The Government will publish the Buildings (Amendment) Bill 2010 in the Gazette tomorrow (January 22) for implementation of the Mandatory Building Inspection Scheme (MBIS) and Mandatory Window Inspection Scheme (MWIS).
The bill will be introduced into the Legislative Council (LegCo) on February 3.
A spokesman for the Development Bureau said that building neglect had been a long-standing problem in Hong Kong, posing a serious threat to public safety. The main reason was that some owners lacked awareness of building maintenance and did not take seriously the responsibility of regular inspection and maintenance of their own properties.
"Prevention is better than cure. If owners can regularly inspect their buildings, identify problems at an early stage and carry out remedial works, accidents can be avoided. The policy of mandatory building and window inspection has been under preparation for years. The various assistance measures available to owners in need are now ready, and it is a good time to implement the schemes," the spokesman said.
According to the proposals in the bill, under the MBIS, owners of buildings aged 30 years or above (except domestic buildings not exceeding three storeys) will be required to carry out inspections (and, if necessary, repair works) of the common parts, external walls and projections of the buildings every 10 years. Under the MWIS, owners of buildings aged 10 years or above (except domestic buildings not exceeding three storeys) are required to carry out inspections (and, if necessary, repair works) of all windows of the buildings every five years.
The Government conducted rounds of public consultation in 2003 and 2005. The community consensus obtained was that owners should be responsible for proper maintenance and repair of buildings and should shoulder the costs. The Government has also consulted LegCo and professional bodies relating to building inspection and repair on the schemes' operation. The community generally supported the policy direction.
"To dovetail with the implementation of the two mandatory schemes, the Government, in collaboration with the Hong Kong Housing Society and Urban Renewal Authority, will provide appropriate technical and financial assistance to owners in need to help them comply with the statutory requirements," the spokesman said.
Owners in need may apply for grants and loans under the various schemes offered by the Government, Hong Kong Housing Society and Urban Renewal Authority, including a subsidy for the first building inspection provided by the society to eligible owners, and grants for inspection and repair under the Buildings Maintenance Grant Scheme for Elderly Owners to eligible elderly owner-occupiers.
Depending on the progress of scrutiny of the bill by LegCo and enactment of subsidiary legislation, the Government estimates that the two schemes will be implemented in the fourth quarter of 2011 or early 2012 at the earliest.
For details of the legislative proposal and related support measures of the MBIS and MWIS, the relevant LegCo brief and publicity pamphlet can be downloaded from the website of the Development Bureau (www.devb.gov.hk) or Buildings Department (www.bd.gov.hk). The publicity pamphlet is also available at district offices.
Ends/Thursday, January 21, 2010
Issued at HKT 17:45
Windows Media Format