While owners are primarily responsible for the timely and proper maintenance of their buildings, this term of the Government has spared no efforts in providing financial and technical assistance to needy owners in undertaking requisite maintenance to ensure building safety and improve living environment. Progress of the various subsidy schemes is highlighted below -
- Operation Building Bright 2.0 (OBB 2.0): Two funding injections with a total commitment of $6 billion have been approved with a view to assisting needy owners of 5 000 buildings to undertake maintenance works. As of October 2020, around 1 060 buildings are participating in OBB 2.0. Second round of applications was closed on 30 October 2020. We may accept further rounds of application depending on availability of funds.
- Building Maintenance Grant Scheme for Needy Owners: With a funding injection of $2 billion, an enhanced scheme with an expanded scope of beneficiaries (to cover also needy owner-occupiers on top of elderly owners) was launched on 2 July 2020. Welcomed by the public, some 2 500 applications have been received in four months' time.
- On the Lift Modernisation Subsidy Scheme, the Government injected an additional $2 billion earlier to expand the coverage to about 8 000 lifts. The second round application commenced on 6 January and closed on 30 September this year. About 850 valid applications involving about 3 300 lifts were received. The results would be announced early next year; and
- On the Water Safety Plan Subsidy Scheme (WSPSS), the Government allocated $440 million this year to subsidise around 5 000 private buildings for implementing Water Safety Plan for Buildings. Application for the WSPSS commenced in July this year and will last for five years.
Enforcement against dangerous and abandoned signboards
The Government announced in the 2019 Policy Address that BD would step up the use of new technologies on a pilot basis to enhance the efficiency of enforcement actions against dangerous and abandoned signboards. Major progress is set out below -
- Defective Signboards Diagnostic System: BD plans to deploy vehicles equipped with photogrammetry and/or 3D scanning equipment to patrol areas with a high density of dangerous and abandoned signboards and are busy. The captured digital information would subsequently be analysed through artificial intelligence (AI) trained to identify automatically defective signboards. Pilot run of the system would commence in November 2021.
- Database of Legal Signboard: BD plans to establish a database of legal signboards to facilitate its enforcement actions and the public, including businesses, to identify legal signboards (including those with approved plans or validated under the Signboard Validation Scheme). Information on the first batch of legal signboards would be uploaded to Geoinfo Map around September 2021.
- Use of big data for identifying potential new signboards: BD plans to analyse big data in the public realm (such as property transactions and lease records on commercial premises) to identify businesses that may erect signboards so that BD could provide targeted publicity and disseminate information on relevant regulations. The system would start operating around December 2020.
Updates on progress of development of Common Spatial Data Infrastructure, Geospatial Lab and 3D digital map
In 2020, the development of the Common Spatial Data Infrastructure (CSDI) is taking forward in full swing and progressing satisfactorily with an aim to have the CSDI portal for government use by end 2021 and the public before end-2022, with a wide range of at least 320 standardised spatial datasets from bureaux and departments provided for the public to free download and use.
With rolling out the first phase of Map API and the Interactive Map Dashboard of COVID-19 as two quick wins projects showcasing the applications of spatial data in October 2019 and Feb 2020 respectively, launching of other quick-wins projects is scheduled between end 2020 and 2021.
In October 2020, a Common Spatial Data Advisory Committee comprising different external stakeholders aiming to advise the Government on how best to develop the CSDI to meet the needs of our society and economy was formed. The major engagement projects "Call for CSDI Initiatives" and "Establishment of Geospatial Lab" both aiming to engage the stakeholders to make use of spatial data for developing applications are scheduled to be launched by end 2020 and mid-2021 respectively.
Our target is to produce the 3D digital maps covering the whole territory, including publishing of the 3D pedestrian network data covering built up areas by end 2020 and progressively launching the full-fledged 3D visualisation map and 3D indoor map for 1 250 buildings both by end 2023. A pilot project for full-fledged 3D digital map and 3D indoor map in East Kowloon was commenced in October 2020.