Sintal Enterprise Pte Ltd v Multiplex Constructions Pty Ltd

JurisdictionSingapore
CourtHigh Court (Singapore)
JudgeLai Siu Chiu J
Judgment Date30 September 2004
Neutral Citation[2004] SGHC 223
Citation[2004] SGHC 223
Date30 September 2004
Defendant CounselMonica Neo (ChanTan LLC)
Published date05 October 2004
Plaintiff CounselAndre Maniam (Wong Partnership)
Docket NumberSuit No 243 of 2004 (Registrar's Appeal No 162 of 2004)
Subject MatterWhether claim for set-off meeting requirements of Singapore Institute of Architects Conditions of Sub-contract (2nd Ed, August 1999),Building and Construction Law,Sub-contracts,Whether dispute falling within ambit of arbitration clause in contract,Scope,Agreement,Arbitration,Whether claim for set-off due to delay constituting matter for arbitration,Whether to stay court proceedings in favour of arbitration,Whether general damages claimable in addition to or in place of liquidated damages,Section 6 Arbitration Act (Cap 10, 2002 Rev Ed),Set-off and abatement,Stay of court proceedings,Compensation for delays

30 September 2004

Lai Siu Chiu J:

The background

1 Sintal Enterprise Pte Ltd (the plaintiff) is a Singapore company that supplies and installs stonework (including marble, granite and tiles) for the construction industry. Multiplex Constructions Pty Ltd (the defendant) is an Australian company with a Singapore branch. As its name suggests, the company is in the general building and construction business as well as in the business of providing general building engineering services.

2 On 22 April 2004, the defendant applied by way of Summons in Chambers No 2217 of 2004 (“the application”) for an order that all further proceedings in this action be stayed pursuant to s 6 of the Arbitration Act (Cap 10, 2002 Rev Ed) (“the Act”), the plaintiff and the defendant, having by agreements in writing dated 26 November 2002 and 27 January 2003, agreed to refer to arbitration the matters in respect of which the plaintiff’s claim in this action is brought.

3 The assistant registrar heard the application on 3 June 2004 and ordered all further proceedings in this action be stayed, save for disputes relating to Interim Certificates Nos 27, 28, 29 and 30 (“the Interim Certificates”). The defendant was dissatisfied that the assistant registrar did not order a stay of proceedings for the plaintiff’s claim under the Interim Certificates and filed Registrar’s Appeal No 162 of 2004 (“the Appeal”) against that part of her decision.

4 The Appeal came up for hearing before me on 29 June 2004. I dismissed the Appeal with costs and the defendant has filed a Notice of Appeal against my decision (in Civil Appeal No 61 of 2004). I now give my reasons.

The facts

5 According to the Statement of Claim, the defendant was the main contractor for the construction of a housing development comprising of 360 units in four blocks at Haig Road known as Haig Court Condominium (“the Project”) which was developed by Great Eastern Life Insurance Ltd (“the Employer”).

6 The defendant’s contract with the Employer was dated 3 January 2001 (“the main contract”) under which the completion date for the project was 29 July 2002. By a supplemental agreement dated 13 February 2003 (“the first supplemental agreement”) made between the Employer and the defendant, the completion date was extended to 23 August 2003. By a second supplemental agreement dated 30 June 2003 (“the second supplemental agreement”) made between the parties, the Employer agreed to further extend the completion date of the project to 8 October 2003. The project was eventually completed on or about 16 January 2004 and the Temporary Occupation Permit to purchasers was issued by the relevant authorities on 11 February 2004.

7 The plaintiff was the nominated sub-contractor of the Employer by way of a letter of award dated 4 April 2001 from the project’s architects (Architects 61 Pte Ltd) for the supply of stone finishes for the project. Pursuant thereto, the defendant accepted the plaintiff as a nominated supplier by its letter dated 23 April 2001 (“the Letter of Acceptance”) as well as the plaintiff’s tender price of $2,853,765.60 for the supply of stonework. The Letter of Acceptance concluded with this paragraph:

Unless and until a formal agreement is prepared and executed, your quotation together with this letter of acceptance and the Sub-Contract Documents listed herein shall constitute a legal and binding contract between us.

8 Much later, on 27 January 2003, the plaintiff did enter into a contract with the defendant for the supply of stonework for the Project (“the supply contract”) at a sum of $2,853,765.60. By an earlier contract dated 26 November 2002, the plaintiff was appointed the defendant’s domestic sub-contractor for the supply of labour and materials (“the installation contract”) for the installation of 60% of the stonework for the project, at a sum of $937,767.54.

9 The dates of commencement and completion under the supply contract were 16 January 2001 and 29 July 2002 respectively. The supply contract incorporated the Singapore Institute of Architects Conditions of Sub-contract (2nd Ed, August 1999) (“the SIA sub-contract conditions”) for use in conjunction with the main contract of the defendant.

10 On 26 March 2004, the plaintiff commenced this action. In the Statement of Claim, the plaintiff claimed the following sums:

(a) stonework supplied by the plaintiff,
valued/certified under the Interim
Certificates and paid by the Employer $485,268.55

(b) other stonework supplied under the
supply contract $1,361,138.05

(c) variations under the supply contract $1,119,306.84

(d) installation works (including variations)
under the installation contract $425,947.92

total: $3,391,661.36

11 In addition, the plaintiff claimed damages (to be assessed) for delay. The plaintiff alleged the defendant was in breach of the supply contract as it delayed the plaintiff’s completion from 29 July 2002 to 26 February 2003.

12 Yet another claim by the plaintiff related to the performance bond it had furnished to the defendant in the sum of $142,688.28 (“the guaranteed sum”). It alleged that the defendant, on or about 20 February 2004, made an unlawful demand for the guaranteed sum, which sum the defendant received on or about 24 February 2004. The plaintiff claimed a refund of the guaranteed sum.

13 As stated earlier at [3], the defendant was not satisfied with its partial success on the application. It wanted the plaintiff’s claims under the Interim Certificates also to be stayed and to proceed to arbitration together with the other claims in the Statement of Claim. In relation specifically to the sum of $485,268.55 (“the certified sum”) due under the Interim Certificates, the defendant (in the second affidavit filed by its general manager, S Premanand) had raised a defence of set-off, allegedly for the plaintiff’s delay in supplying the stone materials.

The submissions

The plaintiff’s arguments

14 In the court below, counsel for the plaintiff submitted that the defendant’s right of set-off (if any) for the Interim Certificates was governed by cll 11.4 and 11.5 of the SIA sub-contract conditions which state:

11.4 The Contractor may set off against monies due to the Sub-Contractor under the Sub-Contract, such loss or damage suffered or incurred by him as a result of the failure of the Sub-Contractor to carry out the Sub-Contract Works with diligence or due expedition or to complete the Sub-Contract Works by the date or dates specified in Schedule III hereto or the date or dates as extended until such date as may be certified by the Contractor in his Sub-Contract Completion Certificate.

11.5 Without prejudice to the Sub-Contractor’s rights under general law to dispute any set off by the Contractor, it shall be a condition precedent for such set off by the Contractor that:

(i) the set-off has been quantified in detail with particulars and with reasonable accuracy

(ii) the Contractor has given to the Sub-Contractor written notice specifying his intention to set-off the amount so quantified together with the required details under clause 11.5(i) of this Sub-Contract and the grounds on which such set-off is made

and

(iii) such notice shall be given to the Sub-Contractor not less than 7 days before the date of issuance of the interim certificate for payment which includes in the amount stated as payable, the amount due to the Sub-Contractor from which the Contractor intends to make the set-off.

15 Pursuant to cll 11.4 and 11.5(ii) above, the defendant issued four notices to the...

To continue reading

Request your trial
2 cases
  • Multiplex Constructions Pty Ltd v Sintal Enterprise Pte Ltd
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 3 Marzo 2005
    ...along with the remaining disputes between the parties. The decision below 11 Before we go to the judge’s findings (reported at [2004] 4 SLR 841), it would be helpful for the relevant contractual provisions to be set out. These are: (a) cl 10.00 of the letter of acceptance: CONTRACT PERIOD A......
  • Multiplex Constructions Pty Ltd v Sintal Enterprise Pte Ltd
    • Singapore
    • Court of Three Judges (Singapore)
    • 3 Marzo 2005
    ...along with the remaining disputes between the parties. The decision below 11 Before we go to the judge’s findings (reported at [2004] 4 SLR 841), it would be helpful for the relevant contractual provisions to be set out. These (a) cl 10.00 of the letter of acceptance: CONTRACT PERIOD AND LI......
2 books & journal articles
  • Arbitration
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2005, December 2005
    • 1 Diciembre 2005
    ...as applicable to both domestic and international arbitration agreements: see Sintal Enterprise Pte Ltd v Multiplex Constructions Pty Ltd[2004] 4 SLR 841; MAE Engineering Ltd v Dragages Singapore Pte Ltd[2002] 3 SLR 45; JDC Corporation v Lightweight Concrete Pte Ltd[1999] 1 SLR 615; Kwan Im ......
  • Building and Construction Law
    • Singapore
    • Singapore Academy of Law Annual Review Nbr. 2005, December 2005
    • 1 Diciembre 2005
    ...(‘SIA’) form of contract in relation to set-offs had been considered in Sintal Enterprise Pte Ltd v Multiplex Constructions Pty Ltd[2004] 4 SLR 841 (HC), Multiplex Constructions Pty Ltd v Sintal Enterprise Pte Ltd[2005] 2 SLR 530 (CA) in the context of an application for stay in favour of a......

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT