For discussion FCR(96-97)36 on 5 July 1996


Subhead 218 Maintenance of government buildings

Members are invited to approve supplementary provision of $24.5 million under Subhead 218 Maintenance of government buildings.


The approved provision of $438,283,000 for maintenance of government buildings is insufficient to meet requirements in the current financial year due to the unforeseen need to carry out essential repairs and reprovisioning works at Whitehead Detention Centre.


2. The Director of Architectural Services (D Arch S), with the support of the Secretary for Security, proposes supplementary provision of $24.5 million under Subhead 218 so that there will be no disruption to scheduled repairs and maintenance work on government buildings and facilities.


3. The disturbances at Whitehead Detention Centre on 10 and 11 May 1996 caused substantial damage to a large number of buildings and facilities in the Centre. Twelve buildings in the administration and support areas were irreparably damaged by fire. Five dormitory buildings occupied by detainees were also seriously damaged.

4. As an interim measure, D Arch S has provided temporary converted-container units for use by Correctional Services Department (CSD) staff. However, to secure proper control and management of the Centre, the immediate reinstatement of eight of the damaged administration/support buildings is necessary. To step up management of more troublesome detainees, we will form a new Management Section in the Centre by constructing six purpose-built dormitories to house these detainees and put them under the surveillance of CSD staff.

5. D Arch S estimates that the total cost of essential repairs and reprovisioning works is $28.5 million, broken down as follows -

$ million

(a) Demolition of fire damaged administration and support buildings


(b) Provision of temporary container units for administration and support uses, including site preparation works


(c) Replacement of Administration Block, Control Centre, canteen and store buildings


(d) Replacement of dormitories and barrack block buildings




6. As regards paragraph 5(a) above, the cost of $1 million is for the demolition and disposal of the fire damaged dormitories, administration block, stores, staff canteen and barrack blocks. These works were completed at the end of May 1996. We have also started to demolish all existing two-storey buildings to prevent detainees from using these buildings to resist apprehension and will complete the work by mid-July 1996.

7. As regards paragraph 5(b) above, the cost of $1 million is for the provision of ten fitted-out temporary container offices for use by CSD staff and for storage pending completion of works on permanent structures. The works included the provision of foundations, power supply, water supply and air-conditioning to the container offices and were completed in mid-May 1996.

8. As regards paragraph 5(c) above, the cost of $12 million is for the replacement of the fire damaged Administration Building, CSD Control Centre, staff canteen, stores and refurbishment of the existing kitchen. These works were completed in mid-June 1996. We have used the existing infra-structure for these buildings as far as possible to minimise overall construction costs. In order to strengthen the security of the administration area, we have provided fences and used stronger materials where necessary.

9. As regards paragraph 5(d) above, the cost of $14.5 million is for the replacement of four fire damaged barrack blocks for CSD staff and for six purposely-constructed dormitories to house troublesome detainees. We will use stronger materials and structures. These works are in progress and will be completed by mid-July 1996.

10. D Arch S could not have foreseen the need for these additional requirements when preparing his 1996-97 expenditure estimates. He has carefully re-examined his present commitments and concluded there is little scope for re-scheduling other maintenance work without affecting the services provided by departments concerned. Moreover, re-scheduling some of the work would lead to additional costs in future. After careful consideration, he has decided to redeploy $4 million originally reserved for typhoon emergency repairs for this purpose. Should it prove necessary to carry out more emergency repair works caused by typhoons later this summer than now anticipated, he may have to seek further supplementary provision later in the year.


11. D Arch S estimates that there will still be a shortfall of $24.5 million which he cannot meet by further re-deploying resources within Subhead 218 the position of which is as follows -

$ million

(a) Actual expenditure from 1 April 1996 to 31 May 1996


(b) Outstanding commitments as at 31 May 1996


(c) Uncommitted funds which have been earmarked for specific purposes


(d) Estimated expenditure for emergency works at Whitehead Detention Centre


(e) Estimated total expenditure for 1996-97 [(a)+(b)+(c)+(d)]


(f) Approved provision for 1996-97


(g) Estimated shortfall [(e)-(f)]


(h) Offset by redeployment of reserve earmarked for emergency typhoon repairs under (c)


(i) Supplementary provision required [(g)-(h)]


12. If Members approve the proposal, we will offset the supplementary provision required by deleting an equivalent amount under Head 106 Miscellaneous Services Subhead 251 Additional commitments.


13. Provision under Subhead 218 is for maintaining some 7 000 government buildings and for emergency repair works to government property. The work is mainly carried out by contractors. D Arch S has earmarked a sum of $8 million in 1996-97 for the maintenance of all detention centres including Whitehead Detention Centre, Green Island, High Island and Tai A Chau. We could not have foreseen the necessary repair and reprovisioning works at Whitehead Detention Centre as a result of the recent disturbances and therefore have not made any provision in the earmarked funds.

14. In addition to the proposed works in paragraph 5 above, we will separately seek funds under Capital Works Reserve Fund Head 703 for carrying out security improvement works at Whitehead Detention Centre. The works involve strengthening the 5.7 metre-high perimeter fence and replacement of all existing gates by metal grille gates equipped with special security locks. Subject to funding approval, we will accord high priority to complete all necessary works as soon as possible.

Finance Branch

June 1996

Last Updated on 2 December 1998