AFTER months of delays and uncertainty, scores of Hong Kong residents who invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in a luxury residential and commercial development in Nan Hai, have received assurance their flats will be built. The Guangdong project was stalled by a dispute among its builders. Sources familiar with it say new developers have given a written undertaking to fulfil all obligations in the original contracts. The project originally was a joint venture involving a Hong Kong builder - the Shun Cheong Group - and a mainland partner, a quasi-governmental group. During the pre-sale investors were required to lodge deposits of 30 per cent, resulting in a $30 million collect for the developers. However, before construction of the project was finished, the joint-venture partners fell out and construction, which was expected to be completed by last year, was stalled. 'The situation was that there was a legal dispute between the joint-venture partners,' the source said. 'As a result, things got frozen.' Thomas Yau, associate director with Ricacorp Properties, who was involved in selling commercial property at the development, says Shun Cheong has been replaced by a new consortium comprising On Sing of Hong Kong and mainland investors, who have resumed construction of the project. He said On Sing had made arrangements to enter into new contracts with the investors. It also had agreed to pay an interest penalty for delay of construction and had promised the flats would be ready by the end of the year, Mr Yau said. Estate agents familiar with the Nan Hai development said the controversy surrounding the project underlined the fact that while any investment involved some degree of risk, this was doubly true of property investment on the mainland. The Consumer Council in Hong Kong says investors in mainland projects should familiarise themselves fully with the particulars of any development, and investigate the financial soundness of the developers involved. The situation is changing. Recently, the Chinese government passed the Urban Real Estate Administration Law, which sets out the responsibilities of purchasers, sellers and developers. Ricacorp's Mr Yau said there was only a slim chance such problems could occur now in China.