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Buildings Department's response to enquiries on enforcement policy against unauthorised building works in New Territories village houses
     In response to media enquiries on the enforcement policy against unauthorised building works in New Territories village houses, a spokesman for the Buildings Department (BD) today (September 13) gave the following reply.

     For the unauthorised building works (UBWs) in New Territories Exempted Houses (NTEH) (i.e. New Territories village houses), the BD has taken the enhanced enforcement strategy which was promulgated on April 1, 2012. The enhanced enforcement strategy is based on the four key principles, i.e. safeguarding building and public safety, acting in accordance with the law, categorisation for control and management, and prioritisation for progressive enforcement, to deal with UBWs in NTEHs progressively. In response to criticism that BD has not taken enforcement actions and prosecution, BD would like to clarify the enforcement policy and corresponding statistics.

     The BD will maintain its existing practice and give priority to enforcement against UBWs constituting obvious hazard or imminent danger to life or property, UBWs under construction or newly erected. BD will issue removal orders to building owners concerned.

     For existing UBWs not posing imminent danger but constituting serious contravention of the law and pose higher potential risks to building safety, the BD will include them in the First Round Targets Large Scale Operation (LSO). This first round targets for such enforcement actions mainly include villages houses of four storeys or more, enclosed rooftop structures covering more than 50 per cent of the roofed-over area of the building concerned and unauthorised projecting structure attaching to UBWs, etc. and this first round of targets will be enforced via village-by-village operation in phases.

     For other existing UBWs constituting less serious contravention of the law and imposing lower potential risks which have been accepted under the "Reporting Scheme for UBWs in NTEH" as eligible UBWs safety inspections and verification of the structures concerned should be conducted every five years. During the period of enforcement against the First Round Targets, BD will not require the immediate removal of these reported UBWs unless they become imminently dangerous. The BD will take priority enforcement action against those UBWs which have not been reported to the BD after the reporting period, in the same manner as newly constructed UBWs. Since 2015, BD has been taking enforcement actions on UBWs that are not under the "Reporting Scheme for UBWs in NTEH" and have been reported to the BD progressively at the same time when BD conducts the village-by-village LSO.

     From April 1, 2012 to end of August 2017, the Village House Section of BD has issued a total of 2 199 removal orders and 1 143 orders have been complied with. For non-complied cases, a total of 714 summons have been issued (of which 201 summons were issued in 2016) and 456 cases had been convicted. Some cases are awaiting court adjudication.

     With regard to UBWs in NTEH in Tung Tau Tsuen and Nam Pin Wai in Yuen Long, Tung Tau Tsuen has not been selected as a target village under the LSO, thus BD has not taken enforcement action on UBWs in that village. For Nam Pin Wai, BD has selected this as a target village under the LSO recently and is conducting corresponding enforcement actions.
Ends/Wednesday, September 13, 2017
Issued at HKT 22:20
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