Following is a question by the Hon Tang Siu-tong and a written reply by the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Mr Gordon Siu, in the Legislative Council today (Wednesday):
Will the Government inform this Council:
(a) whether it has estimated the number and geographical distribution of buildings with potentially dangerous building elements, and the number of such elements; among these buildings, of the number of those already on the list of target buildings compiled by the Home Affairs Department;
(b) given that only 12 inspection reports were received in response to the Buildings Department's invitations to the owners of 884 buildings to participate in the Building Safety Inspection Scheme ("BSIS") last year, whether it has assessed the reasons for the BSIS not being widely accepted; if so, of the assessment results; if not, of the reasons for that;
(c) of the quarterly figures for the following between January 1997 and September this year:
(i) the number of buildings enrolled in the BSIS; and
(ii)the number of building investigation orders issued by the Building Authority under section 26A of the Buildings Ordinance (Cap. 123);
(d) of the following:-
(i) the number of buildings involved in the BSILS applications received by the Buildings Department;
(ii) the amount of loans applied in respect of each building;
(iii) the amount of loans granted and the interest rate charged in respect of each building; and
(iv) the reasons for the Buildings Department refusing some of the applications;
since the implementation of the Building Safety Improvement Loan Scheme ("BSILS") in March 1998; and
(e) whether it has reviewed the implementation of the BSIS and BSILS; if it has, of the results?
(a) We do not have statistics on the number and geographical distribution of buildings with potentially dangerous building elements. If the Building Authority finds any imminent danger in a building, he will require by order the owners corporation/flat owners to carry out investigation and remedial works. This will be done under section 24, section 26 or section 26A of the Buildings Ordinance (Cap. 123) as appropriate.
(b) The response to the Building Safety Inspection Scheme (BSIS) has not been enthusiastic. We have so far received 32 inspection reports. The main reasons for the slow response are:
(i) it is a voluntary scheme;
(ii) some flat owners may face practical difficulties in organizing themselves for participation in the scheme; and
(iii) flat owners are worried about the cost of engaging a building professional to carry out the work.
(c) The quarterly figures in respect of BSIS enrolment and section 26A orders, from January 1997 to September 1999, are shown in Appendix I.
(d)(i) Since the launching of the Building Safety Improvement Loan Scheme (BSILS) in August 1998, the Buildings Department has received 78 applications from flat owners involving 35 buildings.
(ii) Of the 78 applications received, 18 were rejected. The remaining 60 applications were from 19 buildings. The details are set out in Appendix II.
(iii) Both low-interest (currently at 6.5% per annum) and interest-free loans are available. The details of the loans made are set out in Appendix II.
(iv) The Buildings Department rejected 18 applications because the eligibility criteria of the BSILS had not been met, e.g. no Authorized Person (AP) had been appointed or the AP did not intend to follow the established procedures in making the required inspection.
(e) We are reviewing the BSIS and the BSILS with a view to introducing a new statutory scheme of preventive maintenance of buildings. We will shortly consult the public on our proposal.
End/Wednesday, November 17, 1999