For discussion PWSC(95-96)60
on 8 November 1995


Government Offices -Others
39KO - Public Records Office building at Tsui Ping Road, Kwun Tong

Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the upgrading of 39KO to Category A at an estimated cost of $105.5 million in money-of-the-day prices for the construction of a permanent building for the Public Records Office.


The temporary accommodation for the Public Records Office (PRO) in Tuen Mun lacks space for further expansion and is inadequate in terms of equipment and facilities for permanent storage of the archival holdings. Many members of the public also find the location of the PRO inconvenient.


2. The Director of Architectural Services (D Arch S), with the support of the Director of Administration, proposes to upgrade 39KO to Category A at an estimated cost of $105.5 million in money-of-the-day (MOD) prices for the construction of a permanent building for the PRO at Tsui Ping Road, Kwun Tong.


3. The project comprises the construction of a ten-storey building with a gross floor area of 5 820 square metres for the PRO1 . It will provide space for the following -

square metres

(a) records storage

1 452

(b) reference and access facilities for the public


(c) offices


(d) records appraisal and accession facilities2


(e) education and exhibition facilities


(f) conservation facilities


(g) plant room areas


(h) other ancillary facilities such as stationery and furniture stores, a sale and reception counter and a building management office

1 485


5 820


4. Hong Kong has never had purpose-built accommodation for its archives. The PRO was previously located in Murray Road Carpark Building in Central. In July this year, it had to vacate its premises to provide space for the urgent operational requirements of the Independent Commission Against Corruption, the headquarters of which are located in the same building. Pending the construction of a permanent purpose-built building, the PRO moved to the Tuen Mun Government Storage Centre at San Yick Lane, Tuen Mun. Although from the archival management point of view, the temporary accommodation in Tuen Mun represents a considerable improvement in terms of standards and facilities over that in Murray Road Carpark Building, it has a number of drawbacks.

5. First, there is a lack of space for any expansion of archival records storage and programme activities. Owing to space constraints, we have already housed some archives separately in the Wong Chuk Hang repository3 . Secondly, the location of Tuen Mun is inconvenient. In order to facilitate members of the public in their research into archives, we opened the Central Town Reading Centre4 , supported by a small repository, to the public in March this year. The public may request relevant archival material to be sent to the Town Reading Centre if it is housed elsewhere. However, if a user is uncertain of the exact material he is looking for, he may have to return to the Centre a number of times. Thirdly, the industrial surroundings of the building in Tuen Mun are hostile to the conservation and preservation of records. We have installed an air-filtering system to clear the air of dust and sulphur dioxide, and a fumigation chamber to treat other agents of deterioration in the air. These measures are however still inadequate to protect the records from hazards e.g. fire, and deterioration in the longer term.

6. There is therefore an urgent need to construct a permanent specialist building for the PRO to ensure proper protection of Hong Kong’s archival heritage and to better serve the needs of the community. We recommend the site at Tsui Ping Road, Kwun Tong for this purpose because it is in the urban area, easily accessible by public transport such as the MTR, and is set well back from the industrial area. The site measures some 730 square metres, and, because of its relatively small size, is suitable for developing into a single user building which will allow for better management and control of records protection and preservation. The design of the new building will meet the latest international standards for archival repository and management. To accord maximum protection to the records, we will insulate the entire building from the external environment by way of a complex air conditioning and filtering system. We will also install a modern gas-oriented fire prevention system with automatic smoke venting devices5 , and a special lighting system to minimise the impact caused by ultra-violet rays on the records.


7. We estimate the capital cost of the project to be $105.5 million in MOD prices (see paragraph 8 below), made up as follows -

$ million

(a) Piling


(b) Building


(c) Building services


(d) Drainage and external works


(e) Furniture and equipment


(f) Consultants' fees for construction stage


(g) Contingencies


(at December 1994 prices)


(h) Inflation allowance


(in MOD prices)


A breakdown of the estimate for consultants' fees by man months is at the Enclosure.

8. Subject to approval, we will phase expenditure as follows -

Year $ million
(Dec 1994)
$ million

1995 - 96




1996 - 97




1997 - 98




1998 - 99






We derive the MOD estimate on the basis of the Government's forecasts of trend labour and construction prices over the period between 1995 and 1999. We will tender piling and superstructure works of the project under two separate contracts in order to allow early commencement of piling works. We will award the contracts on a fixed-price lump-sum basis because we can clearly define the scope of the works in advance, leaving little room for uncertainty.

9. We estimate the additional annually recurrent expenditure to be $3.5 million.


10. During 1993 and 1994, the proposed relocation of the PRO from Murray Road, Central to Tuen Mun gave rise to strong criticisms from historians and academics. As a result, the Legislative Council Panel on Information Policy conducted several hearings on the issue. The House Committee of the Council subsequently recommended that the Government should find a permanent home for the PRO which would not only honour and preserve the archival heritage but would be readily accessible to users. We informed the Panel on Information Policy of Government’s plan to construct a permanent archives building in Kwun Tong in October 1994. The Panel has since monitored the progress of planning work through regular reports prepared by the Administration.

11. We have, from time to time, briefed the Royal Asiatic Society, a concern group interested in preserving the local heritage, on the project and it has expressed no objection to the Kwun Tong site. We consulted the Culture, Recreation, Sports and Community Building Committee of the Kwun Tong District Board on 17 October 1995. The Committee was receptive to the proposal and showed great interest in the project.


12. In June 1995, the Director of Environmental Protection completed an Environmental Review and concluded that no Environmental Impact Assessment was necessary. The proposed works will have no adverse long term environmental impact as the proposed offices will be equipped with air-conditioning and dehumidification. For short term impact, we will control noise, dust, and site run-off nuisances during construction through implementation of mitigation measures in the relevant contracts.


13. This project does not require land acquisition.


14. We upgraded 39KO to Category B in September 1995. We have engaged consultants to carry out structural engineering design, structural engineering documentation and quantity surveying documentation for the pre-construction stage of the project and charged the cost of $1.745 million to the block allocation Subhead 3009GX "Consultants' fees for building projects". The consultants are finalising these works. We are finalising the architectural and building services working drawings and tender documents using in-house staff resources.

15. We have scheduled the proposed piling and building works to start in January 1996 and May 1996 respectively for overall project completion by May 1997.

1 -- The proposed building represents a plot ratio of 6.44 which is less than the maximum ratio of 7. We have not used the maximum plot ratio because the size of the site and the nature of the proposed use would make joint use of the building difficult. The Government Property Administrator has confirmed that the site utilization rate in this case is appropriate.
2 -- These are areas where inactivie records are screened to determined whether they are of historical value, and where necessary paper work is carried out to bring the appropriate recordds into archives for permanent storage.
3 --This repository is located in the Leader Industrial Building in Wong Chuk Hang. The Director of Administration will conduct a review on the requirements of government records centers in late 1996 when the permanent PRO building in Kwun Tong is nearing completion. The Government Property Administrator will then decide whether the Wong Chuk Hang repository and the existing PRO in Tuen Mun should be converted into other purposes.
4 -- The Central Town Reading Centre is located in the Central Government Offices (West Wing). We will review the need for this centre after the completion of the permanent PRO in Kwun Tong.
5 -- Because of the risk of damaging the records, we cannot use a conventional water sprinkler system. A gas-oriented fire prevention system uses inert gases to flood the room space so as to prevent oxygen in the air supporting combustion.

Enclosure to PWSC(95-96)60

39RO - Public Records Office building at Tsui Ping Road, Kwun Tong

Breakdown of the estimate for consultants’ fees

Category of works/items
($ million)

Site supervision and contract administration

(i) Quantity surveying discipline






(ii) Structural engineering discipline









  1. The average estimated cost per professional man month is about equivalent to a professional on MPS point 44.
  2. The average estimated cost per technical man month is about equivalent to a Technical Officer on MPS point 20.
  3. The figures given above are based on estimates prepared by the Director of Architectural Services. We will only know the actual man months and actual fees when we have selected the consultants through the usual competitive system.
  4. The estimated consultants' fees represent 1.36% of the total project estimate, and cover post contract site supervision and contract administration services for quantity surveying and structural engineering disciplines only.

Last Updated on 8 December 1998