Provisional Legislative Council

PLC Paper No. PWSC 79
(These minutes have been
seen by the Administration)

Ref : CB1/F/2/2

Public Works Subcommittee of the
Provisional Legislative Council

Minutes of the meeting held at the Legislative Council Chamber on Tuesday, 17 February 1998, at 9:30 am

Members present:

Hon HO Sai-chu, JP (Chairman)
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP (Deputy Chairman)
Hon WONG Siu-yee
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Hon Mrs Elsie TU, GBM
Hon Henry WU
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP
Hon Mrs Sophie LEUNG LAU Yau-fun, JP
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Hon Frederick FUNG Kin-kee
Hon Howard YOUNG, JP
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP
Hon KAN Fook-yee
Hon NGAN Kam-chuen
Dr Hon LAW Cheung-kwok

Members absent :

Prof Hon NG Ching-fai
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Hon Allen LEE, JP
Hon CHEUNG Hon-chung
Dr Hon Mrs TSO WONG Man-yin
Hon MOK Ying-fan
Hon CHENG Kai-nam
Hon LAU Wong-fat, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP

Public officers attending : Public officers attending :

Miss Emma LAU
Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (3)

Mr Bowen LEUNG, JP
Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

Mrs Stella HUNG, JP
Deputy Secretary for Works

Mr Rob LAW, JP
Director of Environmental Protection

Mr James HERD
Principal Assistant Secretary for the Treasury (Works)

Director of Territory Development

Director of Architectural Services

Mrs Margaret CHAN
Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower (9)

Assistant Director of Education (Allocation & Support)

Miss Annie TANG
Director-General of Industry

Miss Anges WONG
Assistant Director-General of Industry

Mr Bobby CHENG
Principal Assistant Secretary for Trade and Industry (B)

Deputy Secretary for Security (2)

Mr Albert LAI, JP
Government Property Administrator

Director of Highways

Mr Johnny CHAN
Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport (5)

Chief Engineer/Port & Airport Development, Transport Department

Ms Carolina YIP
Principal Transport Officer/Urban

General Manager/Planning, Marine Department

Director of Water Supplies

Secretary-General, University Grants Committee

Ms Michelle LI
Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower (1)

Dr FUNG Hong
Deputy Director (Hospital Planning & Development), Hospital Authority

Ms Jennifer CHAN
Principal Assistant Secretary for Health and Welfare (M2)

Chief Engineer/Consultants Management, Drainage Services Department

Clerk in attendance:

Mr Andy LAU
Senior Assistant Secretary (1)6

Staff in attendance:

Ms Pauline NG
Assistant Secretary General 1

Mrs Vivian KAM
Chief Assistant Secretary (1)5


Upgrading of projects to Category A


PWSC(97-98)132 321CL Reclamation and servicing of Tuen Mun area 38 for special industries

A member enquired the reasons for including an inflation allowance of $571.7 million and the need for using money-of-the-day (MOD) estimates for capital works projects. The Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (DS/Tsy) advised that the use of MOD prices for project estimates was to overcome the problem of constant-price approved project estimates which was based on the prevailing costs of construction at a given date and took no account of inflation over the contract period of the project. In the present proposal, the project cost was worked out in MOD prices, having regard to an inflation allowance of $571.7 million. She added that the actual tender prices would be the results of a competitive bidding process and the inclusion of an inflation allowance in the project estimate would not encourage tenderers to inflate their prices.

2. Regarding the estimates for consultants’ fees, the Director of Territory Development (DTD) clarified that a major part of the provision would be used to cover the costs of resident site staff employed by the consultants. A small portion would be for remunerating the consultants for supervising the staff concerned. The consultants’ fees at the construction stage was estimated to be $18 million. As regards the schedule for the project under consideration, DTD said that the Administration planned to start the proposed works in July 1998 for completion in June 2001, although expenditure for the project would span over a period of five years.

3. A member pointed out that in view of the limited information provided in the Public Works Subcommittee (PWSC) papers, it would be difficult, if not impossible, for members to judge whether or not the proposed estimates were reasonable. He suggested that the Administration should give an assurance in future PWSC papers that the estimates were reasonable. DS/Tsy explained that when drafting PWSC papers, the Administration would try to set out as clearly as possible the key elements which the Administration had regard to in preparing the estimates. DTD supplemented that the Administration would prepare a detailed design for each project and use this information to arrive at an estimated cost for the project. Should there be a need to change the scope of the project or to revise the project estimates after the funding approval of the Finance Committee, separate proposals with full justifications would be put forward for members’ consideration.

4. Members generally considered it important for public work projects to be closely monitored. In view of concerns raised on how project estimates were arrived at and the related monitoring mechanism, members agreed to discuss the subject further at the Panel on Planning, Lands and Works. Meanwhile, a member requested the Administration to provide additional information on the forecast and actual expenditures in respect of projects completed over the past few years. DS/Tsy took note of the member's request, adding that such information was also available in the Annual Estimates of Expenditure. Admin

5. The item was voted on and endorsed.


PWSC(97-98)129 85ET Improvement works to existing government schools based on the recommendations of the Education Commission Report No. 5 - phase 4

6. Some members queried the need and the justification for engaging consultants to take up the improvement works at 30 Government schools under phase 4 of the School Improvement Programme (SIP). In reply, the Director of Architectural Services (D Arch S) explained that there were some 960 schools involved in the SIP. Many of these schools were built with non-standard design while others were built a long time ago, and detailed site investigations on the structure and components of the buildings would be necessary. As the Architectural Services Department did not have sufficient in-house staff resources, the Administration had proposed the appointment of consultants to carry out site investigations, feasibility studies, detailed design, contract documentation and associated project management works. He added that the Administration had been working on the SIP since the proposal was endorsed by the Executive Council in 1993. The proposed commissioning of consultants was not a new arrangement and had been used in previous phases of the SIP.

7. Some members considered that the consultants’ fees for feasibility studies for the project under consideration were too high. D Arch S advised that the consultants’ fees in respect of the architectural discipline only constituted 6.8% of the total estimated construction cost. Given the complexity of works to be undertaken by the consultants prior to tendering, the proposed fees were considered reasonable.

8. In view of the long term nature of the SIP, some members questioned whether it would be more cost-effective for the Government to engage contract staff or even permanent staff on its own to carry out the necessary works rather than engaging external consultants. The Chairman advised that such an issue would need to be discussed by the relevant panels. Regarding the specific comparison of individual projects, a member suggested that written questions could be raised during the examination of the Draft Estimates.

9. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(97-98)124 3GA Science Park at Pak Shek Kok - phase 1

10. Noting that the Industry Department had already carried out two consultancy studies to examine the case for developing a Science Park in Hong Kong, some members expressed reservations about the need for another consultancy study.

11. D Arch S explained that the three consultancy studies served different purposes. The objectives of the first two consultancy studies were to establish the feasibility for the development of a Science Park. The first study examined issues relating to the choice of site and the resultant town planning and reclamation needs whereas the second study was on the requirements of the Science Park and its mode of operation. The present proposal focused on the construction aspect and consultants would be engaged to carry out site investigations and the detailed planning of the overall phased development.

12. In response to a member, D Arch S advised that the proposed consultancy fees for the detailed design and tender documentation amounted to $36.3 million, representing 6.82% of the Stage 1 Phase 1 of the construction estimate of $531.6 million. The estimates for the consultancy fees during construction were being work out. Since the development of a Science Park was unprecedented in Hong Kong, there might be a need for engaging the same consultants to undertake the related works during construction.

13. In view of a lapse of six years since the first consultancy study was undertaken in 1992, members urged the Administration to speed up the process for the construction of the Science Park and enquired whether the study period could be expedited. D Arch S said that while the proposed study would be completed by November 1999, actual construction works would need to wait till after completion of the reclamation works currently being undertaken. The Administration would seek members’ approval for the construction costs of the buildings once the detailed design was completed. The aim was to complete the necessary works by mid-2001 to enable the opening of the Science Park in mid-2001.

14. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(97-98)138 46JA Departmental quarters at Lee On Road, Kwun Tong

47JA Departmental quarters at Hong Ning Road, Kwun Tong

48JA Departmental quarters at Lai Chi Ling Road, Lai King

49JA Departmental quarters at West Kowloon reclamation

15. Regarding the revenue to be generated from the redevelopment of the nine departmental quarter sites, the Government Property Administrator advised that the sites were grossly under-utilized by present day standards for site development. Upon redevelopment, the total construction floor areas would be raised by 2.5 times. Depending on income from future land sales, the revenue generated from the redevelopment could be close to the project estimates for the construction of four departmental quarter projects.

16. The item was voted on and endorsed.


PWSC(97-98)133 582TH Central Kowloon Route - consultants’ design fees and site investigations

17. A member questioned the time taken to study and prepare the initial design after the first study started in 1991. She also queried the justifications for repeated consultancy studies at high costs. Since the proposed Central Kowloon Route would only be completed by late 2007, she was worried that the congested traffic situation on roads in East and West Kowloon would further deteriorate in the meantime. She therefore urged the Administration to speed up the delivery of the project.

18. The Director of Highways (DHy) explained that the Administration had established the alignment of the Central Kowloon Route through two feasibility studies at a total cost of $26 million. Given that the urban areas were already fully developed, it would be difficult to identify an additional east-west link in Central Kowloon without significantly adversely affecting traffic, environment and existing buildings. After evaluating over 30 route options across the Kowloon Peninsula, the Administration had finally identified an alignment for the route involving minimal demolition and rehousing. However, this route would require the relocation of four Government buildings, the demolition of a small number of private buildings, the lowering of the design speed of the route so as to reduce the curvature of the alignment and hence the impact on existing buildings. The project would be gazetted next year upon completion of the review phase of the study, the environmental assessments and the preliminary design and consultation with district boards. The project was scheduled for completion by 2007. The Administration would closely monitor works progress and maintain a regular dialogue with Provisional District Boards concerned with a view to speeding up the delivery of the project. The completion date of this project was scheduled to tie in with the implementation programme of the road network on the new reclamation at Kai Tak.

19. A member considered the proposed duration of five and a half years for the consultancy study too long. He suggested that the Administration should provide sufficient information in future PWSC papers to illustrate difficulties faced by the Administration in speeding up the delivery of projects. DHy advised that under normal circumstances, it took about two to three years to complete a detailed study. A longer study period was required for this consultancy because it involved a review phase, preliminary and detailed design, preparation of tender documents and assessment of tenders leading to its award. Due to the long time required to reprovision the Government buildings and to rehouse tenants of affected private buildings, the consultancy had to take into account such activities prior to calling tender and award of contracts, thus requiring a much longer lead time than conventional consultancies.

20. Noting that the present alignment was drawn up with a lower design speed for the proposed route, and having regard to the extensive development and the continued growth of east-west traffic in Central Kowloon, members were worried that the route would not have sufficient capacity to absorb the traffic demand by the time it was opened to traffic. A member was of the view that it was preferable for newly built trunk roads to be of dual three-lane standard. He therefore requested the Administration to review the design of the proposed alignment so as to upgrade the route to dual three-lane standard.

21. The Chief Engineer/Port & Airport Development advised that a dual three-lane road between the West Kowloon reclamation and future developments in South-East Kowloon was desirable to cater for the traffic demand. DHy added that the Administration had indeed examined the feasibility of constructing a dual three-lane road tunnel. However, the proposal would necessitate the removal of a large number of buildings on both sides of the route. Such an approach would lead to the rehousing of a large number of people and was considered unacceptable. A dual two-lane tunnel was the best the Administration could achieve under the circumstances.

22. Following on from the Administration's advice, a member enquired about the feasibility of modifying the design so as to provide a tunnel which would run deeper underneath the foundations of buildings and thereby avoid the need for demolition. DHy advised that this option had also been considered but in order to do so, the tunnel would have to go deeper than 50 metres beneath ground level. With this constraint and having regard to the maximum acceptable gradient of the route, it would not be possible to link the tunnel approach road with the planned road network at South East Kowloon Development (SEKD) without revamping completely the whole road network. In addition, the link would not be at the desired location of the reclamation. The Principal Assistant Secretary for Transport (PAS/T) added that the Central Kowloon Route was not the sole linkage between East and West Kowloon. There were other road developments planned in both the West Kowloon Reclamation and the SEKD. The Airport Railway and the Tung Chung Line would be put into operation later in the year and the Administration would also review the need for additional highway infrastructure to tally with the planned developments in SEKD.

23. A member expressed grave concern about the high consultancy fees for road projects. She pointed out that the total estimates for consultancy fees in respect of road projects considered by the Subcommittee in the same meeting under PWSC(97-98)133, 126 and 130 already amounted to some $500 million. In anticipation of the substantial number of large scale road projects in the pipeline, she questioned whether it would be more cost-effective for the Government to recruit its own staff rather than to engage external consultants to take up the works.

24. Members noted that an information paper on the project had been circulated to the Transport Panel but that Panel members had not had the opportunity to discuss the proposal. In the light of the many concerns raised by members, the Chairman suggested the item should be further discussed by the relevant Panels. He was prepared to convene a special PWSC meeting if the Administration would like to resubmit the paper. A member added that the Administration should also consider expediting the planning stage of the project. DS/Tsy said that the Administration would withdraw the paper and arrange a joint briefing for the Panel on Transport and the Panel on Planning, Lands and Works before resubmitting the proposal to the Subcommittee for re-consideration. Admin

25. The item was withdrawn by the Administration.

PWSC(97-98)126 694TH Route 16 from West Kowloon to Shatin

26. Noting that the Sha Tin Provisional District Board (STPDB) had expressed concerns about the project, a member enquired the latest position of the consultation. DHy clarified that STPDB had not raised objections but had sought additional information on the feasibility of banning heavy vehicles from Tai Po Road upon the opening of Route 16 and on the environmental mitigation measures for affected residents in Sha Tin. The Administration would consult the STPDB again in March 1998. Regarding consultation with the Provisional Municipal Councils and whether the facilities of the Councils would be affected by the project, DHy undertook to provide the requisite information after the meeting. Admin

27. In view of the nature of the consultancy contract, the Chairman reminded the Administration to assess whether it would be more cost effective to create additional posts and employ civil servants to undertake road projects.

28. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(97-98)130 714TH Route 7 - section between Kennedy Town and Aberdeen - investigation and preliminary design

29. A member pointed out that the updating of the Second Comprehensive Transport Study had recommended that Route 7 should be in place before 2011 in order to meet the forecast traffic increase. However, in view of an anticipated increase in population since the study, there was a pressing need for earlier delivery of the project. DHy explained that the Administration had aimed at commencing construction of the section from Aberdeen to Sandy Bay in 2003 for completion by 2007. The section between Sandy Bay and Kennedy Town would however depend on the progress of the Green Island Reclamation. The present schedule was to complete the road works at this section by 2010 to tie in with the reclamation programme. The possibility of expediting the road work together with the reclamation project would be explored in consultation with the Territory Development Department who would be entrusted to carry out all the works within the reclamation. A member suggested that the Administration should examine separately the feasibility of constructing the project over the sea in case the Green Island Reclamation did not proceed as scheduled.

30. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(97-98)139 69TI Public transport interchange at Ping Shek adjacent to Choi Hung Mass Transit Railway station

31. A member expressed concern about the design of the first level of the interchange in which an access ramp to Lung Cheung Road was not provided. The Principal Transport Officer/Urban (PTO/U) advised that the Administration had examined the proposal but considered it not feasible owing to site constraints. She said that motorists heading for Lung Cheung Road should travel north along Clear Water Bay Road towards Choi Wan Estate before heading south for Lung Cheung Road.

32. A member expressed grave concern that the traffic conditions in the vicinity of Ping Shek Estate would deteriorate during the period of construction. He also pointed out that since roads within Ping Shek Estate were under the management of the Housing Department, the Transport Department should liaise closely with the Housing Department to resolve such traffic problems. PTO/U replied that the Administration would closely monitor the situation to ensure that through traffic would be maintained at all times. Where necessary, restricted zones would be designated. A traffic liaison group would also be set up during construction stage to monitor progress and to introduce traffic management measures if necessary. To address the member's concern, she undertook to arrange for a trial run to demonstrate the effect of the project on traffic conditions in the area.

33. PAS/T confirmed in response to a member that the Government would grant, to the Mass Transit Railway Corporation at the normal market premium, the site adjacent to the Choi Hung Mass Transit Railway station, including the area occupied by the existing Ping Shek transport terminus, for the development of a commercial complex. In order to avoid interface problems, the present proposal was seeking the necessary funding approval to entrust the construction of the public transport interchange to the Corporation at a ceiling of $61.8 million.

34. The item was voted on and endorsed.


PWSC(97-98)134 183CL Tai Po development - remaining works

35. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(97-98)127 436CL Green Island development stage I - reclamation and reprovisioning of waterfront facilities

36. In response to a member, DTD advised that the Green Island Reclamation fell outside the scope of the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance enacted by the former Legislative Council.

37. A member enquired about objections received on ecology and marine safety and the possible disruption to waterfront users. In reply, DTD explained that in May 1997, the Administration had commissioned an in-depth study on the ecological, water quality and marine traffic impact of the Green Island Development (GID). The study was scheduled for completion in August 1998. Preliminary results of this study as well as the Administration's response to concerns raised were given at Enclosure 1 of the discussion paper. The present study would focus on the feasibility of re-programming the GID so as to cater for the forecast increase of population in Green Island from 103 000 to 135 800. DTD advised that all these studies were initial preparatory studies for the project. The Administration had yet to make a decision as to whether the GID should proceed and would need to have regard to the findings of the various studies in progress before arriving at a conclusion.

38. As regards the schedule for completion of the project, DTD said that the plan was to implement the GID in stages with reclamation works starting in mid-2002 and other road works in 2004.

39. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(97-98)125 85WC South East Kowloon development at Kai Tak Airport - early development package

40. In response to a member on whether certain structures in the north apron area of Kai Tak Airport would be retained for commemorative purpose, the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands (SPEL) advised that the Administration had considered this possibility but had concluded that none of the existing structures in the airport were worthy of retention, in a historical sense.

41. The item was voted on and endorsed.


PWSC(97-98)131 85WC Service reservoir and associated waterworks to serve Kai Tak Airport early development package

42. SPEL confirmed in reply to a member that the area covered by the proposed waterworks project fell outside the scope of the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance.

43. The item was voted on and endorsed.

New commitments/Changes in commitments for subvented projects


PWSC(97-98)140 17EC Improvement works to existing secondary schools based on the recommendations of the Education Commission Report No. 5 - phase 3

18EC Improvement works to existing primary schools based on the recommendations of the Education Commission Report No. 5 - phase 3

44. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(97-98)142 19EC Improvement works to existing aided secondary schools based on the recommendations of the Education Commission Report No. 5 - phase 4

20EC Improvement works to existing aided primary schools based on the recommendations of the Education Commission Report No. 5 - phase 4

45. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(97-98)135 UGC projects -

47EG Redevelopment of Lady Ho Tung Hall, phase 2 (HKU)

24EK Student hostels development, phases I & II (PolyU)

48EG Supplementation for the new Biological Sciences Building on cost of furniture and equipment items (HKU)

46. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(97-98)136 26MM Redevelopment of specialist out-patient department, nursing school, pupil nurse hostel in Our Lady of Maryknoll Hospital

47. Members noted that no additional Government funding was required for the proposed revision in project scope.

48. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(97-98)141 37MM Castle Peak Hospital Redevelopment - Phase II

49. In addressing a member's concern regarding the provision of psychiatric services, the Deputy Director (Hospital Planning & Development), Hospital Authority (DD/HA) confirmed that part of the psychiatric service currently provided in the Castle Peak Hospital would be transferred to the Kowloon Hospital, as a result of which the number of beds in the Castle Peak Hospital would be reduced from 1 700 to 1 500. The Hospital Authority had just completed a review of the need for beds for patients, including psychiatric patients, over the next ten years, and the review report would be considered within the Hospital Authority, and by the Administration and the relevant panel in the Provisional Legislative Council. He took note of the member's reminder for account to be taken of the adequacy of medical staff, and assured the Committee that the Hospital Authority would aim at improving psychiatric services overall.

50. A member enquired about the high piling cost of $114.3 million for the project. D Arch S advised in response that this was due to the use of large diameter bore piles which would be 40 metres deep. Furthermore, as the Hospital would only be five storeys high, the piling cost would seem disproportionately high when compared to the cost of the superstructure. Regarding the reasons for restricting the height of the hospital, DD/HA explained that patients in the Castle Peak Hospital had special needs. Most patients in the hospital stayed there for long periods and the provision of open areas, and green and pleasant surroundings such as roof gardens was essential to create an environment to facilitate the rehabilitation of these patients. In order to achieve this objective, a five-storey structure had been proposed. This would also obviate the need for psychiatric patients to ride in lifts.

51. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(97-98)137 42MM Hospital improvement programme, phase IV - improvement to 13 public hospitals

52. As the 13 public hospitals were built a long time ago, a member expressed concern at the possible existence of asbestos as this might be dangerous to patients, workmen and staff. D Arch S replied that if asbestos were found in buildings during redevelopment or improvement works, the asbestos would be removed in accordance with strict guidelines before construction works were carried out. This would ensure that no one would be endangered. The problem would not arise in new buildings where asbestos had been banned.

53. A member noted that one of the 13 hospitals covered by the proposal under consideration was the Castle Peak Hospital and that funding for phase 2 re-development of the hospital had just been considered by the Subcommittee under PWSC(97-98)141. She enquired about the reason for not grouping works for the same hospital under the same item in order to reduce costs. In response, D Arch S advised that the project under consideration was an improvement item involving a series of improvement works to a number of hospitals. Such works did not conflict with the individual hospital's redevelopment programmes. In the case of Castle Peak Hospital, the re-roofing was for quarters outside the site boundary of the redevelopment scheme. D Arch S added that maintenance term contractors under existing contracts would be asked to carry out the necessary maintenance works, and this would expedite the process.

54. The item was voted on and endorsed.

Revision in scope/approved estimate of projects in Category A


PWSC(97-98)128 164WF Stanley and Repulse Bay water supply - stage 5

55. A member asked why the watermains had to go deeper than was originally planned which resulted in an increase in the project estimate. The Chief Engineer/Consultants Management, Drainage Services Department (CE/DSD) explained that this was mainly on account of the unexpected large quantities of rock encountered in trench excavation, and inaccurate information on underground public utilities. In response to another member on whether such problems had been highlighted in the consultant's report, and if the Administration or the consultants should bear the responsibilities, CE/DSD said that a request would normally be made to the public utilities companies for the requisite information. The consultant would also consider the need for conducting detailed investigations. For the project under consideration, the problem was the result of inaccurate information provided by the public utilities companies. As regards whether or not the consultant concerned would be blacklisted, CE/DSD advised that such performance would be recorded in half-yearly reports of consultants for future consideration by the Administration.

56. Referring to the statements in discussion papers for works projects generally that such projects would create job opportunities, a member sought assurance that there was liaison between the Works Bureau and the Education and Manpower Bureau to ensure the provision of suitable training in this respect. The Deputy Secretary for Works assured the member that close contact was maintained with the Education and Manpower Bureau and the Construction Industry Training Authority to ensure that suitable training courses would be organised aimed at meeting the manpower needs in Hong Kong.

57. The item was voted on and endorsed.

58. The Subcommittee was adjourned at 12:15 pm.

Provisional Legislative Council Secretariat
26 February 1998