on this item. His main contention was that the plaintiff did not provide the detailed account of the fees payable. This was strictly a matter of fact upon which the assistant registrar below had found on the testimony of the witnesses. I see no clear error that warranted any interference with the findings below. The appeal on this item is accordingly dismissed.

5 As item (ii) was no longer in issue, I next consider item (iii) which was salary paid to management staff, which came to a total of $88,141.37. Mr John argued that this would be payment for the salary of the managing operator’s staff and not that of the plaintiff. Mr Chua submitted that the evidence relating to this item was adduced through Mr Ngo and was not challenged. Paragraphs 36 to 38 of Mr Ngo’s affidavit of evidence-in-chief deposed that commencement of the third party’s (Gallery Hotel) management contract was delayed by the remedial work, and in the meantime the essential key staff that were employed had to be paid, and it was the plaintiff who paid them. Mr John referred to two short questions he posed to the witness in cross-examination. The questions established, vaguely, that the management staff were not the plaintiff’s...

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4 cases
  • Robertson Quay Investment Pte Ltd v Steen Consultants Pte Ltd and Another
    • Singapore
    • Court of Appeal (Singapore)
    • 29 Febrero 2008
    ...suit”), against the decision of the trial judge (“the Judge”) in Robertson Quay Investment Pte Ltd v Steen Consultants Pte Ltd [2007] SGHC 30 (“Robertson Quay”). Essentially, Robertson Quay concerned cross-appeals by the respective parties to this appeal against the award of damages made by......
  • PP v Lim Ah Seng
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 26 Marzo 2007
    ...s/o Veeriah [2005] SGHC 221 (refd) R v Wiskich [2000] SASC 64 (refd) Robertson Quay Investment Pte Ltd v Steen Consultants Pte Ltd [2007] SGHC 30 (refd) Seah Kok Meng v PP [2001] 2 SLR (R) 24; [2001] 3 SLR 135 (refd) Sim Gek Yong v PP [1995] 1 SLR (R) 185; [1995] 1 SLR 537 (refd) Tan Kay Be......
  • Robertson Quay Investment Pte Ltd v Steen Consultants Pte Ltd and Another
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 29 Febrero 2008
    ...suit”), against the decision of the trial judge (“the Judge”) in Robertson Quay Investment Pte Ltd v Steen Consultants Pte Ltd [2007] SGHC 30 (“Robertson Quay”). Essentially, Robertson Quay concerned cross-appeals by the respective parties to this appeal against the award of damages made by......
  • Public Prosecutor v Lim Ah Seng
    • Singapore
    • High Court (Singapore)
    • 26 Marzo 2007
    ...by analogy to similar cases, as noted by Choo Han Teck J in Robertson Quay Investment Pte Ltd v Steen Consultants Pte Ltd and Others [2007] SGHC 30 at [8], an inherent difficulty with analogies is that they are often not the same as the thing or situation they are being compared with. Only ......
2 books & journal articles
  • Building and Construction Law
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2007, December 2007
    • 1 Diciembre 2007
    ...pre-estimate of its loss. Claims for loss of interest 6.25 The High Court in Robertson Quay Investment Pte Ltd v Steen Consultants Pte Ltd[2007] SGHC 30 reaffirmed that the basis for the recovery of loss of interest in respect of delays in a construction project must be brought within the r......
  • Building and Construction Law
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review No. 2008, December 2008
    • 1 Diciembre 2008
    ...rental income in respect of the hotel. On appeal, the High Court upheld (in Robertson Quay Investment Pte Ltd v Steen Consultants Pte Ltd[2007] SGHC 30) the assistant registrar”s award of damages for most of the heads of claim, but set aside the award of $495,223.66 for the interest which t......

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