FactWire found that the government’s prosecution against the scandal-plagued Shatin to Central Link project’s main contractor concerns only a plant room of approximately 200 square feet, without mentioning the other exposed problems regarding rebars and coupler connections.
Concerns surrounding steel reinforcement fixing works are discussed in the final report of the Commission of Inquiry into the project’s Hung Hom station extension works, published on May 12 of last year. It states the ‘unacceptable incidents of poor workmanship’, in which both the MTR Company Limited and the main contractor Leighton (Contractors) Asia Limited ‘were responsible for serious deficiencies in their management and supervision systems.’
Certain parts of the report are redacted, so as to avoid ‘any prejudice to the relevant criminal investigations and criminal prosecutions’. Three days after the report was published, the Buildings Department prosecuted Leighton with accordance to the Buildings Ordinance, as stated by the Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan in June of 2020.
The case’s first mention was originally scheduled on the 27th of last month, but Leighton applied for an adjournment. The case was rescheduled for plea on April 21, according to the Judiciary.
According to the summons, Leighton was charged of being as a registered general building contractor, permitted or authorised to be incorporated in or used in the carrying out of any such inspection or works any materials, which have not been mixed, prepared, applied, used, erected, constructed, placed or fixed in the manner required for such materials under the Building Ordinance, when carrying out the construction works of the steel reinforced concrete footings in a variable refrigerant volume (VRV) plant room on June 30, 2017, contravening sections 40(2A)(a)(ii) of the Building Ordinance.
FactWire checked the layout plan from an MTR report and found that the VRV plant room of concern in the summons is approximately 200 square feet, accounting for a very small area of the entire Hung Hom station extension site.
The report by MTR, titled ‘Shatin to Central Link Final Verification Study Report on As-constructed Conditions of the North Approach Tunnels, South Approach Tunnels and Hung Hom Stabling Sidings’, states that concreting of the VRV plant room was not accepted by the MTR and would be rectified by Leighton. It was because the RISC forms for the coupler installation in the room, which are to ensure works are up to standard, were rejected prior to concrete pouring.
Other construction irregularities that concern the public include rebars being cut short, defective rebar-coupler connections, the mismatch of couplers with threaded rebars in their lengths, and the missing of many RISC forms for works in the North and South Approach Tunnels and Hung Hom Stabling Sidings. These problems are not mentioned in the prosecution against Leighton.