For discussion
on 24 February 1999



Fitting-out- Social Welfare
66IS - Refurbishment of Social Security Field Units and fitting out of a Central Casefile Depository in support of process re-engineering under the Computerised Social Security System of Social Welfare Department

    Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the upgrading of 66IS to Category A at an estimated cost of $140 million in money-of-the-day prices for the refurbishment of Social Security Field Units at various locations and the fitting out of a Central Casefile Depository in support of the process re-engineering under the Computerised Social Security System of the Social Welfare Department.


The existing layout and accommodation in the Social Security Field Units (SSFU) of the Social Welfare Department (SWD) cannot cope with the re-engineering and service improvement requirements for implementation of the Computerised Social Security System (CSSS) in SWD.


2. The Director of Architectural Services (D Arch S), with the support of the Secretary for Health and Welfare, proposes to upgrade 66IS to Category A at an estimated cost of $140 million in money-of-the-day (MOD) prices for the refurbishment of 35 SSFUs at various locations and the fitting out of the Central Casefile Depository (CCD) for the implementation of CSSS in SWD.


3. The project comprises the following refurbishment works of SSFUs and the fitting-out of the CCD -

  1. major refurbishment of 23 existing SSFUs to provide adequate interview rooms equipped with computer workstations and printers including upgrading of power supply, repainting of walls, repair/replacement of carpets, replacement of old style furniture, demolition of partitions, re-partitioning of rooms and repositioning of building services associated with the re-partitioning;

  2. minor refurbishment1 of 12 existing SSFUs including the provision of sufficient power points, computer nodes and necessary trunking work for the installation of computer workstations and printers in these offices; and

  3. fitting-out of a new CCD in Tuen Mun including the provision of all furniture, trunking, power sockets and equipment.

A list of the 35 SSFUs is at the Enclosure.


4. The Social Security Payment System (SSPS), primarily a payment system, is currently providing support to the staff of SWD in the processing of social security payments to recipients of Comprehensive Social Security Assistance (CSSA) and Social Security Allowance (SSA). Although the SSPS is effective in processing payment, it has little room for major enhancement to meet the growing needs for better and more efficient services. To improve the quality of service and to cope with the operational and management information needs of the Administration, the Finance Committee approved on 28 November 1997 vide paper FCR(97-98)67 the development of the CSSS to replace the SSPS. The CSSS will connect over 1 200 workstations at 35 different SSFUs and provide on-line functions for efficient data capture, processing and retrieval of information. As the existing accommodation of SSFUs cannot support the installation of the CSSS network, the setting up of a new CCD and the refurbishment of SSFUs are crucial for the successful implementation of the CSSS.

5. With on-line display of investigation reports under the CSSS, the physical files can be transferred and stored in separate premises immediately after completion of an application or review. This will release office space of about 1 800 square metres currently used for storage of case files at different SSFUs. These casefiles will be transferred from various SSFUs to the proposed CCD to free up space at the SSFUs for the provision and fitting out of additional interview rooms and the accommodation of new computer workstations and printers for the on-line functions delivered by the CSSS. With more self-contained interview rooms, staff at SSFUs can conduct more interviews in a given period of time, hence speeding up the processing of applications.

6. Apart from the need for providing additional accommodation at SSFUs, the existing facilities at SSFUs will need to be upgraded to help achieve a successful implementation of the CSSS. Refurbishment works will be carried out to provide suitable physical environment for the on-line input and retrieval of data and information from the CSSS at the time of interviews. We will streamline the work processes and eliminate duplicated efforts. This will improve work efficiency and productivity.

7. As a result of the additional counters at SSFUs and the implementation of the on-line CSSS functions, we envisage that 90% of clients can be attended to by the service units staff within 5 minutes as compared with the current performance pledge of attendance in 10 minutes. We also expect that the processing of 90% of routine applications such as applications for Old Age Allowance, can be completed within the same day, hence reducing the number of visits to the SSFU that a client has to make for an application. We therefore consider that the refurbishment of the new CCD and SSFUs is essential in coping with the re-engineering and service improvement requirements for the CSSS implementation.


8. We estimate the capital cost of the project to be $140 million in MOD prices (see paragraph 10 below), made up as follows -

$ million
(a) Building 47.5
(b) Building services 43.3
(c) Furniture and equipment 9.5
(d) Charges by Electrical and Mechanical Services Trading Fund (EMSTF)26.9
(e) Contingencies 10.7

Sub-total 117.9 (at December 1997 prices)
(f) Provision for price adjustment 22.1

Total 140.0 (in MOD prices)


9. The total gross floor area (GFA) of the 35 SSFUs is 16 378 square metres and the average unit cost of fitting out these units, represented by building works and building services costs, is $4,567 per square metre at December 1997 prices. The GFA of the CCD is 2 500 square metres and the unit cost of fitting out this Depository, represented by building and building services costs, is $6,400 per square metre 3 at December 1997 prices. We consider these fitting-out unit costs reasonable compared with the average fitting-out cost for government offices.

10. Subject to approval, we will phase the expenditure as follows -

Year $ million
(Dec 1997)
Price adjustment
$ million
1999 - 2000 35.0 1.12890 39.5
2000 - 01 65.0 1.19663 77.8
2001 - 02 17.9 1.26843 22.7




11. We derived the MOD estimates on the basis of the Government's latest forecast of trend labour and construction prices for the period 1999 to 2002. In view of the tight work programme, we will implement the project under the design-and-build fitting-out term contracts, where the contractor will be responsible for the detailed design and fitting-out works and will operate within firm and precise parameters and a cash-limited budget set by Government. We will define the scope and requirements of the project in sufficient detail to ensure that the contractor understands and complies with the requirements of the contract.

12. The project will not give rise to any additional annually recurrent expenditure.


13. As all the proposed works will be carried out within the existing offices of SWD, we consider there is no need for public consultation.


14. D Arch S engaged consultants to conduct a Preliminary Environmental Review (PER) in February 1998 which concluded that the project would have no adverse environmental impacts. The Director of Environmental Protection (DEP) vetted the PER and agreed that an Environmental Impact Assessment would not be necessary. D Arch S will conduct a survey to assess the possible disturbance of asbestos containing material (ACM) in various buildings due for demolition work, and will remove and dispose of any ACM, prior to the commencement of any demolition or improvement works in strict compliance with relevant statutory requirements, codes of practice and guidelines. We will control noise, dust and site run-off nuisances during refurbishment through the implementation of appropriate mitigation measures in the relevant works contracts.


15. The project does not require land acquisition.


16. We upgraded 66IS to Category B in October 1998. Subject to approval, we will commence the refurbishment and fitting-out works in April 1999 for completion in June 2000 before the live run of the CSSS in October 2000.


Health and Welfare Bureau
February 1999


Enclosure to PWSC(98-99)67

66IS - Refurbishment of Social Security Field Units and fitting out of a central casefile depository in support of process re-engineering under the Computerised Social Security System of Social Welfare Department

List of the 35 Social Security Field Units (SSFUs)

A. SSFUs which require major fitting-out works (23)

1. Central / Western & Islands SSFU

2. Ngau Tau Kok SSFU

3. San Po Kong SSFU

4. Tsing Yi SSFU

5. Sha Tin (North) SSFU

6. Aberdeen SSFU

7. To Kwa Wan SSFU

8. Tsuen Wan SSFU

9. Tsz Wan Shan SSFU

10. Yuen Long (West) SSFU

11. Wan Chai SSFU

12. Kowloon City SSFU

13. Kwai Chung (East) SSFU

14. Sai Kung SSFU

15. Butterfly SSFU

16. Traffic Accident Victims Assistance (TAVA) Section

17. Mongkok SSFU

18. Shek Kip Mei SSFU

19. Lam Tin SSFU

20. Yuen Long (East) SSFU

21. Criminal & Law Enforcement Injuries Compensation Section (CLEIC)

22. Yau Tsim SSFU

23. Sha Tin (South) SSFU

B. SSFUs which require minor fitting-out works (12)

1. Causeway Bay SSFU

2. Chai Wan SSFU

3. Kwai Chung (West) SSFU

4. Kwun Tong SSFU

5. Lai Chi Kok SSFU

6. Sau Mau Ping SSFU

7. Sham Shui Po SSFU

8. Sheung Shui SSFU

9. Tai Po (North) SSFU

10. Tai Po (South) SSFU

11. Tuen Mun SSFU

12. Wong Tai Sin SSFU

1.These 12 SSFUs have been reprovisioned during the 1998-99 financial year. The fitting out works have taken into account the space requirements under the CSSS. Therefore, only minor works are now required for computer trunking etc.

2.Since the establishment of the EMSTF on 1 August 1996 under the Trading Fund Ordinance, government departments are charged for design and technical consultancy services for electrical and mechanical installations provided by the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD). The services rendered for this project cover the overall project management, design, supervision, payment certification, testing, commissioning and maintenance on the building services and electrical/mechanical parts. The figures given above are based on estimates prepared by the Director of Architectural Services. The actual cost for the service charges is subject to further discussion between the government and the EMSD.

3.The unit cost for the CCD is higher than that for the SSFUs because of the specialised building services requirements for file storage. We need to provide an adequate air-conditioning system to maintain temperature and moisture at a constant level. We also need to upgrade the fire services installations because of the mass storage of paper files.