LegCo Paper No. CB(1)1580/96-97
Ref: CB1/PL/PLW/1(These minutes have
been seen by the Administration)

LegCo Panel on Planning, Lands and Works

Minutes of meeting held on Tuesday, 18 February 1997, at 10:45 a.m. in Conference Room A of the Legislative Council Building

Members present :

    Hon Edward S T HO, OBE, JP (Chairman)
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip (Deputy Chairman)
    Hon James TO Kun-sun
    Dr Hon Samuel WONG Ping-wai, OBE, FEng, JP
    Hon CHOY Kan-pui, JP
    Hon IP Kwok-him
    Hon SIN Chung-kai
    Dr Hon John TSE Wing-ling

Member attending :

    Hon LEE Wing-tat
Members absent :

    Hon LAU Wong-fat, OBE, JP
    Hon Ronald ARCULLI, OBE, JP
    Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing

Public officers attending :

    Items IV

    Mr Michael Byrne
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Works (Policy & Safety)

    Mr PANG Ho-che
    Project Manager
    Hong Kong Island and Islands Development Office

    Mr YEUNG Hung-hay
    Chief Engineer
    Hong Kong Island and Islands Development Office

    Mr WONG Chun-hung
    Senior Engineer
    Hong Kong Island and Islands Development Office

    Ms Zina C A WONG
    Assistant Commissioner for Transport/Ferry & Paratransit

    Mr Stephen P CHIU
    Senior Engineer/Port & Airport Development Branch
    Transport Department

    Mr Quentin Earle
    Senior Co-ordination Engineer
    Mass Transit Railway Corporation

    Item V

    Mr Michael Byrne
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Works
    (Policy & Safety)

    Mr A H Lamont
    Assistant Director of Architectural Services
    (Quantity Surveying)

    Item VI

    Mr Trevor Keen
    Principal Assistant Secretary for Planning,
    Environment and Lands (Lands)

    Mr KWAN Hok-chung
    Assistant Director (Airport Standards)
    Civil Aviation Department

    Miss Priscilla LAM
    Senior Safety Officer (Safety Regulation)
    Civil Aviation Department

    Mr TSANG Bing-kwan
    Senior Safety Officer (Safety Regulation)
    Civil Aviation Department

Clerk in attendance :

    Miss Odelia LEUNG,
    Chief Assistant Secretary (1)1

Staff in attendance :

    Mrs Mary TANG,
    Senior Assistant Secretary (1)2

I Confirmation of minutes of meeting

(LegCo Paper Nos. CB(1)840/96-97 and 872/96-97)

The minutes of meetings held on 17 December 1996 and 17 January 1997 were confirmed.

II Date of next meeting and items for discussion

2.Members agreed to discuss the following items at the next meeting scheduled for 18 March 1997 -

(a) Feasibility study for additional cross-border links; and

(b) Water seepage problems in private buildings.

III Information papers issued since last meeting

(LegCo Paper Nos. CB(1)792/96-97 and 881/96-97)

3.1 Members noted the Administration’s response to the submission from the Alliance on the Concern of New Territories Land use and the information paper entitled "Progress of Management Review of Water Supplies Department".

IV The design of Pier 3 in Central and its supporting facilities

(LegCo Paper No. CB(1)859/96-97(01)

4.2 The Project Manager, Hong Kong Island and Islands Development Office (the Project Manager) advised that Pier 3, the elevated covered walkway and the promenade walkway together with the supporting facilities were completed in late 1996. The walkways were opened to the public on 23 December 1996.

5.3. Hon LEE Wing-tat pointed out that although the elevated covered walkway had been completed, access for the disabled was denied because the lift and the escalator leading from outside Pier 3 to the walkway would not be ready late 1997. He queried if this constituted a case of discrimination against the disabled and added that he had already asked the District Officer (Islands) to seek comments from the Attorney General’s Chambers.

5.4 In response, the Project Manager explained that the installation of lift and escalators had been designed but for programming reasons could not be brought into operation until late 1997. This was because the building housing the lift and es`calators was still under construction by the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC) and was only scheduled for completion in mid 1997. Since the non-provision of lift/escalator services was only temporary, the Attorney General’s Chambers had advised that this would not constitute a case of discrimination against the disabled.

Admin.6.5 Regarding the progress of installation of lifts and escalators, the Senior Engineer, Hong Kong Island and Islands Development Office (the Senior Engineer) reported that tenders had just been invited by the Director of Electrical & Mechanical Services (DEMS) for the lift and escalator works. It was hoped that these works would commence in March 1997 and be completed by November/December 1997. He added that since the elevated walkway was opened for use on 23 December 1996, congestion at the pedestrian link to Connaught Road on the eastern side of the reclamation had been somewhat relieved. Consideration would be given to providing a cover for the promenade walkway linking Pier 4 and Pier 5. In response to Mr LEE’s request for a copy of the legal advice from the Attorney General’s Chambers regarding whether the phased implementation of the facilities for the disabled would constitute a case of discrimination under the Disability Discrimination Ordinance, Cap. 487, the Administration agreed that the legal advice would be provided for members’ reference.

(Post-meeting note: An information note on the legal position of Government’s action to open the elevated walkway outside Pier 3 for use by the public had been provided by the Administration and circulated to members vide LegCo Paper No. CB(1)1013/96-97)

7. 6.Members were concerned about pedestrian safety at the elevated covered walkway which was routed through a MTRC construction site. They stressed the need for maintenance of a worksite boundary and the adoption of special protective measures to ensure public safety.

8.7. The Senior Co-ordination Engineer, MTRC exhibited some photographs which showed the progress of works at the construction site. The site was dominated by the construction of the Airport Railway works. He explained that most of the works were underground, except for a super-structure which would contain the in-town check-in facilities. Two roads would be constructed under the elevated walkway, which was of a sufficient height to allow any vehicle to pass underneath it. In fact, the walkway was at a height higher than the minimum standard required. As such, the public would not be exposed to any safety hazards.

9.8. As regards the worksite boundary, the Senior Co-ordination Engineer MTRC explained that height restriction gantries had been erected at either side of the bridge. This was an additional protection measure to give advance warning to any operator of vehicles with cranes. Concrete blocks were also installed which directed vehicles into a central haul road between the footbridge columns. The lifting of construction materials by cranes over the footbridge would not be condoned. The MTRC staff were routinely monitoring the situation to safeguard the public.

10.9.In response to members, the Senior Co-ordinator Engineer, MTRC agreed to provide an undertaking from MTRC to the effect that -

  1. the lifting of construction materials by cranes over the footbridge would not be allowed;

  2. sufficient hoardings would be provided at the construction site; and

  3. height restriction gantries over haul roads would be erected as a warning to operations of abnormal construction plant. (Post-meeting note: A paper from MTRC was circulated to members vide LegCo Paper No. CB(1)1144/96-97).

11.10. As to transport interchange facilities, the Assistant Commissioner for Transport explained the following arrangements which were made in consultation with the Islands District Board, the Discovery Bay City Owners Committee, and residents’ representatives -

  1. A two-way road (D3) provided access to Pier 3 from the east and the west. On the west side, Road D3 connected Pier 1 to a one way northbound access road via Rumsey Street and Pier Road. On the east side, it joined Road D5 near Pier 7 and continued onto Harbour View Street and Connaught Place.

  2. A total of 6 routes would be available at the lay-by immediately in front of Pier 3. Airbus No. A20 would be extended to the bus stop in front of Pier 3 on its journeys from the Airport. Airport-bound passengers could board the buses and pay only once for their journey to the Airport.

  3. Transport services to the east were provided through City Bus No. 11, China Motor Bus No. 25 and 94X.

  4. Transport services to the west would be provided by Green Mini Bus routes 54 and 55, which also provided a link between Pier 3, Star Ferry and Central MTR Station, with a combined peak frequency of about 5 minutes.

  5. In addition, passengers could walk to the following nearby terminals/stops where a total of 47 routes would be available -

- bus terminus near the Hong Kong Yaumatei Ferry Central Ferry Piers;

- bus stops on Connaught Road Central outside Harbour Building;

- Rumsey Street Bus Terminus north of Harbour Building; and

- Exchange Square Bus Terminus.

The public transport arrangements were explained in detail to representatives of the Discovery Bay City Owners’ Committee at a meeting held in late January 1997. The representatives considered the arrangements generally acceptable.

V Design - build contracts administered by the Government

(LegCo Paper No. CB(1)859/96-97(02))

12.11. The Principal Assistant Secretary for Works (PAS for W) explained that the general conditions for design-build contracts were promulgated in May 1992. Prior to that, design-build contracts for public works were treated on an ad hoc basis. The fundamental difference in approach in design and build was that "buildability" was introduced at an early stage and that the designer and contractor were on the same team. The design and build contract method was currently under review. The review would consist of two parts, namely a clause by clause review of the conditions of contract for design and build contracts and a general review of administrative procedures. Separately, the Administration was conducting a review of the general conditions of contract for Civil Engineering works and for Building Works.

13.12. Dr Hon Samuel WONG said that in undertaking a design and build contract, the contractor was taking the lead and was responsible for tendering for professionals, suppliers and subcontractors. In order to save costs, the contractor might not be hiring the best team. In addition, the professionals employed would be part of the contractor’s team and would not be reporting to the Government. In this connection, the member was concerned whether the Government would suffer under this arrangement and whether additional resources had to be borne by the Government in ensuring the quality of services.

14.13. In response, the Assistant Director of Architectural Services ( A D of Arch S) explained that the design and build contract was an efficient way of procuring building facilities because the resources from the contractors were utilised. Under the provisions of design and build contracts, the appointment of consultants by contractors was limited to those who were on the Government’s approved lists. The contracting and consulting industries had all along been policing themselves. The Government needed not bear additional resources in supervising the projects. It was however necessary for the Government to continue to employ some full time on-site staff to ensure that the safety and quality of works were not compromised. The Government, in trading off the expertise with the contractors, would not incur additional costs.

15.14.In response to members’ concern about the problems encountered in implementing design and build contracts and their pros and cons in the light of experience, A D of Arch S explained as follows -

  1. The Government required reasonable skill and care from the designers. The Administration would be reviewing the aspect of fitness for purpose in the selection and specification of materials with the industry to ensure that the Government’s requirement on quality would not be compromised.

  2. Under the traditional form of contracts, the Government as the designer would comply with any changes in legislation. In imposing similar design responsibilities upon the contractor under a design-build contract, the Government had to ensure that its and the contractor’s position were protected and that changes in provisions in legislation were adhered to.

  3. As regards administrative procedures, the design drawing approval process involved a two-step procedure involving approval in principle and detailed design approval. This might take a longer time than drawing approvals for traditional contracts and improvements were sought in this area.

  4. A study report had been made on two design-build contracts, and had analysed the problems.

Admin.16. In response to the Chairman, the Administration agreed to provide an interim report setting out the experience in implementing design-build contracts, the sort of problems encountered and the proposed solutions. Members hoped that the report could be completed in time for a further discussion by the Panel within the current LegCo session.

VI Height restrictions on building for the new airport at Chek Lap Kok

(LegCo Paper No. CB(1)859/96-97(03))

17.16. The Principal Assistant Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (PAS/PEL) briefed members on the height restrictions to be imposed on buildings for safeguarding the new airport at Chek Lap Kok. Under the Hong Kong Airport (Control of Obstruction) Ordinance, Cap. 301, (the Ordinance), the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (SPEL) might, on the advice of the Director of Civil Aviation, prescribe by order areas within which no building should exceed the height specified in the order. The Ordinance also stipulated that SPEL might by order provide that the specified heights should not apply to any particular area, or any particular building within any area prescribed in the order.

18.17. PAS/PEL explained that there was a need to impose height restrictions to ensure safety of aircraft operations at the new airport. These restrictions would co-exist with those in respect of Kai Tak Airport. The height restrictions at Kai Tak Airport would be lifted when it ceases operation upon the opening of the new airport. In the meantime, the construction of buildings exceeding the height limits related to the existing airport might begin, provided that the construction did not reach the critical height before closure of the existing airport and that the ultimate height did not exceed the limits imposed in relation to the new airport.

19.18.Referring to a set of plans exhibited at the meeting which showed the areas and the Airport Height Restrictions to be imposed, the Assistant Director of Civil Aviation Department (AD/CAD) explained to members the need to introduce such height restrictions to ensure aviation safety within the flight paths.

20.19.As regards exemptions, PAS/PEL explained that owners of buildings might apply to SPEL for an exemption from the height restrictions but this would not be granted if aviation safety would be compromised. Exemptions had been granted for buildings under the flight path of the existing airport the height restrictions for which would be lifted eventually upon its closure provided that the construction did not reach the critical height before the closure of the airport. Exemptions had also been given to buildings adjacent to hilly terrain where the exempted buildings would not pose any additional aviation hazard.

Admin. 21.20.PAS/PEL assured members that every application for an exemption would be considered carefully and that the expert advice of the Director of Civil Aviation would be sought. In response to members, PAS/PEL agreed to provide an explanatory note setting out the criteria for granting exemptions.


22. 21.Hon James TO opined that SPEL should grant an exemption upon application unless aviation safety would be affected. PAS/PEL agreed to seek legal advice on this point. He confirmed that any other planning restrictions or lease restrictions would be dealt with by respective legislation and that there was no intention of using the Ordinance to achieve aims other than aviation safety.

23. 22.In response to members’ query about the availability of channels for appeal against the height restrictions, PAS/PEL stated that here was no appeal channel because this was a matter of aviation safety. All height restrictions were devised on the basis of professional and technical advice. Where an explanation was called for, the Administration would explain as far as possible. There were however compensatory provisions in the Ordinance for whose who suffered losses as a result of the imposition of the height restrictions.

24. 23.On public consultation, PAS/PEL explained that this was considered not necessary as the public would not be qualified to comment on matters involving aviation safety. For safety reasons, the height restrictions had to be conservative. However, these restrictions would be adjusted when more advance technology allowed for some degree of relaxation.

25. 24.There being no other business, the meeting closed at 12:30 pm.

Legislative Council Secretariat

13 May 1997

Last Updated on 21 August 1998