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Buildings Department's response on enquiries on roof greening

     In response to media enquiries on roof greening, a spokesman for the Buildings Department (BD) today (May 21) gave the following reply.

     As to whether roof greening on an existing private building is building works requiring the submission of plans for BD's approval, it would depend on the location, scope and extent of the work.  

     In case the greening work only involves planting activities such as placing of flower pots or laying of soil, such work does not fall within the ambit of the Buildings Ordinance (BO).

     If the roof greening occurs at approved greening facilities such as planters or tree boxes of the building, the work can be carried out in accordance with the original intent of the design.   

     However, if the greening work involves demolition, alteration or addition of structures or drainage systems, or even involves changes in gross floor area or structure members of the building, the greening work concerned will generally be subject to control under the BO.

     According to the BO, any person who wants to carry out any building works (including alteration and addition (A&A) works) in private buildings should appoint an authorised person to submit plans to the BD for approval and obtain consent from the department in accordance with section 14 of the BO, before such works can commence unless such works are exempted in accordance with section 41(3) of the BO or such works are carried out as minor works under the simplified procedures of the minor works control system.  Otherwise the works will be regarded as unauthorised building works.

     According to section 40(1AA) of the BO, it is a serious offence to conduct any building works without prior approval.  Any person, if convicted, is liable to a maximum fine of $400,000 and two year's imprisonment.

     Regarding the collapse of the rooftop metal frame of the Chan Tai Ho Multi-purpose Hall of the Hu Fa Kuang Sports Centre at the City University of Hong Kong on May 20, the BD is continuing its investigation and emergency clearance works. To ascertain the cause of the collapse, the BD will collect evidence in a number of areas.  They include the record of building plans of the concerned building (including the original design and loading of the concerned rooftop and any previous records of A&A and maintenance works), the materials, thickness and weight of the covering on rooftop, the design and condition of the drainage systems of the rooftop; and the structural condition of the collapsed metal frame. The BD is also contacting persons in connection with the incident, including eye-witnesses, for information.

     As the investigation is still in progress, it is not appropriate for the BD to comment at this stage on the cause of the collapse, whether plan submission to BD is required for the carrying out of the concerned roof greening and the associated liability issues.

Ends/Saturday, May 21, 2016
Issued at HKT 19:04


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