Following is a question by the Hon Ho Chung-tai and a reply by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (October 16):
Regarding industrial safety in demolishing unauthorized structures, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the number of industrial accidents caused by failure to observe the proper procedures in demolishing unauthorized structures and the resultant casualties in the past three years;
(b) of the intended timing for implementing a registration system for minor works contractors, and whether it will stipulate that only registered contractors are allowed to undertake works on demolishing unauthorized structures; and
(c) whether, before implementing the registration system mentioned above, it will strengthen the monitoring of works on demolishing unauthorized structures?
My reply to the Hon Ho Chung-tai's question is as follows:
(a) In the three-year period from 1 October 1999 to 30 September 2002, there was one industrial accident causing one death as a result of non-compliance with proper procedures for the demolition of unauthorized building works issued by the Buildings Department. This case has been referred to the Department of Justice for consideration of further action.
(b) We plan to introduce the Buildings (Amendment) Bill to the Legislative Council in 2003. One of the amendment proposals is the introduction of a registration system for minor works contractors to recognize the qualification of minor works contractors and enhance the regulation of minor works, including the removal of unauthorized building works and building repair. Subject to passage of the Bill by the Legislative Council and the establishment of the register of minor works contractors, we will implement the new control regime for minor works. By then, the removal of unauthorized building works may only be undertaken by registered contractors.
(c) Before the implementation of the minor works contractor registration system, where the removal of unauthorized building works involves the demolition of a building or any substantial or significant part of a building, owners are required by the Buildings Department to appoint an authorized person or a registered structural engineer to supervise the removal works and a registered contractor to carry them out. As for the removal of other unauthorized building works, the Buildings Department will advise building owners to appoint registered building professionals to supervise and registered contractors to carry out the works to ensure their own safety and that of the public. Furthermore, we will provide all the owners concerned a list of registered contractors who are qualified to carry out the removal works. At the same time, the Buildings Department will enhance audit inspections of the removal of unauthorized building works, particularly those that pose a higher risk, to ensure public safety.
End/Wednesday, October 16, 2002