LCQ1: Lift worksFollowing is a question by the Hon Ho Chung-tai and a reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (May 20):
Lift works include the installation, maintenance and repair work etc. for lifts. Lift engineers registered under the Lifts and Escalators (Safety) Ordinance are qualified to carry out lift works in private buildings, yet unlike the engineers who carry out builder's lift works, they are not required to be persons registered under the Engineers Registration Ordinance as registered professional engineers within the relevant engineering disciplines. Regarding the registration requirements for persons carrying out lift and escalator works, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) why the registration requirements for engineers qualified to carry out lift works in private buildings are lower than those for engineers qualified to carry out builder's lift works, as well as the major considerations for that;
(b) of the current number of lift engineers registered under the Lifts and Escalators (Safety) Ordinance; and
(c) given the continuous updating and advancement in technologies of lifts and escalators, whether the authorities have considered amending the legislation to stipulate that only registered professional engineers within the relevant engineering disciplines may register as lift engineers or escalator engineers; if not, of the reasons for that?
On the quality of lift maintenance, the Administration briefed the Legislative Council Panel on Development and Panel on Housing on December 8, 2008 on the lift regulatory regime with proposals for enhancing lift safety, and undertook to monitor the implementation and effectiveness of the proposed measures. On February 24, 2009, we reported to the Panels on a series of lift safety enhancement measures, including reviewing the existing legislations, stepping up training for workers, improving the Code of Practice for Lift Works and procurement arrangements, as well as strengthening publicity and public education. One of the areas we will review is the qualifications and experience required for registered lift engineers and registered escalator engineers. In this connection, the Administration undertook to consult the industry and professional bodies.
My reply to the three-part question is follows:
(a) The Lifts and Escalators (Safety) Ordinance (the Ordinance) was enacted in 1960, under which the Section on "Registers of lift engineers and escalator engineers and qualifications for inclusion therein" was made in 1987, that is, at a time before the system of registered professional engineers was put in place. When the qualification requirements for lift engineers and escalator engineers were formulated, the qualification and training level requirements most suitable for the regulation of the industry at that time were considered.
The Builders' Lifts and Tower Working Platforms (Safety) Ordinance in question was enacted in 1995 when the system of registered professional engineers had been in place. As such, any person who wants to be a builder's lift engineer must be registered as a professional engineer. He must also possess at least one-year experience in the installation, testing and examination of builders' lifts as they are installed on uncompleted facades of buildings in construction sites and their heights of movement need to be adjusted to tie in with works progress.
(b) Currently there are 238 lift engineers registered under the Ordinance. Among them 16 are registered professional engineers.
(c) Given the continuous advancement in technologies of lifts and escalators as well as higher safety standards, the Administration is reviewing the qualification requirements for engineers registered under the Ordinance. The Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, in collaboration with the industry, Hong Kong Institution of Engineers and International Association of Elevator Engineers (Hong Kong-China Branch), has set up a task force to discuss and advise on the formulation of the qualification requirements. At its first meeting held on April 14, 2009, the task force agreed in principle on upgrading the qualifications, including further study on the introduction of "registered professional engineer" as a qualification requirement for registered lift and escalator engineers.
Subject to the findings and recommendations of the task force, the Administration will draw up a proposal on legislative amendments and conduct consultation exercises to ensure that the proposed amendments will meet the technical requirements, the needs of the industry's development and public expectations. The reasonable interests of practitioners will also be taken into consideration.
Ends/Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Issued at HKT 13:38