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Validation Scheme for Signboards to be implemented tomorrow to enhance control over signboards

     The Buildings Department (BD) announced today (September 1) that the Validation Scheme for Signboards (Validation Scheme) introduced in the Building (Minor Works) (Amendment) Regulation 2013 which was passed by the Legislative Council earlier this year, will be implemented tomorrow (September 2).

     The Validation Scheme is one of the measures under the Administration's signboard control system. According to the scheme, certain existing unauthorised signboards may be retained for continued use after inspection, strengthening (if required) and certification of their structural safety by building professionals and/or registered contractors and acknowledged by the BD.  The safety check and certification are subject to renewal at intervals of five years.

     "The BD has been actively taking enforcement action against unauthorised signboards.  However, as most of the unauthorised signboards are being used by business operators, these signboards carry notable value for sustaining local commercial activities and Hong Kong's prosperity.  The introduction of the Validation Scheme will enhance the safety of existing unauthorised signboards," a spokesman for the BD said.

     Unauthorised signboards joining the Validation Scheme must be in existence or erected before the implementation of the Validation Scheme on September 2, 2013, and their technical specifications must be in compliance with those for the minor works relating to the erection or alteration of signboards listed under the Building (Minor Works) Regulation. This is to ensure that the unauthorised signboards eligible for validation, like other minor works, are relatively minor in scale and pose less potential risk.

     The validation of the unauthorised signboards will be valid for five years. Afterwards, the signboard owners should either make fresh validation submission or remove the signboards.  During the 5-year validity period, since the safety of the validated signboards and their compliance with other design and construction standards have been certified, the BD will not take enforcement action against such signboards although the validated unauthorised signboards are still unauthorised building works.  The signboard owners, however, should provide proper maintenance to their signboards.  Where an existing validated signboard becomes dangerous because of a change in circumstances or lack of proper maintenance, or where the signboard owners fail to make fresh safety check and validation submission within the 5 years subsequent to the previous validation, the BD will take prompt enforcement action.

     Only the prescribed building professionals (PBP) and/or prescribed registered contractors (PRC) who are registered for the relevant classes and types or items of minor works relating to the erection or alteration of signboards under the Minor Works Control System can carry out the safety inspection, strengthening, and certification of the corresponding classes and types or items of unauthorised signboards.  The lists of PBP/PRC qualified to carry out safety validation for the various types of unauthorised signboards are available on the BD's website (

     Participation in the Validation Scheme is on a voluntary basis, but the BD will gradually enhance their enforcement action against those unauthorised signboards not joining or not eligible for joining the Validation Scheme.  Once removal orders have been served, the signboards concerned cannot be validated and enforcement action by the BD will continue regardless of whether such signboards are originally eligible for validation.  Signboard owners are therefore advised to arrange for validation of their signboards as soon as possible, in order to enhance the safety of the signboards, as well as to avoid disturbance to normal operation of their business by demolition of the signboards upon receipt of removal orders.

     The spokesman reminded members of the public that it is a serious offence for any person that is not qualified to carry out the validation or strengthening works for unauthorised signboards.  The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $100,000 and imprisonment for six months and a further fine of $ 5,000 for each day that the offence has continued.  The person who arranged for the works (inspection and/or strengthening) also commits an offence if he knowingly fails to appoint a PBP and/or PRC for such works.  The maximum penalty upon conviction is a fine of $100,000.

     The spokesman also reminded signboard owners that apart from joining the Validation Scheme to ensure safety of their signboards, if the signboards are erected in the common parts of buildings, they should also obtain consent from the co-owners or owners' corporations of the building and comply with the Deed of Mutual Covenant of the building.  They may have to bear civil liability for failure to do so.

     The spokesman said that to facilitate implementation of the Validation Scheme, the BD has launched large scale publicity and public education campaigns, including briefing sessions to the industry and the public, as well as issuing newspaper supplements.  Publicity pamphlets will be distributed to the public to introduce the Validation Scheme.  Technical guidelines and practice notes for the Validation Scheme will also be published for reference of the building professionals and registered contractors.

     For enquiries about the Validation Scheme, they may be made at the enquiry counter at Rooms 1102-3, 11/F, AIA Kowloon Tower, Landmark East, 100 How Ming Street, Kwun Tong, Kowloon, or directed to the BD by email ( or by phone at 2626 1616 (handled by 1823).  Further information about the Validation Scheme is also available on the BD's website (

Ends/Sunday, September 1, 2013
Issued at HKT 11:01


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