Hong Kong reviews building management ordinance to enhance fire safety


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Legislative council revisits renovation regulations

As reported by RTHK, Secretary for Home and Youth Affairs, Alice Mak, announced on Saturday that the Legislative Council is actively reviewing the Building Management Ordinance.

This review aims to encourage tenants, particularly of older buildings, to undertake necessary renovation work to meet safety standards.

This initiative follows a tragic incident last month where five individuals lost their lives in a fire, in a building that lacked adequate fire safety equipment.

Mak highlighted the challenges in rallying tenants for general meetings and resolving disputes over renovation costs.

She stressed the importance of these renovations in ensuring the buildings’ compliance with safety and fire safety regulations.

Government outreach and proposed amendments

The government is particularly focusing on ageing buildings in districts such as Yau Tsim Mong, Sham Shui Po, and Kowloon City.

“The Home Affairs Department has been actively assisting and helping the owners of the corporation to reach consensus among their tenants to carry out necessary repairs to maintain their building, to make sure that they will observe all the building’s safety and fire safety requirements,” Mak said.

Further, Mak revealed that the proposed amendments to the Building Management Ordinance include a new provision.

This provision would require at least five percent of owners, or 100 owners, whichever is lesser, to vote in person on decisions regarding large-scale maintenance works.

This amendment aims to facilitate better decision-making processes and ensure the execution of essential maintenance.

Challenges in building management and safety enhancements

Mak also acknowledged the difficulties some buildings face in gathering tenants for a general meeting, which is crucial for agreeing on renovation undertakings.

The disagreements over renovation charges pose another hurdle in the timely execution of necessary safety improvements.

The city’s effort to aid these old buildings is crucial as many of them do not meet current safety standards, posing significant risks to residents.

The government’s proactive approach aims to mitigate these risks by ensuring buildings are well-maintained and safe for occupants.

IFSJ comment

The review and proposed amendments to the Building Management Ordinance by the Hong Kong Legislative Council are timely interventions in the wake of recent fire-related tragedies.

By facilitating easier decision-making for building maintenance and enforcing renovation requirements, the government is taking a decisive step towards enhancing urban safety.

These measures are expected to significantly improve the structural and fire safety standards of ageing buildings, thereby protecting the residents and upholding public safety standards.

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