Following is a question by the Hon David Li and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mrs Carrie Lam, in the Legislative Council today (June 18):
In reply to my question at the Council meeting of May 28, 2008, the Government advised that, of the building plans approved by the Building Authority between January 1, 2004 and December 31, 2007, the sites in 125 building plans were located within zones in outline zoning plans ("OZPs") subject to a maximum building height given in metres or metres and number of storeys without reference to metres above the Hong Kong Principal Datum ("mPD"). In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) of the departmental guidelines regarding the determination of "mean site formation level", and whether these guidelines will allow the "mean site formation level" to be established in whole or in part with reference to a point or points located outside the zoned area concerned; if so, of the reasons for that;
(b) among the above 125 building plans, of the number of those which have one or more accesses or egresses at a ground elevation below the "mean site formation level", and for the buildings involved in each of them, the street address, the permitted building use, the elevation above or below the "mean site formation level" for each and every ground level access to or egress from the buildings, the perpendicular distance from the ground level at the lowest access or egress point to the main roof level, as well as the permitted maximum building height prescribed in the relevant OZP; and
(c) whether, in order to enhance public accountability, the Government has any plan to require the publication and retention, on a government web site, of information on the "mean site formation level" and the method of its determination for each approved building plan, in which the maximum building height is given in the relevant OZP in metres or metres and number of storeys without reference to mPD?
(a) As explained in my reply to Dr the Hon David Li's written question on May 28, 2008, the concept of "mean site formation level" is adopted in calculating the height of buildings in cases when the permitted maximum building height prescribed in the relevant outline zoning plan (OZP) has been given in metres only, with no reference to the Hong Kong Principal Datum (mPD). Mean site formation level is a term commonly adopted by the industry. It means in general the average formed level of a site ready for development. While the term is not defined in departmental guidelines, Planning Department, in advising the Building Authority on whether specific building works would contravene any approved or draft plan prepared under the Town Planning Ordinance including on the aspect of building height, calculates the mean site formation level as follows under the two common scenarios:
* where a formed site is completely flat, the mean site formation level is the level of the formed site on which the building stands; and
* where a formed site is not completely flat, the mean site formation level means the average level of the different points of the formed site on which the building stands.
Building height exceeding the restriction stipulated requires permission from the Town Planning Board.
Where there is more than one building in a development project and the buildings are located on different formed sites at various levels, the measurement of the mean site formation level of each building should be confined to the part of the formed site upon which the building stands, rather than the entire site of the development project. In other words, the mean site formation level will not be established with reference to a point or points located outside a building, let alone outside the zoned area concerned.
(b) It has not been possible to go through all of the individual building plans in the time available. As the concern is apparently with buildings with access or egress below the mean site formation level, we consider it more relevant to look at buildings on a formed site that is not flat, i.e. building plans with basements or on sloping or stepped sites. Among the 125 approved building plans, we have identified some 30 belonging to this category and on closer examination, cases where there is no access or egress below the mean site formation level are excluded. This leaves 15 cases and the detailed information of these cases arranged by district is annexed.
(c) As the concept of means site formation level and the method of its determination are technical issues not of interest to the general public, we do not see the need to publish them on the Government website. The Building Authority approves building plans in accordance with the law and takes account of guidelines issued from time to time as Practice Notes for Authorised Persons and Registered Structural Engineers. In any case, information regarding the calculation of building height and building height restriction on an OZP can be provided to an applicant for building plan approval upon request.
Ends/Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Issued at HKT 15:00