Information paper for the Provisional Legislative Panel on Housing
Recommendations for improvement
to prevent a re-occurrence of
the incident of fallen glass panel in Ping Tin shopping centre
This paper informs Members of the progress in implementing recommendations endorsed by the Building Committee of the Housing Authority to prevent a re-occurrence of the incident of fallen glass panel in Ping Ting Shopping Centre.
2. On 22 December 1997, a glass balustrade at the Ping Ting Shopping Centre failed, resulting in the injury of a child. An independent investigation team was established to carry out inspection and inquiry into the incident. The full report of the investigation team entitled, ?Report on incident on fallen glass panel in Ping Tin Shopping Centre?has been circulated to members before the Panel meeting of 19 January. The report covered the cause of failure, procedures relating to the design, construction and maintenance of glass panel balustrades and possible improvement in procedures to prevent a re-occurrence of the incident.
3. At the Panel meeting on 19 January, members noted that a special meeting of the joint Building Committee/Commercial Properties Committee of the Housing Authority had been held on 7 January 1998 to consider the investigation report on the incident. Members further noted that actions were being taken by the Building Committee as follows:
- to consider detailed improvement proposals for preventing a re-occurrence of the incident; and
- to consider any further action, including disciplinary action against the main contractor.
4. The Housing Department has prepared guidelines on the design, specification and inspection of glass panel balustrades for incorporation in the Commercial Centre Design Guide to be used by building professionals concerned.
5. In the longer term, the Housing Department will implement initiatives to further strengthen control in the use of non-standard safety items. These initiatives include:
- to review procedures for checking and certifying designs submitted by the contractor;
- to compile a data base for non-standard items and approved modifications to the design of standard domestic blocks submitted by contractors, for the easy reference of building professionals concerned;
- to revise the inspection checklist used by site supervisory staff and the percentage for making mandatory inspection on work items concerning safety;
- to strengthen site supervision by designating Clerks of Works or above to carry out inspections; and
- to arrange seminars and workshops for staff to boost safety awareness in design and construction.
6. Separately, the Housing Department has conducted visual inspection to all glazed balustrades in shopping centres managed by the Housing Authority. Detailed inspections have confirmed that the condition of these balustrades was generally satisfactory. Some additional precautionary measures have been initiated. Meanwhile, an in-house working group has been formed to review the existing procedures for handover, fitting-out and management of shopping centres managed by individual single operators or Property Management Agencies.
Possible action to be taken against the contractor
7. The Building Committee has appointed a panel to undertake further investigation on the need to take action against the main contractor. Various concerned parties, including the main contractor, the shopping centre's operator and departmental staff have been interviewed by the panel. A consultant has also been engaged to conduct further technical investigation and material testing in order to provide independent advice on the incident. The panel will report its findings to the Building Committee in April this year. Subject to the findings, appropriate actions relating to Housing Department staff and the single operator will be taken.