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LC: Secretary for Development's speech on Motion to amend the Building (Planning) (Amendment) Regulation 2008 made under the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance

Following is the speech by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, on Motion to amend the Building (Planning) (Amendment) Regulation 2008 made under the Interpretation and General Clauses Ordinance at the Legislative Council today (July 12) (translation):

Madam President,

I rise to move the motion on the Agenda to amend the Building (Planning) (Amendment) Regulation 2008. ("the Amendment Regulation").

Together with the Secretary for Labour and Welfare and the relevant departments, I would like to express our gratitude to the Honourable Emily Lau, and the Subcommittee under her chairmanship, who has conducted a number of meetings to discuss the Amendment Regulation and tendered invaluable advice. The Subcommittee has also invited relevant stakeholders to express their views. Having carefully considered comments from various parties, the Administration has proposed to make further amendments to the Amendment Regulation.

The purpose of the Amendment Regulation is to enhance the design requirements governing the provision of facilities to allow access to and the use of buildings and the associated facilities by persons with a disability to tie in with the revised design requirements set out in the Design Manual: Barrier Free Access 2008.

The Administration conducted a review of the Design Manual: Barrier Free Access 1997 with a view to enhancing the design requirements of the facilities provided for the disabled taking into account of the expectation of the community and advancement in building technology. Having conducted extensive consultation and considered the views from the relevant parties, the Design Manual: Barrier Free Access 2008 was finalized in late 2007. The new Design Manual introduces a series of new requirements, such as the provision of access to backstage facilities of auditoriums for persons with a disability; introduction of detailed requirements on the number, size and signage of parking spaces; improvement of directional signage; and specification of minimum illumination levels for corridor, stair and lift lobby for persons with visual impairment, etc.

The Amendment Regulation seeks to amend the Third Schedule to the relevant regulations for implementation of the revised design requirements set out in the Design Manual: Barrier Free Access 2008 and to define the extent of the application of these design requirements in different types of buildings.

The Subcommittee has made a number of comments on the Amendment Regulation. Having considered Members' comments, the Administration now proposes to make the following amendments to clarify the requirements under the Amendment Regulation:

(a) Under section 5 of the Amendment Regulation, section 4(1) and 4(2) of Part 2 of the new Third Schedule specify the number of wheelchair spaces to be provided in auditoriums with fixed seats. The revised provision will clearly state that where an auditorium has less than 800 fixed seats at spectator level, no less than four wheelchair spaces shall be provided at the spectator level. Where the premises has more than 800 fixed seats at spectator level, no less than two wheelchair spaces shall be provided for every 400 fixed seats or any part thereof;

(b) Hotels, hostels and guesthouses are premises for accommodation, hence should be deemed as domestic buildings or the domestic part of composite buildings. Although it is stated under section 7 of the new Third Schedule that all hotels, hostels and guest-houses shall provide accessible guestrooms, Part 4 of the new Third Schedule provides that only the common areas of domestic buildings or domestic part of composite buildings shall provide access and facilities for the use of the disabled. In order to make it clear that hotels, hostels and guest-houses shall comply with section 7 of the new Third Schedule to provide accessible guestrooms, we propose amending Part 4 of the new Third Schedule by specifying that the premises required to be designed with facilities to allow access to and the use of such premises by persons with a disability include the accessible guestrooms in hotels, hostels and guesthouses;

(c) Similarly, Division 12 of Part 2 of the new Third Schedule seeks to specify the relevant design requirements for bathrooms and shower compartments in the accessible guestrooms of hotels, hostels and guest-houses. To set out clearly the extent of application of Division 12, we propose including a provision in Division 12 stating that the Division applies only to accessible guestrooms in hotels, hostels and guest-houses to tie in with relevant requirements contained in the Design Manual: Barrier Free Access 2008; and

(d) We propose to make some technical amendments to the wordings of section 86 of the new Third Schedule.

The relevant amendments are supported by the Subcommittee. I hope Members would support the motion.

Madam President, I beg to move the above motion.

Ends/Saturday, July 12, 2008
Issued at HKT 18:41

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