Government announces mode of operation of minor works control system

The Government gazetted the Building (Minor Works) Regulation today (March 27) to provide for the modus operandi of a minor works control system to help people carry out small-scale building works through simplified statutory procedures. 
"The minor works control system will not only allow people to employ qualified contractors and practitioners in a more simple and efficient manner, but also create more employment opportunities through the new household minor works validation scheme, " a spokesman for the Development Bureau said.

"The modus operandi announced today is a major step for the implementation of the minor works control system."

Under the new proposal, the existing requirements to seek prior approval for building plans and consent from the Building Authority to begin minor works will be dispensed with.  Minor works will be classified into three classes in the regulation according to their nature, scale and complexity and risk to safety.   

* Class I includes those relatively more complicated minor works, such as installation of internal staircases connecting two floors.

* Class II comprises those of a comparatively lower complexity, such as repair of external walls.

* Class III mainly includes common household minor works, such as erection of supporting frames for air-conditioners.

The degree of control over the three classes of minor works will vary. A person can appoint technical personnel of different qualifications according to the complexity of the works to be carried out.

A "registered minor works contractors" register will be established under the new system.  Existing practitioners with adequate qualifications or experience can register as minor works contractors.  Short top-up training courses will be provided to upgrade their skills and enhance their knowledge of the new legislation.

The Buildings Department will make inspections to ascertain compliance with the statutory requirements and ensure the quality and standard of the minor works conducted.  Disciplinary and prosecution actions will be taken against non-compliance.  

The new household minor works validation scheme aims to rationalise unauthorised minor household structures that are of practical use, including supporting frames for air conditioners, drying racks and small canopies, erected before the introduction of the minor works control system.   

Owners should appoint technical personnel to certify on inspection that the existing unauthorised minor household structures meet safety requirements.  Enforcement action will not be taken by the Buildings Department against the validated structures unless there is a change in their safety conditions, although the legal status of such structures will remain unauthorised.

"The validation scheme will generate demand for building owners to engage technical personnel to conduct inspections and improvement works to existing household minor works.  This will help generate employment opportunities in the building industry," the spokesman said.

An extensive public education campaign will be launched to help the public understand the new legislation. Necessary assistance and support will be offered to the practitioners in the registration and implementation stages.  

Under the existing Buildings Ordinance, building works relating to the construction of a new building are not differentiated from minor building works carried out in existing buildings which are simple in nature. As a consequence, many minor building works are carried out without complying with the law and are therefore unauthorised building works.

The regulation will be tabled at the Legislative Council (Legco) on April 1.  Subject to the scrutiny of the Legco, the new control system can) be implemented by phases in 2009-10.

The details of the minor works control system are available at the homepage of the Buildings Department (  Further enquiries can be made on 2626 1616.

Ends/Friday, March 27, 2009
Issued at HKT 16:09