Information Paper for the Legislative Council Panel on HousingPurpose
Sandwich Class Housing Scheme
This paper introduces the monitoring of works and inspection procedures of flats for Sandwich Class Housing Scheme (SCHS) estates; and briefs Members the follow-up actions taken by the Housing Society (HS) to rectify the seepage problem which took place in some estates after Typhoon Sam and continuous torrential rains.Background
2. The SCHS aims to provide housing for those who are unable to afford flats in the private sector, and yet are ineligible for public housing. Sites were granted to the Housing Society at concessionary premium. The Housing Society, being the agent of the Government, is responsible for construction of flats for sale to eligible households at discounted prices. So far, 10 projects, comprising about 8,920 flats, have been completed.Monitoring of Quality of Works and Inspection Procedures of Flats
3. The HS employs professionals like architects, structural engineers and electrical engineers to design and monitor the quality of works for every development project. It also implements a "quality control system" during the construction period to ensure the quality of flats. Moreover, additional independent building surveyors are employed nearer completion of the works to check the flats, ensuring that the quality complies with the objective standard of the construction industry before they are accepted.
4. During the in-take period, staff from independent building surveying companies accompany and assist owners to inspect the flats and complete the "defects list", and explains to them the operation of the facilities in the flats. Any defects identified by the owners can be recorded on the "defects list" for follow-up. The contractor of the HS will rectify the defects as soon as possible until the problems are resolved.
5. To further protect the rights of the owners, a half-year defects liability period has been clearly stated in the Sale and Purchase Agreement, during which owners can contact the HS to refer the defects to the contractor for follow-up. After the expiry of the defects liability period, the HS will continue to urge the contractor to follow up on defects reported by the owners and which have been confirmed to be the contractor's responsibility. In fact, the HS has repeatedly stressed that the quality of flats has been confirmed to meet the standard of the HS and the industry before they are handed over to the buyers. If any repair and maintenance work is needed, the HS will continue to provide necessary service until the work is completed.Seepage Problem after the Typhoon
6. During this summer, Hong Kong has been attacked by three typhoons when a No. 8 or higher typhoon signal was hoisted. No serious seepage problem in the SCHS developments under the HS was reported during the typhoons in May and June. According to the data from the Hong Kong Observatory, Typhoon Sam in late August was particularly strong, where the No. 8 typhoon signal was hoisted for more than fifteen hours and gusty wind was up to a speed of 148km/hour. It also brought continuous torrential rains with the black rainstorm warning signals twice hoisted on two consecutive days. Under Typhoon Sam, reports of seepage problem were received from some SCHS flats. There were more seepage reports from Highland Park, possibly because the development stands on the hill at Lai King and is unsheltered by any other structure, making it easier for rain to seep in through the air holes of air-conditioners under strong wind.
7. According to the HS, engineering staff conducted quality and other tests in its developments before in-take and the flats were up-to-standard as certified by professionals. Estate management offices of the HS took preventive measures, such as issuing storm warning notices and clearing the drainage channels before the typhoon drew near.
8. The management offices concerned took prompt action upon receiving reports from the owners after the typhoon. Arrangements were made with the owners to inspect the flats affected and the contractor was immediately arranged to carry out the rectification works, including the installation of sealant in some of the flats. As for some serious cases, the HS will conduct an inspection of the flat for the owner, and carry out necessary improvement works.
9. As the HS has taken out property all-risk insurance on the communal areas and original fixtures in the flats at the time of in-take, owners who find the original fixtures damaged after the typhoon may contact the management office so that the insurance company can be informed. The HS has reported known cases so far to the insurance company for assessment of compensation by the certification company.