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Subsidiary legislation to implement mandatory building and window inspection schemes

The Government will gazette four pieces of subsidiary legislation this Friday (October 28) to facilitate the implementation of the Mandatory Building Inspection Scheme (MBIS) and Mandatory Window Inspection Scheme (MWIS).

A spokesman for the Development Bureau said today (October 26) that the four pieces of subsidiary legislation are designed to implement the two mandatory schemes which form a crucial part of the Government's multi-pronged approach to enhance building safety in Hong Kong. Under the two schemes, the Building Authority (BA) is empowered to require building owners to carry out periodic inspections and necessary repair works for the regular maintenance of their buildings.

The Buildings (Amendment) Ordinance 2011 enacted in June 2011 outlines the framework and principles of the MBIS and MWIS. Based on this framework, the Secretary for Development has drawn up four pieces of subsidiary legislation, namely, Building (Inspection and Repair) Regulation, Building (Administration) (Amendment) Regulation 2011, Building (Minor Works) (Amendment) Regulation 2011 and Buildings (Amendment) Ordinance 2011 (Commencement) Notice 2011, to provide for the modus operandi of the two schemes.

The four pieces of subsidiary legislation will cover the following key features:

* procedural requirements;
* registration as Registered Inspectors (for MBIS);
* qualification and representative of Qualified Persons (for MWIS);
* scope and standard of Prescribed Inspections;
* detailed investigation (for MBIS);
* prescribed repairs in respect of buildings and windows; and
* voluntary compliance.

Following the gazettal this Friday, the subsidiary legislation will be tabled at the Legislative Council (LegCo) for negative vetting on November 2. Subject to scrutiny by LegCo, the Buildings Department (BD) will start registering Registered Inspectors, who will be qualified to carry out building inspections and supervise repair works under the MBIS, from December 30, 2011.

"The BD aims to start issuing advisory letters informing owners of target buildings of the statutory inspection requirements in the second quarter of 2012, while the statutory notices requiring the inspection of buildings and windows under the two schemes are expected to be issued to these owners in the last quarter of 2012.

"We fully recognise that a prerequisite for the success of the MBIS/MWIS is the provision of adequate assistance to owners in need. In this connection, we have already made arrangements for the Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS) and the Urban Renewal Authority (URA) to offer technical advice and financial assistance to facilitate compliance by building owners with the statutory notices during the various stages of building inspection and repair under the two schemes," the spokesman said.

Each building served with a notice for MBIS or MWIS will be assigned a single contact point, either from HKHS or URA, so that owners will have access to a "one stop" service for enquiries and assistance. Regarding financial assistance, the HKHS and URA will subsidise eligible owners in need the full cost (subject to a cap) of the first building inspection under the MBIS. The BD, HKHS and URA will also provide financial assistance for the required repair works under their various existing schemes, including the Integrated Building Maintenance Assistance Scheme and the Comprehensive Building Safety Improvement Loan Scheme. Elderly owners in need can also apply for the Building Maintenance Grant Scheme for Elderly Owners. Details of the financial assistance scheme can be obtained from the web sites of the HKHS and URA (www.hkhs.com/eng/business/pm_ibmas.asp and www.ura.org.hk/en/schemes/maintenance.html).

The MBIS will cover private buildings aged 30 years or above and the MWIS will cover private buildings aged 10 years or above, except for domestic buildings not exceeding three storeys in height. Building owners will be required to carry out an inspection once every 10 years. For the MWIS, inspection has to be carried out every five years. The BA intends to issue notices for MBIS and MWIS to 2,000 and 5,800 target buildings every year. The target buildings will be selected by a panel comprising representatives from relevant government departments, professional bodies, non-government organisations, property management associations and District Council members.

Apart from the MBIS and MWIS, building owners are encouraged to carry out inspections and repair to their buildings voluntarily. The HKHS will implement the Voluntary Building Assessment Scheme (VBAS) to give positive recognition to buildings with proper management and maintenance. Those buildings or the relevant parts thereof certified by the VBAS will be recognised by the BD as having fulfilled the requirements under the MBIS and MWIS within the respective inspection cycles. A publicity campaign for the VBAS will be launched before it accepts applications in the second quarter of 2012.

 

Ends/Wednesday, October 26, 2011
Issued at HKT 18:33

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