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2010-11 Policy Address by Chief Executive (5)

Sustainable Built Environment

40. The Government is committed to enhancing the design standard of new buildings to foster a quality and sustainable built environment for our next generation.  In light of the recommendations of the Council for Sustainable Development, the Government will introduce a series of measures, requiring the incorporation of such design elements as building separation or enhancement of building permeability, setback and greenery in new buildings.  To widely promote green building in Hong Kong, we will raise the building energy efficiency standards and require developers to provide environmental and energy consumption information of buildings for the reference of potential users.

Controlling "Inflated Buildings"

41. The Government's purpose of allowing private buildings to increase floor area to include green and amenity features is to enhance the living environment of private buildings.  In recent years, there have been community concerns about developers using this concessionary policy to substantially increase the floor area of buildings, which has given rise to the so-called "inflated building" problem. After a review, we have decided to tighten the policy.  Major changes include doing away with concessions for certain features, lowering the level of concessions for car parks, balconies, utility platforms and clubhouse facilities, and imposing an overall cap of 10% for a number of features which still qualify for concession.  We will also reduce the maximum permissible area of bay windows.

42. We believe that this package will strike a proper balance between fulfilling environment performance and comfort requirements of buildings on the one hand, and minimising the impact on the surrounding environment as far as possible on the other.  It will also ensure room for creativity in Hong Kong's building designs.

Building Safety

43. The building collapse in Ma Tau Wai Road last January aroused public concern about the rising problem of ageing buildings.  The Government has completed a comprehensive review of the existing measures to improve building safety.  We will provide resources to the executive agencies to launch measures in the shortest time, adopting a multi-pronged approach, to enhance building safety through legislation, enforcement, public education and support for building owners.

44. We will introduce legislation to tackle the problems of building dilapidation and unauthorised building works (UBWs), including "sub-divided units", which have drawn widespread concern in the community.  Also, we will better handle public complaints and step up enforcement action against UBWs.  In addition, we will work with the HKHS and URA to provide comprehensive assistance to building owners who lack organisational ability or financial resources.  Having said that, every member of the public has a role to play in building safety.  Apart from urging owners to take up their responsibilities to properly maintain their properties, we will also encourage owners, tenants, building attendants and the general public to report potentially dangerous buildings, with a view to raising public awareness about old building repair.

Building Management

45. To help owners and owners' corporations (OCs) better understand their rights and responsibilities, we will embark on a series of initiatives including establishing a panel of advisors to provide owners involved in building management disputes with impartial and authoritative advice, organising training for office-bearers of OCs, and putting in place a platform for owners to share experience, thus promoting mutual help.

46. We are particularly concerned that some owners of properties in old buildings are willing but unable to manage and maintain their buildings, which have fallen into disrepair.  We will work with the property management sector to establish a task group to strengthen our support for these property owners.

47. We will consider amending the law to ensure that buildings will not become a threat to the safety of occupants or other members of the public as a result of poor management, and to effectively require the owners or OCs concerned to hire property management companies if necessary.

Licensing Regime for the Property Management Industry

48. We also need to monitor the operation of property management companies.  Such monitoring will be essential to complement any future legislation under which the hiring of property management services may become mandatory for certain buildings.  There are currently no industry-wide basic requirements for property management companies and practitioners.  We propose that a statutory licensing regime for the property management industry be established to ensure the quality of their services.  We will consult the public shortly and make a decision within the first half of next year.

Overall Strategy

49. I have just now explained Hong Kong's housing policy and our proposed actions.  They represent our response to prevailing issues.  From a macro perspective, we need to formulate a strategy on land development to address the root cause of the housing problem.  In the medium term, the proposed My Home Purchase Plan will help the sandwich class purchase homes.  We will make available land for small and medium flats to respond to the shortage of such units in the private residential market.  In the short term, we will take appropriate measures to ensure the healthy and stable development of the private residential market, including controlling "inflated buildings", revising the Capital Investment Entrant Scheme, and examining the issues on regulating the sale of first-hand residential properties by legislation.  I hope these long, medium and short-term initiatives will make Hong Kong a better home.

(To be continued)

Ends/Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Issued at HKT 11:40


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