LC Paper No. PWSC70/98-99
(These minutes have been seen by the Administration)

Ref : CB1/F/2/2

Public Works Subcommittee of the Finance Committee of the Legislative Council

Minutes of the tenth meeting held at the Legislative Council Chamber on Wednesday, 16 December 1998, at 10:45 am

Members present :

Hon HO Sai-chu, JP (Chairman)
Dr Hon Raymond HO Chung-tai, JP (Deputy Chairman)
Hon Kenneth TING Woo-shou, JP
Hon Edward HO Sing-tin, JP
Hon Fred LI Wah-ming
Hon CHEUNG Man-kwong
Hon CHAN Kam-lam
Dr Hon LEONG Che-hung, JP
Hon Gary CHENG Kai-nam
Hon SIN Chung-kai
Hon WONG Yung-kan
Hon LAU Kong-wah
Hon Andrew CHENG Kar-foo
Hon TAM Yiu-chung, JP

Members absent :

Hon James TIEN Pei-chun, JP
Hon Cyd HO Sau-lan
Hon Albert HO Chun-yan
Hon LEE Wing-tat
Hon Eric LI Ka-cheung, JP
Hon Margaret NG
Hon James TO Kun-sun
Hon Ambrose CHEUNG Wing-sum, JP
Hon Christine LOH
Hon CHAN Yuen-han
Hon Mrs Miriam LAU Kin-yee, JP
Hon Emily LAU Wai-hing, JP
Hon Timothy FOK Tsun-ting, JP
Dr Hon TANG Siu-tong, JP

Member in attendance:

Hon Michael HO Mun-ka

Public officers attending :

Miss Emma LAU
Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (3)

Mr Patrick LAU, JP
Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands

Secretary for Works

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

Director of Architectural Services

Miss Ellen CHOY
Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower (2)

Assistant Director of Education (Allocation and Support)

Chief Architect/2, Housing Department

Miss Eliza YAU
Principal Assistant Secretary for Health and Welfare (Medical)(1)

Dr Constance CHAN
Assistant Director of Health (Health Administration and Planning)

Assistant Director/Acquisition, Lands Department

Mr Bernard LAM
Director of Civil Engineering

Director of Highways

Director of Territory Development

Director of Water Supplies

Mrs Mimi BROWN
Deputy Government Property Administrator

Deputy Director of Drainage Services

Mr Rob LAW, JP
Director of Environmental Protection

Assistant Director of Home Affairs (2)

Mr Jack CHAN
Deputy Secretary-General (1), University Grants Committee

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

Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower (5)

Assistant Director (Schools), Education Department

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

Ms Jennifer CHAN
Principal Assistant Secretary for Health and Welfare (M)2

Mr Sardara Singh DILLION
Assistant Director of Social Welfare (Project Planning)

Mr Alan SIU
Principal Assistant Secretary for Information Technology Broadcasting (C)

Mr Kingsley FUNG
Assistant Director of Information Technology Services (Management Consultancy Services)

Principal Assistant Secretary for Housing (Project Management)
Clerk in attendance:
Miss Polly YEUNG
Chief Assistant Secretary (1)3
Staff in attendance:
Ms Pauline NG
Assistant Secretary General 1

Ms Anita SIT
Senior Assistant Secretary (1)8

Upgrading of projects to Category A


PWSC(98-99)51 -- 260EP -- Primary school in Yau Tong Estate redevelopment, phase 2, Yau Tong

Regarding the shortfall of classrooms in Kwun Tong District, the Principal Assistant Secretary for Education and Manpower (2) (PAS/EM2) advised that of the total shortfall of 238 classrooms for the district, 152 classrooms would be required to meet the increase in demand for school places up to year 2002/03, and the remaining 86 classrooms would be required to convert existing bi-sessional schools to whole-day operations so as to achieve the target of enabling 60% of pupils in public sector schools to study whole-day schools by the same year. Three school projects had already been approved by the Finance Committee (FC), and subject to the FC's approval of project 257EP (which was endorsed by this Subcommittee on 25 November 1998) and the present proposal, the shortfall in respect of new demand would be generally met.

2. On whether the construction schedule of the proposed primary school would tie in with the redevelopment of Yau Tong Estate, the Chief Architect/2, Housing Department, advised that the redevelopment project comprised five phases. Phase 1 was scheduled for completion in August 2000 and the remaining phases, by the end of 2001. The shopping centre in the estate would be completed in 2003. The proposed primary school would form part of the works for phase 2. In this connection, Mr Fred LI expressed concern that the construction works nearby would cause serious dust and noise nuisance to the proposed primary school during its initial years of operation. In response, the Director of Architectural Services (DArchS) confirmed that insulated windows and air-conditioning would be provided for all classrooms, remedial teaching rooms and five out of the six special rooms of the school. He also assured members that environmental mitigation measures undertaken by the contractors at the construction sites nearby would be strictly monitored to keep the dust and noise impact within prescribed limits.

3. Regarding the "provision for price adjustment" in the construction contract for the proposed school, DArchS explained that school projects were usually tendered under fixed-price lump-sum contracts as the contract period usually did not exceed 21 months. In this case, however, construction of the proposed primary school would be entrusted to the Housing Authority and included under the contract for phase 2 of the estate redevelopment. Since the total duration of the contract period would exceed 21 months, provision for price fluctuation was necessary. He confirmed that this entrustment arrangement would not cause delay to the school project as construction of the school would be carried out on a separate site and unaffected by other construction works included under the same contract.

4. Referring to the costs comparison set out in the enclosure to the paper, Mr Edward HO queried the relatively high estimated cost of $13.7 million for drainage and external works for the proposed school as compared to the standard cost of $8 million for the same works item for a standard 30-classroom primary school. DArchS explained that the standard cost was worked out on the basis of a standard school built on an average level site without complicated geotechnical conditions and utility diversions. For the proposed school project, re-alignment and replacement of existing drainage installations and some drainage connection works outside the school site would be required in addition to the normal drainage works for a standard primary school. As regards the way of apportioning the actual cost for drainage and external works between the Government and the Housing Authority under the entrustment arrangement, DArchS advised that the cost would be apportioned on the basis of the gross floor area (GFA) of the school building as a proportion of the total GFA of the subject phase of the estate redevelopment. Mr HO queried the fairness of this apportionment arrangement, pointing out that a residential building usually required more drainage installations than a school building. His concern was shared by Mr Kenneth TING. In response, DArchS said that this apportionment arrangement had all along been adopted for school entrustment projects and it might be difficult to work out precisely the respective share of drainage works for the school building and for other buildings under the same contract. Nevertheless, he agreed to raise this matter with the Housing Authority at the next review of the entrustment arrangements.Admin.

5. Mr SZETO Wah suggested that the Administration should conduct site visits to obtain users' feedback and consult school management on the design for standard 30-classroom primary schools. Acknowledging the importance of feedback and first-hand information, DArchS advised that a meeting with school principals would be held in mid-January 1999 to gauge their views on the latest design for standard primary schools.

6. Mr SZETO Wah stated his view that where feasible, school construction works should be completed well in advance of the commencement of a school year to allow the school sponsor sufficient time to carry out the necessary administrative and preparatory work for the commencement of operation of the school. Furthermore, the schedule for residents intake of an estate should preferably tie in with the commencement of a school year; otherwise some pupils might choose to transfer from existing schools to the new school in the middle of the school year, thus causing difficulties for the former. PAS/EM2 took note of his concerns.

7. Referring to the constant price estimates which were at December 1997 prices, Mr SIN Chung-kai questioned the reliability of the estimates due to the time gap between December 1997 and the timing of presenting the proposal. The Deputy Secretary for the Treasury (3), in reply, advised that to enable easy comparison and to facilitate budgeting, a constant price level was used to work out the constant price estimates for proposals submitted within the same financial year. The December 1997 prices were used for proposals submitted in 1998-99. Similarly, for the next financial year, the constant price estimates would be based on the December 1998 prices. She further explained that for each public works funding proposal, the Administration would also present the money-of-the-day estimates by applying a set of price adjustment factors (PAFs) to the constant price estimates so as to reflect the latest trends of construction prices. She reiterated that while the PAFs were adjusted once every year in the past, they had been adjusted twice in 1998 due to the relatively sharp fluctuation in construction costs.

8. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(98-99)52 -- 59MC -- Fanling primary health care centre in area 11B, Fanling

9. Regarding the response of local residents to the project, the Assistant Director of Health (Health Administration and Planning) (AD/H(A&P)) advised that residents in the vicinity of the proposed Fanling primary health care centre (FPHCC) were mainly concerned about the possible impact of medical services for sexually transmitted diseases and skin diseases as well as odour nuisance. To allay their fears, the Administration had held two meetings with local residents and representative of the primary school in January and April 1997. At the meetings, the Administration had explained in detail that sexually transmitted diseases and skin diseases would not be transmitted through casual contacts. The Administration had further assured local residents that the design of the air-conditioning system of the centre would minimise odour nuisance to the surrounding environment. While expressing support to the proposal, Dr LEONG Che-hung urged the Administration and Members from the geographical constituency concerned to take this opportunity to promote a correct understanding on primary health care in the community.

10. As to whether the completion of the project could be expedited, DArchS pointed out that the schedule for completing the project in January 2002 was already fairly tight, taking into account the time required for tendering, piling, construction of the superstructure, fitting out and the complicated electrical and mechanical installation works. As regards the timetable for commissioning the services at FPHCC, AD/H(A&P) advised that the various services would be commissioned some two to three months after delivery of the Centre to the Department of Health.

11. On whether the FPHCC would be able to meet the demand of the population of New Territories East (NTE) by the year 2002, the Principal Assistant Secretary for Health and Welfare (Medical)1 confirmed that population growth had been taken into account in planning the services at the Centre. However, not all the services would have the capacity to cope with further growth in demand beyond the year 2002 and additional facilities to meet further growth would have to be planned in due course. Elaborating on the planning of primary health services for the district, AD/H(A&P) pointed out that general out-patient services for the district currently provided by the general out-patient clinic (GOPC) in Shek Wu Hui was saturated. To alleviate the caseload on weekdays, the GOPC also provided evening and holiday out-patient services. The new GOPC in the proposed FPHCC would provide four additional consultation rooms. Together with the training centre for the Department of Community and Family Medicine of the Chinese University of Hong Kong to be reprovisioned to FPHCC, there would be adequate out-patient services for the population in Fanling and Sheung Shui of NTE. As regards the School Dental Clinic (SDC), AD/H(A&P) advised that with an additional SDC at FPHCC, dental appointments for each student participating in the NTE School Dental Care Service could be increased from the present 1.2 appointments to two appointments each school year. She supplemented that the reprovisioning of the existing Fanling maternal and child health centre to FPHCC with enhancement would enable the service to cope with the demand of the projected population of NTE by the year 2006.

12. In reply to Mr TAM Yiu-chung about the provision of elderly health services in NTE, AD/H(A&P) advised that a new Elderly Health Centre (EHC) had been commissioned at Shek Wu Hui Jockey Club Clinic in July this year. Although there would be no additional EHC at FPHCC, elderly residents in Fanling in need of medical attention might avail themselves of the service of the GOPC in FPHCC. Mr TAM suggested that the consultation rooms to be vacated at the Fanling maternal and child health centre upon its reprovisioning to FPHCC might be converted into an additional EHC in Fanling. AD/H(A&P) explained that the Elderly Health Service was a new service and the utilisation was being monitored. She agreed to consider the suggestion when planning for additional EHCs in the New Territories.

13. As to whether the project would optimise the development potential of the site, DArchS advised that the maximum plot ratio was 4.5 for the site while the proposed FPHCC would achieve a plot ratio of 4.45. Besides, given that the maximum height restriction of nine storeys had been reached, he believed the development potential of the site had been optimised.

14. The item was voted on and endorsed.

Block Allocations

PWSC(98-99)53 -- New Item -- Block Allocations for Head 701 to 711 under the Capital Works Reserve Fund

15. Members noted that the Panel on Planning, Lands and Works and the Panel on Information Technology and Broadcasting had been briefed on this proposal.

16. Regarding the open competition on the design of the Reunification Monument under Subhead 3101GX of Head 703, DArchS advised that the competition results would be finalised by end of December 1998 and the construction of the monument was scheduled to commence early next year for completion by June 1999. The monument would be erected at the open ground to the west of the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre. As regards the estimate of $15 million for the project, DArchS advised that entrants for the competition had been advised of a ceiling of $15 million for the construction cost of the monument.

17. The item was voted on and endorsed.

Revision in scope /approved estimates of projects in Category A


PWSC(98-99)54 -- 206ES -- Secondary school in area 40, Fanling

18. The item was voted on and endorsed.

PWSC(98-99)55 -- 238EP -- Primary school in area 77, Sha Tin

19. Noting that the project was scheduled for completion in August 2000, Mr SZETO Wah urged the Administration to advance the completion date by a few months to allow sufficient time to carry out the necessary administrative and preparatory work for the opening of the school before the commencement of the school year. In response, DArchS confirmed that the Administration would take forward the project as quickly as possible and would closely monitor the progress of work. On the suggestion of imposing a monetary penalty on the contractor for delays to the project, DArchS said that while there would be a penalty clause in the works contract, an unreasonable level of penalty might become a disincentive to early completion of the project as the contractor might wind up or go bankrupt upon failure to complete the works.

20. Referring to the design of the proposed school, PAS/EM2 confirmed that the Administration would upgrade project 238EP to adopt the latest design and schedule of accommodation for standard 30-classroom primary schools. Schools under this new design would be provided with a total of four remedial teaching rooms and 30 enlarged classrooms of 67 square metres each. She added that school 260EP under item PWSC(98-99)51 would also adopt this design.

21. The item was voted on and endorsed.

22. The Subcommittee was adjourned at 11:45 am.

Legislative Council Secretariat
14 January 1999