For discussion EC(96-97)8 )
on 8 May 1996


Subhead 003 Recoverable salaries and allowances

Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the creation of the following permanent post in the Housing Department -

1 Chief Architect
(D1) ($80,450 - $85,400)


The existing establishment of the Design and Standards (D&S) Section and the Architectural Division of the Housing Department (the Department) is in need of additional support at the directorate level to cope with the increasing volume and complexity of work.


2. We propose to split the existing D&S Section into two and create one permanent post of Chief Architect (CA) (D1) to head the additional section and to take over part of the responsibilities of the Architectural Division.


3. The D&S Section of the Development Division, New Development Branch (NDB) was set up in 1986. It is responsible for the following areas of work -

  1. Development and management of standard designs - the Section is responsible for developing designs for new standard blocks and estate facilities. The work involves the preparation of detailed client briefs to define clearly the scope of the developments and the standards to be achieved, scheme designs and standard documents for tender purpose, and a range of technical guides for the use of project teams. The section also needs to review and update other standard documents, particularly for the harmony blocks, new cruciform blocks, estate facilities and schools in response to both feedback and policy changes.
  2. Management of approved lists for building components and materials - the Section manages and monitors the approved lists of building components and materials through type tests, factory visits, surveillance tests and site inspections.
  3. Management of Private Sector Participation Scheme (PSPS) projects - the Section prepares site potential/ feasibility studies, checks tender assessments, and provides technical advice on PSPS projects.
  4. Co-ordination of feedback - the Section has to co-ordinate feedback from various sections on the standard designs and building components and materials. It also analyses feedback reports and refers them to respective sections/units for remedial action.
  5. Development of ad hoc designs - the Section undertakes special one-off designs to address new demands from the community and to promote the image of the Department.

4. The above tasks are currently dealt with by six teams of the D&S Section comprising some 55 architectural and technical staff. The head of the Section is CA/D&S who is responsible for directing the wide range of activities described in paragraph 3. An existing organisation chart of the NDB is at Enclosure 1.

5. Over the last few years, there has been a significant expansion in the responsibilities of the Section in the following areas -

  1. Standard designs - To meet the rising expectation of the public and to respond to the specialised needs of some tenants, the Department has decided to develop new designs for the Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) blocks, harmony rental blocks, harmony annex blocks, and small household modular flats. The development of these new designs will be completed in 1997. By then, the Section will have to manage 21 standard designs, representing an increase of 40% compared with only 15 in 1995.
  2. Building components and materials - To better control the quality of components and materials used in standard blocks, the Department has decided to expand the present approved lists of three components and 22 materials to 12 components and 47 materials in 2000.
  3. PSPS projects - To increase housing production, the Department has raised the PSPS production target by two-fold to 10 000 flats per annum in the coming five years. It will also implement improvement measures to enhance the quality of PSPS flats.
  4. Minor works projects - To improve the corporate image of the Housing Authority and the standard of housing production, the Department has developed a number of ad hoc design projects, such as new designs for temporary housing. The public have been invited to view and comment on the mock-ups of the new HOS flats and harmony block flats. These consultation exercises have been well received and the Department intends to undertake more similar activities.
  5. Research - To improve the efficiency and quality of housing production, the Department has prepared a list of research topics, such as the automated car parking systems and prefabricated bathrooms.

6. All the above work require considerable professional input and direction by a CA. Given the increase in volume and complexity of work, CA/D&S is already overloaded and has not been able to devote sufficient time and attention to all areas of work.

7. On the other hand, the workload of the Architectural Division, NDB has also increased tremendously due to the need for the Department to double its average flat production rate from 35 000 flats per annum to 80 000 flats in 1999/2000. To meet the production target, the Department has let out 50 projects to consultant architects. It is expected that 40 more consultancies will be farmed out in 1996/97. At present, CA/1 of the Architectural Division handles all the consultant management duties in addition to his share of the 35 000 annual flat production. As the number of consultancy projects increases, he can no longer fully monitor the work of the consultants.

8. We therefore propose to create an additional CA post to share the heavy workload of CA/D&S and CA/1. With the creation of the proposed post, we propose to reorganise the D&S Section into a Development Section and a Standards Section.

9. We propose to redesignate the existing CA/D&S as CA/Development to head the Development Section which will be responsible for work relating to standard block designs and documentation, components and materials, research and feedback. He will monitor all designs to ensure a high and consistent standard, carry out periodic factory inspections to component and material suppliers to ensure consistency in quality, and plan and monitor all research work.

10. We will designate the proposed CA as CA/Standards to head the Standards Section which will be responsible for the management of consultants, PSPS and minor works projects. He will act as the Project Manager for consultant management projects to ensure that the standards and practices of the Department are followed. The incumbent will also pay visits to construction sites and monitor the performance of contractors in order to enhance the quality of PSPS projects. Moreover, he will be responsible for ad hoc design tasks and proactive publicity exercises on the new designs.

11. The proposed organisation chart of the NDB is at Enclosure 2. The job descriptions of the proposed posts of CA/Development and CA/Standards are at Enclosures 3 and 4.


12. The additional notional annual salary cost of this proposal at MID-POINT is $994,200. The full annual average staff cost of the proposal, including salaries and staff on-costs, is $1,871,916. There are no other additional staffing and financial implications.

13. We shall recover the full staff cost of this proposal from the Housing Authority.


14. Civil Service Branch supports the proposal to create an additional post of Chief Architect. The ranking and grading of the proposed post are appropriate having regard to its duties and responsibilities.


15. The Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service has advised that the grading of the proposed post would be appropriate if the post were to be created.

Housing Department
April 1996

Enclosure 3 to EC(96-97)8

Job Description Chief Architect/Development

Rank : Chief Architect (D1)

Duties and Responsibilities

  1. To initiate and develop standard designs for residential buildings and estate facilities, including external works.
  2. To test the viability and practicability of standard designs; to evaluate the feedback from project teams and other sections of the Department on these designs; and to incorporate the necessary modifications.
  3. To ensure that all standard designs and drawings are properly managed, updated and made available to the project teams.
  4. To conduct researches on whether and which building components can be procured at source; to prepare specifications for the components to be procured; to explore potential material suppliers in the market; and to maintain an approved list of material suppliers.
  5. To conduct researches on how procured materials can be tested at source; to establish testing standards and procedures; and to liaise with material suppliers on testing requirements.
  6. To ensure that the Section keeps abreast of the latest developments in construction technology and to initiate research studies into materials, products, and construction techniques.
  7. To ensure that effective communication and feedback channels are established and maintained with all appropriate parties both within and outside the Department.

Enclosure 4 to EC(96-97)8

Job Description Chief Architect/Standards

Rank : Chief Architect (D1)

Duties and Responsibilities

  1. To act as the Project Manager for consultant management projects, and the Director’s representative for managing architectural consultancies.
  2. To identify and recommend suitable consultants; to agree consultancy fees; to provide the consultants with the necessary information, instructions and support; to supervise the work of the consultants; and to monitor and evaluate their performance.
  3. To advise the Planning Section on feasibility studies for Private Sector Participation Scheme (PSPS) projects.
  4. To advise the Department on schemes submitted by private developers under the PSPS; to review the technical schedules to ensure their adequacy; to liaise with the appointed monitoring surveyors and to generally oversee the implementation of the projects and their compliance with the technical schedules.
  5. To plan and monitor special short term projects from inception to completion, including the monitoring of budgets and programmes.
  6. To monitor and report on project programmes to ensure that they are consistent with departmental priorities.
  7. To plan and co-ordinate publicity activities on new and improved designs.

Last Updated on 3 December 1998