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LCQ12: Laundry racks in rental flats under the Hong Kong Housing Authority and Hong Kong Housing Society
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     Following is a question by the Hon Priscilla Leung and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (April 27):

Question:

     The Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) announced in February 2014 that it would, free of charge for all of the flats of public rental housing (PRH) estates and the unsold rental flats of Tenants Purchase Scheme estates, replace the laundry pole holders (commonly known as the "three joss sticks" laundry racks) on the external walls of the flats with rope-operated laundry racks. In reply to a question raised by a Member of this Council on February 3 this year, the Government indicated that the replacement works had been completed for only 14 of the 162 housing estates concerned. On the other hand, it has been reported that the Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS) removed the laundry pole holders on the external walls of some of the flats of its housing estates, but afterwards it did not install new laundry racks for the flats concerned nor did it allow the tenants concerned to do so at their own expense. As a result, such tenants can only use the ceiling-mounted laundry hangers between the kitchen and the toilet on the balcony for drying clothes, making it easy for cooking oil smell clinging to such clothes. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(1) of the latest progress of HA's laundry rack replacement works, including the respective names and numbers of such housing estates for which (i) the works have been completed, (ii) the works are in progress, (iii) the works contracts have been awarded and the works are in the pipeline, and (iv) the tendering exercises for the works are yet to be conducted, as well as the respective works schedules for items (ii) to (iv);

(2) as the authorities have indicated that a three-year warranty is provided for the new laundry racks and that the contractors are required to, apart from conducting pre-installation sample tests on the new laundry racks, conduct second-round tests of such racks in the course of installation for quality assurance, and yet it has been reported that some PRH tenants whose flats have been installed with the new laundry racks have complained that the nylon ropes of such racks get damaged easily, whether the authorities have followed up on the results of the second round tests conducted by the contractors; if they have, of the details;

(3) whether HA will (i) consider improving the design of the new laundry racks, (ii) replace the defective new laundry racks for tenants free of charge, and (iii) install new laundry racks of better quality for those flats for which the laundry rack replacement works have yet to be carried out; if HA will, of the details; if not; the reasons for that; and

(4) whether the Government will consider advising HKHS to follow the practice of HA by installing rope-operated laundry racks on the external walls of all its rental flats (regardless of whether or not the laundry pole holders there have been removed); if it will, of the details; if not; the reasons for that?

Reply:

President,

     While adopting the no frills principle, the Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) is committed to enhancing the quality and safety of public rental housing (PRH) units, and has introduced new facilities and improved flat design to address the changing needs of tenants.  Subject to resources availability and structural feasibility of buildings, HA has introduced measures to improve existing PRH units with a view to enhancing the living environment of PRH tenants. To this end, the Subsidised Housing Committee of HA approved in February 2014 the replacement of pole holders with laundry racks in rental units of PRH estates and unsold rental units of Tenants Purchase Scheme (TPS) estates free of charge. The programme involves a total of 162 estates.

     Having consolidated information from the Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS), my reply to the questions raised by the Hon Priscilla Leung is as follows:

(1) As at end of March this year, the replacement works in the following 18 estates have completed:

1. Chak On Estate
2. Choi Hung Estate
3. Choi Yuen Estate
4. Chuk Yuen (South) Estate
5. Hing Wah (II) Estate
6. Lai King Estate
7. Lower Wong Tai Sin (II) Estate
8. Pak Tin Estate (Blocks 9, 10, 11 and 13)
9. Sam Shing Estate
10. Sha Kok Estate
11. Shek Kip Mei Estate (old blocks)
12. Shek Yam (East) Estate
13. Sun Tin Wai Estate
14. Tai Hang Tung Estate
15. Tai Hing Estate
16. Wah Fu (I) Estate
17. Wah Fu (II) Estate
18. Yue Wan Estate

     Replacement works in another 31 estates are being carried out, as follows:

1. Butterfly Estate
2. Cheung Ching Estate
3. Cheung Hong Estate
4. Kai Tin Estate
5. Kai Yip Estate
6. Ko Yee Estate
7. Kwong Fuk Estate
8. Lai Kok Estate
9. Lei Muk Shue (II) Estate
10. Lok Wah (North) Estate
11. Lok Wah (South) Estate
12. Lung Hang Estate
13. Mei Lam Estate
14. On Ting Estate
15. Shek Lei (I) Estate
16. Shek Lei (II) Estate
17. Shek Yam Estate
18. Sun Chui Estate
19. Tai Wo Hau Estate
20. Tin Shui (I) Estate
21. Tin Shui (II) Estate
22. Wan Tsui Estate
23. Wo Che Estate
24. Wu King Estate
25. Yau Oi Estate
26. Choi Ha Estate *
27. Hing Tin Estate *
28. Kwong Yuen Estate *
29. Lower Wong Tai Sin (I) Estate *
30. Tak Tin Estate *
31. Tsui Ping (North) Estate *
*TPS estates in which the replacement works are restricted to PRH units only.

     Based on the progress thus far, the Housing Department (HD) anticipates that the replacement works for households in these 31 estates who have opted to install new laundry racks will be completed within this year.

     Meanwhile, contracts for the replacement works in the 111 estates listed below have been awarded and the works will soon commence:

1. Cheung Hang Estate
2. Cheung Kwai Estate
3. Cheung Shan Estate
4. Cheung Wang Estate
5. Choi Fai Estate
6. Choi Wan (I) Estate
7. Chun Shek Estate
8. Chung On Estate
9. Fortune Estate
10. Fu Cheong Estate
11. Fu Tai Estate
12. Fu Tung Estate
13. Fuk Loi Estate
14. Hau Tak Estate
15. Hing Tung Estate
16. Hing Wah (I) Estate
17. Ho Man Tin Estate
18. Hung Hom Estate (Phase 1)
19. Ka Fuk Estate
20. Kam Peng Estate
21. Kin Ming Estate
22. Kwai Chung Estate
23. Kwai Fong Estate
24. Kwai Shing (East) Estate
25. Kwong Tin Estate
26. Lai On Estate
27. Lai Yiu Estate
28. Lee On Estate
29. Lei Muk Shue (I) Estate
30. Lei Yue Mun Estate
31. Lek Yuen Estate
32. Lok Fu Estate
33. Lung Tin Estate
34. Ma Hang Estate
35. Mei Tung Estate
36. Ming Tak Estate
37. Nam Shan Estate
38. Ngan Wan Estate
39. Oi Man Estate
40. Oi Tung Estate
41. On Yam Estate
42. Pak Tin Estate \
43. Ping Tin Estate
44. Po Tat Estate
45. Po Tin Estate
46. Sau Mau Ping Estate
47. Shek Wai Kok Estate
48. Sheung Lok Estate
49. Sheung Tak Estate
50. Shui Pin Wai Estate
51. Shun Lee Estate
52. Shun On Estate
53. Shun Tin Estate
54. Siu Sai Wan Estate
55. Tai Yuen Estate
56. Tin Chak Estate
57. Tin Hang Estate
58. Tin Wah Estate
59. Tin Wan Estate
60. Tin Yan Estate
61. Tin Yiu (I) Estate
62. Tin Yiu (II) Estate
63. Tsui Lok Estate
64. Tsui Ping (South) Estate
65. Tsz Ching Estate
66. Tsz Lok Estate
67. Tsz Man Estate
68. Un Chau Estate (Phase 3)
69. Upper Ngau Tau Kok Estate
70. Upper Wong Tai Sin Estate
71. Wah Lai Estate
72. Wah Sum Estate
73. Wan Hon Estate
74. Wang Tau Hom Estate
75. Yat Tung Estate
76. Yau Tong Estate
77. Yiu Tung Estate
78. Choi Ming Court #
79. Hoi Fu Court #
80. Yung Shing Court #
81. Cheung Fat Estate *
82. Cheung On Estate *
83. Cheung Wah Estate *
84. Chuk Yuen (North) Estate *
85. Fu Heng Estate *
86. Fu Shin Estate *
87. Fung Tak Estate *
88. Fung Wah Estate *
89. Heng On Estate *
90. Hin Keng Estate *
91. Kin Sang Estate *
92. King Lam Estate *
93. Lei Cheng Uk Estate *
94. Lei Tung Estate *
95. Leung King Estate *
96. Long Ping Estate *
97. Po Lam Estate *
98. Pok Hong Estate *
99. Shan King Estate *
100. Tai Ping Estate *
101. Tai Wo Estate *
102. Tin King Estate *
103. Tin Ping Estate *
104. Tsing Yi Estate *
105. Tsui Lam Estate *
106. Tsui Wan Estate *
107. Tung Tau (II) Estate *
108. Wah Kwai Estate *
109. Wah Ming Estate *
110. Wan Tau Tong Estate *
111. Yiu On Estate *

\  Replacement works is only applicable to H1 and H3 block types.
#  Buy or Rent Option (BRO) estates in which the replacement works are restricted to PRH units only.
*  TPS estates in which the replacement works are restricted to PRH units only.

     HD anticipates that the replacement works for households who have opted to install new laundry racks in these 111 estates will be completed next year.

     As estate redecoration works for Ap Lei Chau Estate and Fu Shan Estate will soon commence, the laundry racks replacement works will be conducted concurrently with the redecoration works of the external walls of the buildings so as to reduce costs by sharing gondolas to be used at work. The two redecoration works will be tendered out in the middle of this year and is scheduled for completion next year.

     Based on the current progress, HD anticipates that all replacement works will be completed next year as scheduled.

(2) To ensure the quality of the laundry racks, HD will select samples of laundry racks to carry out quality tests, including repeated running tests of rollers and pulling strength tests of nylon ropes, before commencement of the replacement works. Contractors will only be allowed to commence the installation after passing the tests. In addition, during the course of works, HD will require the contractors to carry out interim quality tests to ensure the overall quality of the laundry racks.

     Among the 19 contracts concerned, 16 contractors have completed the pre-work quality tests, and 10 of them have also completed the interim quality tests, with all test results indicating that the quality of the laundry racks conformed with the contract requirements. For the remaining six contracts in progress, HD will require the contractors to carry out interim quality tests in accordance with the progress of the works. For the other three contracts recently awarded, the contractors are planning the relevant works arrangements.

(3) HD understands that residents might have different preferences on the design of the laundry racks. However, in order to fully utilise the space available for drying, avoid disturbance caused by future maintenance, and maintain a neat and tidy outlook of the buildings, HA will provide the most suitable laundry racks with the largest laundry area and which complies with the requirements of the Building (Minor Works) Regulation in accordance with the building types, individual site conditions, actual circumstances and space available.

     The contractors provide a three-year warranty for the laundry racks and will make good any defects free of charge, except for deliberate damage. Upon the expiry of the warranty period, HA will be responsible for the subsequent maintenance of the laundry racks.  

(4) According to information provided by HKHS, Lok Man Sun Chuen, Kwun Lung Lau and Lai Tak Tsuen are the only rental estates of HKHS that are still installed with laundry pole holders on the external walls. Since 2014, subject to the preferences of tenants of Lok Man Sun Chuen, HKHS has removed laundry pole holders from the external wall of their flats free of charge. HKHS reviewed the measure in 2015 and decided to install stainless steel laundry installations on the external wall at no charge for tenants who opted for removal of the laundry pole holders in order to address tenants' needs. The replacement works will formally commence in May 2016 and is scheduled for completion within this year. As regards Kwun Lung Lau and Lai Tak Tsuen, HKHS will collect tenants' opinions and plans to issue tender for the replacement works in end 2016.

Ends/Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Issued at HKT 14:35

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