LCQ5: Construction and demolition waste generated from site offices in public works projects

Following is a question by the Hon Wu Chi-wai and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today (June 4):


I have learnt that government departments, such as the Highways Department and the Civil Engineering and Development Department, erect temporary structures on construction sites from time to time for use as offices. Such temporary structures will be demolished and not be reused after the completion of the works, thus generating a substantial quantity of construction waste. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the number of temporary structures erected on construction sites for use by personnel of government departments as well as the expenditure so incurred in each of the past five years, with a breakdown by the names of departments;

(2) of the number of such temporary structures demolished and quantity of construction waste (in tonne) so generated in each of the past five years; and

(3) whether there are any policies or guidelines currently in place that require or encourage government departments to use recyclable building materials as far as possible for the erection of such temporary structures; if so, of the details, and whether it has monitored the implementation of such policies or guidelines by the government departments concerned; if there is no policy or guideline, whether the authorities will consider formulating the relevant policies or guidelines?



The Government is committed to reducing the generation of construction and demolition (C&D) waste (Note: "C&D waste" refers to the non-inert construction and demolition materials generated in construction works and disposed of at landfills.) in public works. To this end, we have applied the concepts of standardisation, simplification and single integrated element, and used prefabricated components as far as possible during the design and construction of works. When metal formwork is used for manufacturing these elements and prefabricated components, they can be used repeatedly to reduce disposal of waste formwork material. Contractors are also required to submit an Environmental Management Plan (EMP) to the Architect/ Engineer for approval under the public works contracts. In addition to waste reduction measures and targets, the EMP provides for sorting of the C&D materials on site to facilitate recovery and recycling.

According to the statistics of the Environmental Protection Department, about 3 440 tonnes of C&D waste was disposed of at landfills each day in 2012 on average. We conducted a rough survey of the C&D waste generated by public works in December 2013. The result indicates that the C&D waste generated by public works and disposed of at landfills in that month averaged about 180 tonnes a day and, by inference, accounted for about 5 per cent of the total C&D waste.

My reply to the three parts of the question raised by the Hon Wu is as follows:

(1) A breakdown by department of the number of resident site staff offices erected for public works projects and the expenditure incurred each year over the past five years is shown in Annex 1.

(2) The number of resident site staff offices demolished in public works projects and the amount of C&D waste generated each year over the past five years are listed in Annex 2.

The above C&D wastes are mainly decoration debris generated from the demolition of resident site staff offices, including unserviceable or damaged vinyl floor sheeting, carpets, partitions, false ceiling grids, window glasses, insulation fibres, etc., which could not be reused.

(3) The Project Administration Handbook for public works stipulates that the works departments concerned should consider the possibility of re-using resident staff offices of completed projects before erecting any such offices for new works projects. If construction of new resident site offices is necessary, they should consider using prefabricated components to allow reuse in future and reduce C&D waste. Moreover, we are promoting green site offices. Apart from measures for energy saving, emission reduction and greening, a green site office also adopts modular building design and use recyclable materials to facilitate their reuse as far as possible when the offices are demolished to reduce generation of C&D waste. The Architectural Services Department has recently pioneered the use of green site office in a primary school project at the Kai Tak Development. We will continue to promote the concept of using green site offices in public works projects.

Ends/Wednesday, June 4, 2014
Issued at HKT 12:01