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LCQ14: Steel windows in PRH units
     Following is a question by the Hon Luk Chung-hung and a written reply by the Secretary for Transport and Housing, Professor Anthony Cheung Bing-leung, in the Legislative Council today (April 12):
     At present, the flats and common areas in the blocks of quite a number of aged public rental housing (PRH) estates and Tenant Purchase Scheme (TPS) estates are fitted with iron-framed windows.  It is learnt that iron-framed windows are more prone to rust than aluminium-framed ones, and therefore accidents of iron-framed windows loosening and even falling have occurred from time to time.  However, some tenants of PRH estates and TPS estates have pointed out that the authorities take a long time to arrange repair of damaged iron-framed windows, and that the progress of replacing iron-framed windows with aluminium-framed ones has been slow.  In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) of the PRH estates and TPS estates the flats or the common areas in the blocks of which are fitted with iron-framed windows, and the total number of flats involved;
(2) of the respective numbers of accidents of iron-framed windows loosening and falling from the blocks of PRH estates and TPS estates in each of the past five years, and the resultant casualties (if any);
(3) given that the authorities have launched the Total Maintenance Scheme since 2006 to carry out periodical inspection and repair for maintenance of windows of the flats in PRH estates and TPS estates, whether the Scheme covers the replacement of iron-framed windows; if so, whether the authorities have set a timetable for the replacement work and of the methods to check if an iron-framed window is safe; the respective numbers of flats in PRH estates and TPS estates with iron-framed windows replaced by the authorities in each of the past five years; 
(4) of the average time taken from a tenant lodging a complaint to the completion of the repair or replacement of an iron-framed window at present; whether (i) window repair and maintenance personnel and (ii) the parts and accessories required for window replacement work are in short supply at present; and
(5) whether the authorities will expeditiously replace all iron-framed windows in PRH estates and TPS estates; if so, of the details?
     The Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA) endeavours to provide a safe and quality living environment for Public Rental Housing (PRH) tenants through proper maintenance and management.  My consolidated reply to the parts of the question by the Hon Luk Chung-hung is as follows.
     At present, around 190 000 PRH units in 54 PRH estates and 39 Tenant Purchase Scheme estates under HA are installed with steel windows (see Annex).  In the past five years, there were eight cases in relation to steel windows falling down.  No casualties were involved in these cases.
     HA attaches great importance to the safety of windows in PRH units.  Steel windows are durable and are safe to use under proper maintenance.  Through the Total Maintenance Scheme, HA provides PRH tenants with a periodical comprehensive maintenance service, which covers inspection and maintenance of windows in accordance with the code of practice issued by the Buildings Department.  If tenants notice any defects in the windows in their PRH units, they can report to the estate office, which will take prompt follow-up actions.  While simple repairs can be completed within two days, more complex repairs, such as the replacement of window hinges which requires scaffolding, would normally be completed within 14 days.  Generally speaking, there is no difficulty in arranging window parts or maintenance workers for these repairs.
     If inspection findings reveal that it is impracticable to repair the steel windows concerned, the Housing Department (HD) will arrange to replace such windows with aluminium windows.  The whole process may take more than one month because it takes time to order aluminium windows.  At the same time, the process is subject to the tenants' schedule.  There may also be a need to move tenants' furniture around to carry out the works.  HD does not maintain aggregate statistics regarding steel window replacement cases.  HA will continue to provide maintenance service to windows in PRH units and has no plan to replace all steel windows with aluminium windows at the moment.
Ends/Wednesday, April 12, 2017
Issued at HKT 12:40
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