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Government strives to promote innovative and green buildings

The Government is sparing no effort in promoting innovative and environmentally friendly design of buildings. To achieve this, a number of measures will be introduced with a view to fostering a quality living environment, the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen, said today (March 17).

"Innovation, environmentally friendly design and sustainability of buildings as well as a long-term and programmed maintenance and repair package are all prerequisites for maintaining Hong Kong's position as a world-class metropolitan city," Mr Suen said during a keynote address at the 5th Annual Seminar "Tall Building Construction and Maintenance" held by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers' Building Division.

Mr Suen noted that the Government was conducting a review of the Buildings Ordinance, codes of practice, practice notes and guidelines so that the building standards could keep pace with changes over time and be efficient, allowing designers to have more room for creativity and design flexibility.

Apart from the review, the Buildings Department is also further enhancing the sustainability of the development of buildings by encouraging innovation and environmentally friendly building design as well as assisting in energy saving.

"On the aspect of sustainable development, the Provisional Construction Industry Co-ordination Board will set up a task force to study the Comprehensive Environmental Performance Assessment Scheme (CEPAS) for buildings," Mr Suen said.

In order to ensure the provision of barrier free access in tall buildings to cater for the needs of different people and to tie in with changes in building design and social conditions, Mr Suen said the Government had commissioned a consultant to review the design requirements under the current "Design Manual - Barrier Free Access 1997", and that the consultant had already compiled a draft for the new design manual. Through the review, the design of access in tall buildings would hopefully be further improved.

Referring to the consultation on Mandatory Building Inspection Scheme which ended last Wednesday (March 15), Mr Suen said, "There is one point which is very consistent in the public views received during the recent round and the first-stage consultations. That is, the majority are supportive of regular mandatory inspection and maintenance of buildings, and that property owners should bear the necessary costs.

"We also received a lot of comments on the need for sufficient technical and financial support to help property owners fulfil their responsibility. We will, in the coming months, carefully consider the various views solicited during the consultation period and will formulate a clear and detailed scheme as well as the implementation plan."

Ends/Friday, March 17, 2006
Issued at HKT 14:47