The Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen has urged people to speak up about building safety and actively express their views on the consultation paper on Mandatory Building Inspection.
Speaking today (November 27) at the opening ceremony of the Building Management and Maintenance Carnival jointly organised by the Buildings Department (BD), the Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS) and the Urban Renewal Authority (URA), Mr Suen said there were currently about 13,000 private buildings that were 30 years and older. They represented one-third of the total number of private buildings in Hong Kong. In 10 years' time, the number of old buildings would increase to 22,000.
"There is a real urgency for us to put in place appropriate measures to stop the problem of building neglect," Mr Suen said.
"The community's support is crucial for putting in place a long-term solution to the building neglect problem."
Based on the community consensus in the first-stage public consultation on building management and maintenance in 2004 that owners had the responsibility to properly upkeep their buildings and bear the necessary financial commitment, and that the community generally favour mandatory building inspection as a long-term solution to building neglect problem, the Government last month launched a three-month public consultation on Mandatory Building Inspection. The consultation paper covers the implementation details of a proposed Mandatory Building Inspection Scheme and options to enhance window safety and relevant support measures.
"We fully appreciate the need to provide assistance to elderly owners or owners with financial difficulties to carry out building maintenance," Mr Suen said. "We are glad to have the support of the HKHS and the URA to enhance their assistance to owners in building management and maintenance."
Also officiating at today's ceremony were Director of Buildings Mr Marco Wu, Chairman of the HKHS Mr David C Lee, Executive Director of the HKHS Miss Wong Lai-chun, Chairman of the URA Mr Edward Cheng Wai-sun, Managing Director of the URA, Mr Billy Lam Chung-lun and the newly appointed Building Management and Maintenance Scheme Ambassadors of the HKHS, Miss Myolie Wu and Mr Charles Szeto.
The carnival was held at Kowloon Park, Tsim Sha Tsui. The event included performances by popular singers and artistes. Exhibition and game booths were set up at the venue by various government departments and non-governmental organisations to promote proper building care.
Ends/Sunday, November 27, 2005
Issued at HKT 15:23