LCQ8: Fire safety at construction sites
It has been reported that a No. 4 alarm fire broke out at a construction site in Tsim Sha Tsui on the 2nd of this month, arousing much concern among various sectors about fire safety at construction sites. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:
(1) as there are views that the relevant requirements on "fire service installations and equipment", as specified in the Fire Protection Notice No. 13 on Fire Protection at Construction Site issued by the Hong Kong Fire Services Department (FSD), are only recommendations, and the fires that occurred at some construction sites in recent years have revealed that the fire service installations and equipment concerned have not fully met the relevant requirements, whether the authorities will consider expeditiously enacting legislation to make the relevant requirements statutory; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that;
(2) of the current staffing establishment of FSD responsible for inspecting fire safety at construction sites; (i) the number of fire safety inspections conducted at construction sites, (ii) the number of Fire Hazard Abatement Notices issued to the persons concerned, and (iii) the number of prosecutions instituted, in each of the past three years by FSD; whether additional resources will be allocated to step up the monitoring efforts on fire safety at construction sites; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that; and
(3) whether it will, by drawing reference from the experience of overseas countries and by amending the relevant legislation, require contractors of construction sites to commission registered fire engineers to conduct fire risk assessments for construction sites, and issue fire safety certificates after confirming the compliance of the construction sites with the relevant requirements; if so, of the details; if not, the reasons for that?
(1) Outbreak of fires in buildings under construction not only would cause delay in construction works, but would also result in property loss, or even lead to injuries and deaths. The Fire Services Department (FSD) conducts inspections and enforcement actions in respect of the fire safety of construction sites pursuant to relevant laws and regulations. Having regard to the potential fire risks at construction sites, FSD officers will conduct inspections at construction sites and provide appropriate advice based on section 7(c) of the Fire Services Ordinance (Cap. 95), to ensure that the responsible persons of the construction sites comply with the requirements specified in the FSD Circular Letter No. 2/2008 on "Fire Protection Measures in Construction Sites" (CL), and that the facilities are in efficient working order at all times. The CL was devised after lengthy consultations with the trade and concerned professional bodies. Building contractors or responsible persons of the construction sites shall provide sufficient fire protection for the construction sites in strict compliance with the requirements of the CL. In case of fire, this will allow fire personnel to put out the blaze swiftly for the better protection of people's life and property.
The CL stipulates that construction sites shall provide water relaying facilities for firefighting purpose in high-rise buildings under construction, with a detailed guideline on the installation of these water relaying facilities covering the standards for and the number of fire pumps, ancillary facilities, installation standards and power supply, etc. If the design height of the building is between 30 and 80 metres, the building contractor shall install a closed circuit type water relaying system, or place a fire pump on the appropriate floors. If the design height of the building exceeds 80 metres, the building contractor shall install a closed circuit type water relaying system to ensure the safety of the construction site.
FSD officers will conduct inspections at construction sites. If it is found that the requirements of the CL are not duly complied with, a Fire Hazard Abatement Notice (FHAN) will be issued by the FSD to the responsible person in accordance with section 3 of the Fire Services (Fire Hazard Abatement) Regulation (Cap. 95F), requiring rectification of the fire hazard(s) within a specified period. Non-compliance with the FHAN is liable to prosecution. The requirements and guidelines set out in the CL are well known to the trade and building contractors, and are effective. The FSD will continue to conduct fire safety inspections and enforcement actions in respect of the fire safety of construction sites pursuant to relevant laws and regulations.
(2) FSD officers conduct inspections at construction sites. In the past three years, the number of inspections in respect of fire safety at construction sites, the number of FHAN issued to relevant persons and the number of prosecution cases on non-compliance with fire safety-related legislation by the FSD are as follows:
|Year||Number of inspections in respect of fire safety at construction sites||Number of FHAN issued to relevant persons||Number of prosecution cases on non-compliance with fire safety-related legislation|
Inspections at construction sites are mainly conducted by FSD officers of the local fire stations. As this forms part of their daily duties, the FSD has no individual breakdown of staffing establishment in that respect. The FSD will continue to make use of existing resources to conduct inspections and enforcement actions in respect of the fire safety of construction sites, and will seek additional resources through the existing resource allocation mechanism to strengthen the work in this respect when necessary.
(3) The FSD had consulted relevant professional bodies and stakeholders on the implementation and regulatory details of the Registered Fire Engineer (RFE) Scheme, such as qualification and experience requirements, code of conduct and criminal liability. The trade was generally in support of the RFE Scheme. At present, the FSD is drawing up the relevant subsidiary legislations, relevant code of practice and code of ethics, etc by proactively making reference to relevant experiences in other countries. It is hoped that the relevant draft subsidiary legislations can be introduced in the current term of the Legislative Council. The FSD proposes that, when the RFE Scheme is to be taken forward for implementation, the Scheme to be implemented in stages, starting with licensed premises. Meanwhile, there is no plan to include the fire protection measures of construction sites in the proposed duties of the RFEs. Nevertheless, the FSD will review the effectiveness of the RFE Scheme and consider whether the scope would be expanded to other areas after the implementation of the Scheme.
Ends/Wednesday, March 29, 2023
Issued at HKT 14:55
Issued at HKT 14:55