Information Paper for the
Provisional Legislative Council
Panel on Housing
Quality of Flats under Subsidized Home Ownership Schemes and the Responsibility of the Housing Authority
The purpose of this paper is to advise Members of the measures taken by the Housing Department (HD) to ensure that the subsidized home ownership scheme flats are built in accordance with the required quality standards.
2.Subsidized home ownership is encouraged through, inter alia, the Home Ownership Scheme (HOS) and the Private Sector Participation Scheme (PSPS). The HOS is undertaken by the Housing Authority (HA), while the PSPS is undertaken by private developers in accordance with Conditions of Sale set out by the Government.
Home Ownership Scheme
3.HD is responsible for the construction of HOS flats. To ensure that high standard of quality is achieved, HD takes various measures in managing the contractors and material suppliers.
Listing of Approved Contractors
4.HA maintains an independent list of approved building contractors. Apart from other major listing criteria, past track record of contractors' work and performance is a major factor in considering contractors' capability for inclusion on the list.
5.Only contractors on this list is allowed to tender for building works of the HA. The building works of a successful contractor are monitored on a regular basis. HD maintains an assessment, warning and penalising system on contractors with unsatisfactory performance.
6.All contractors engaged on HA contracts are also required to register under the International Standards Organisation (ISO). Contractors are also subject to regular performance checks. Contractors will not be awarded HA contracts solely by virtue of registration with the ISO.
Standardisation of Building Components
7.To further improve the quality of flats, recent standard HOS designs place emphasis on standardisation of building components and the use of factory production techniques rather than labour intensive works on site. This helps minimise human errors.
Listing of Approved Suppliers and Materials
8.HD maintains lists of approved suppliers for factory produced building components. These suppliers are pre-qualified for the lists by submitting their production processes and management for close scrutiny by HD, as well as through trial production runs to ensure compliance with specifications. Production standards are maintained through regular factory inspections and random testing of products both at factory and on site. These suppliers are also required to register under ISO.
9.Besides HD maintains lists of approved building materials. The suppliers of these products must carry out rigorous testing to ensure compliance with specifications. Periodic factory inspections are conducted too.
Performance Assessment Scoring System (PASS)
10.HD's staff assess contractors' performance in terms of workmanship and safety on a monthly basis. To this end, PASS provides an objective means to measure contractors' performance against the required standards and serves as a tool for comparing performance of individual contractors on a fair and consistent basis.
11.In managing the HA's list of approved contractors, the principle is that contractors with better track record will have more tendering opportunities. PASS is an incentive for contractors to improve their workmanship as their tendering opportunities for the works contracts are dependent upon the PASS scores.
12.The construction works are closely supervised by qualified site staff to ensure that the works are completed in accordance with the specifications in materials, workmanship, management and safety. Any defects identified are made good before the construction works are completed.
13.New buildings usually require more attention during the first year of occupation. The building contractor is liable to remedy any building defects, provided that they are not the result of deliberate damage, wear and tear or residents' decoration work, for one year after the completion of the construction works. When the contractor's liability period of one year expires, the owners will take up the maintenance responsibility. There may be latent defects, which are the result of materials or workmanship not complying with the specifications and can only be detected at later stage. The contractor is also responsible for latent defects.
Private Sector Participation Scheme
14.Under PSPS, private developers instead of HA are the developers of the housing projects. The developers are required to comply with the Conditions of Sale which set all the requirements for the project. A Technical Schedule, which is included in the Conditions of Sale, stipulates all the specifications and standards for construction works, fittings and finishes for the residential flats. The Technical Schedule is under review from time to time to keep it in line with the latest specifications and standards for HOS projects as far as practicable.
15.As with other private sector developments, the developer under PSPS has to employ an Authorised Person (AP) to hold responsibility for the project design, submission of building plans in accordance with the Buildings Ordinance, supervision of construction and development progress, and to ensure that the completed development complies with the Conditions of Sale including the Technical Schedule.
16.HD is required under the Conditions of Sale to employ a private surveyor to monitor and oversee the PSPS project. The responsibility taken by HD is on behalf of Government, not HA.