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Legislative Council Question 8 : "GFA and premium for green features for residential developments" by the Hon Fernando Cheung and a written reply by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council

Following is a question by the Hon Fernando Cheung and a written reply by the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, in the Legislative Council today (October 25):


At the Legislative Council meeting held on 26 April this year, the Government, in its answer to my question about the residential property projects that had been granted additional floor areas for green features since the implementation of the policy to promote the construction of green and innovative buildings, pointed out that 117 projects were involved. Will the Government provide information on those projects in the attached table?


Madam President,

According to the Joint Practice Note (JPN) Nos. 1 and 2 issued respectively in February 2001 and February 2002 by the Buildings Department, the Lands Department and the Planning Department, incentives are provided to encourage the incorporation of green features in building developments by exemption of the green features from the calculation of gross floor area (GFA). Prior to the implementation of the policy to promote green buildings, various stakeholders, including professional institutes, the industry and the relevant Legislative Council Panel have been consulted.

As previously explained by the Administration, not all green features would attract land premium. Land premium is generally payable in respect of those green features that form part of the individual flats in the building and are for the exclusive possession and enjoyment of the owners and residents. These green features include balconies, utility platforms and non-structural prefabricated external walls. Other green features which are communal in nature serving all owners and residents of the development and do not involve exclusive possession and enjoyment by owners of the individual flats (e.g. wider common corridors and lift lobbies, communal sky gardens and mail delivery room with mail boxes) are not subject to the payment of land premium. Subject to the relevant lease conditions, payment of land premium may be required in respect of the exemption of GFA of the relevant type of green features.

We have informed the Legislative Council in our reply to the question raised in April 2006 that 117 residential projects with green features had been completed since the implementation of the policy. As providing the requested breakdown of GFA for green features in the 117 residential projects would involve a massive amount of work and manpower to retrieve relevant information from land premium payment records, lease documents and approved building plans and detailed checking to ensure accuracy, we have difficulty in acceding to the request. Besides, the amount of premium where payable for each case was calculated based on standard rates as promulgated in the relevant Practice Notes of the Lands Department at the time when permission for GFA exemption was granted. Such standard rates are subject to annual review. As such, it would be inappropriate and misleading to compare the level of land premium, which were paid at different points in time, among these past cases.

Notwithstanding the above, we have retrieved the requested information on GFA and premium paid for green features for 5 recent residential developments as set out in the Annex, to serve as examples for reference.

We have not provided the current market values for the green features as it is inappropriate to assess the current market values of the green features and compare with the amount of premium paid for those features. Firstly, not all of the green features attract payment of premium. Secondly, current market values and the premium paid for green features are assessed at different points in time. Thirdly, current market values are assessed based on the prices of completed units while premium reflects the land value.

Ends/Wednesday, October 25, 2006
Issued at HKT 13:18