Government to simplify control over minor building works

The Government was planning to introduce a minor works control system under the Buildings Ordinance to apply an appropriate level of control and regulation over building works in accordance with their nature, complexity and safety needs, the Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands, Mr Michael Suen said today (March 12)

Addressing the 6th annual seminar organised by the Building Division of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, Mr Suen said the control system would provide a simple and efficient statutory route for the public to carry out minor building works.

Under the current Buildings Ordinance, all kinds of buildings works, despite their scale and complexity, are governed by one single control regime.

Building owners have to appoint registered building professionals as well as registered building contractors to carry out all building works. Prior approval and consent from the Building Authority have to be sought before the commencement of works.

Mr Suen said that while such a regime provided very stringent control over building works, in reality, many building works such as repair of windows, installation of supporting frames for air conditioners and erection of small signboards, were very simple and small scale.

"Under the minor works regime, we are proposing, we require only the submission of a report to the authority by the relevant contractors or building professionals upon completion of such works. We have dispensed with the requirement of their prior approval.

"The new minor works control system will provide building owners with a simple, safe and effective route to conduct minor building works. It will rationalise building control, improve the quality of building works and at the same time maintain building safely," Mr Suen said.

Under the proposed control system, building owners should, according to the category and type of minor works, hire registered minor works contractors to carry out such works. For small-scale household minor works such as installation of supporting frames for air conditioners, there will be no need to appoint authorised persons or registered building professionals.

"Nevertheless, regarding larger scale minor works such as those involving more substantial additions and alternations, the co-ordination from authorised persons and professionals will still be required," Mr Suen said.

The Buildings Department has established a working group to map out and refine the details of the minor works control system proposal, the membership of which comprises the relevant building professional bodies, the Hong Kong Construction Association and the Minor Works Concern Group.

The group has consulted widely the relevant stakeholders on the proposal, and organised four open seminars to introduce the proposed system and exchange views with the relevant stakeholders in November and December last year.

"Having regard to the views collected, we are finalising the proposal and we plan to introduce the Buildings (Amendment) Bill into the Legislative Council within the current legislative year," Mr Suen said.

The Buildings Department will continue its exchange of ideas with the industry to seek their further views on the supporting measures and other details for the proposal, with a view to ensuring the smooth implementation of the new control system after its introduction.

Ends/Monday, March 12, 2007
Issued at HKT 16:47