LEGCO Paper No. CB(2) 1200/95-96
(The minutes have been seen by the Administration)
Ref : CB2/BC/4/95

Minutes of Meeting of the Bills Committee to study
the Buildings (Amendment) (No. 3) Bill 1995

held on Wednesday, 3 April 1996 at 10:45 a.m.
in Conference Room B of the Legislative Council Building

Members Present :

    Hon Mr Ronald ARCULLI (Chairman)
    Hon Mrs Selina CHOW, OBE, JP
    Hon Edward S T HO, OBE, JP
    Hon Albert CHAN Wai-yip
    Dr Hon Samuel WONG, MBE, FEng, JP
    Hon TSANG Kin-shing

Public Officers Attending :

Director of Buildings
Mr CHENG Wei-dart
Deputy Director of Buildings

In Attendance :

The Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA)
Mr Dennis LAU Wing-kwong - also Chairman, Architects Registration Board
Mr LAM Wo-hei

The Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE)
Mr Barry Stubbings
Mr Joseph CHOW

The Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (HKIS)
Mr Michael Mann

The Real Estate Developers Association of Hong Kong (REDA)
Mr Kent LEE

The Hong Kong Construction Association (HKCA)
Mr Patrick CHAN

Staff in attendance :

Mr LEE Yu-sung
Asst Legal Adviser 1
Mrs Sharon TONG
Chief Asst Secy (2) 1
Miss Odelia LEUNG
Sr Asst Secy (2) 1

I. Clause-by-clause examination

Clause 1.

In response to the Chairman’s enquiry, Dr Y L CHOI said that there might be different commencement dates for different parts of the Bill. The Administration was open-minded on the issue. The Chairman commented that the present drafting of clause 1 did not allow for this. ALA1 confirmed that it was the usual practice to draft a clause to provide for different commencement dates.


2. The meeting agreed to consider the need for different commencement dates for different sections after the Bills Committee went through the other provisions.

Clerk to note

Clause 2

3. Mr CHENG Wei-dart said that the Administration would move a Committee Stage Amendment (CSA) to the definition of "Registration Committee" to cover all Registration Committees and not only those appointed under section 3(5) of the Buildings Ordinance (BO). Section 3(5) provided for the appointment of AP Registration Committee and RSE Registration Committee.

4. ALA1 would liaise with the Law Draftsman on the drafting of the term "specialised works". This should mean works that only a registered specialist contractor could carry out.


5. In reply to the Chairman’s enquiry, Mr CHENG Wei-dart said that there were provisions in the BO regarding street works.

Clause 4

Subclause (2)

6. Members noted that the word "engineers" was a generic term which included different branches of engineers. The HKIE would consider the need to narrow its meaning to structural engineers.


Subclause (4)

7. On the composition of the respective Registration Committees, Members raised the following points:

  1. Members doubted the merits of including a lay member in each Registration Committee. Unlike a disciplinary board, the Registration Committee considered purely registration matters and the contribution from a lay person would hence be minimal.
  2. Members expressed reservations about the nomination process as provided under subclause (4)(bc). The effect of subclause (4)(bc) would be that a large number of nominations would be put forward to the BA who would select only one person to sit on each Registration Committee.
  3. Members considered the present drafting of subclauses (4)(b) and (ba) unclear as to whether the number of architects/engineers/surveyors in the respective list could exceed the specified number sitting on the Registration Committee.

8. In reply, Mr CHENG Wei-dart said that the policy intention of including a lay member nominated by public bodies was to allow public interests be reflected in each Registration Committee. The term "public bodies" was not defined under the existing legislation. On advice of the Attorney General’s Chambers, the Administration drew up a list of public bodies as provided under subclause (4)(bc). The specification of such bodies would fetter the discretion of the BA in selecting the person sitting on the Registration Committees.

9. Regarding the nominations from public bodies, Mr CHENG Wei-dart explained that the Administration intended to compile a list of persons who would be sitting on the Registration Committees on a roster basis. This arrangement would be necessary in the light of the workloads of the Registration Committees each of which normally held 26 to 30 meetings a year. Roster membership would apply only to the persons selected by the BA under the subclauses (b)(v) and (ba)(v).

10. On point (c) above, Mr CHENG Wei-dart said that there was no restriction on the number of nominations/names on the respective professional list but the respective Registration Board should select the requisite number for appointment to the respective Registration Committee.

11. Members were of the view that the present drafting of subclause (4) failed to achieve the intended effect. Members suggested that the Administration consider appointing a member of the public to each Registration Committee for a short term, say one year. This would be preferable to roster membership which might not be conducive to the functioning of the Committee. Members also proposed that similar to the present practice of the Registration Board, the Administration should consider providing for "alternates" in respect of each Registration Committee. This would address the question of workloads and of possible conflict of interests on the part of the Committee members. The Administration agreed to consider Members’ proposal and review the drafting of subclause (4).


12. Members asked the Clerk to seek information from the Administration regarding the inclusion of lay members in other professional registration boards.


Subclause (7)

13. In response to the Chairman’s enquiry about the reasons for amending the validity period of registration, Mr CHENG Wei-dart explained that the BD would not be able to issue practising certificates to AP or RSE for a validity period of 3 years under the new registration system; the registration of professionals would depend on their obtaining from the respective Registration Boards an annual certificate.

Dr Y L CHOI said that this subclause was relevant to the first applications for inclusion in the registers maintained by the BA and did not apply to renewal of names in the registers.

14. Mr Barry Stubbings said that the Engineers Registration Board required a declaration of professional competence from its members for annual renewal of membership. Mr Dennis LAU said that the annual declaration on the part of professionals was intended to assure maintenance of professional standards.

15. To streamline the registration procedures without compromising the professional standards, the Chairman suggested that the Administration consider the merits of a regime under which the registration would be valid for a period of three years but the persons in the registers would have to make an annual declaration.


16. At Members’ request, ALA1 would identify the provisions in the BO relating to renewal of registration.


Subclause (8)

17. Responding to Members’ questions, Mr CHENG Wei-dart said that a person who was aggrieved by the decision of a Registration Committee regarding his application for inclusion in a register might appeal to the High Court under the proposed section 9A. At present an applicant had to wait for about 6 months for the result of his application. The processing time of an application would be shortened under the new registration system. However, there was no stipulated time limit within which a Registration Committee had to come to a decision on an application nor was there a time bar for lodging appeal against the Registration Committee’s decision.

18. Mr Kent LEE said that REDA was concerned about the absence of provisions for recognition of relevant experience of architects as opposed to practising experience for registration purpose. Architects would have a disincentive to work for developers in order to retain their qualification for registration. Mr Dennis LAU said that the Architects Registration Board accepted relevant experience of architects for registration purpose, which was governed by the relevant provisions in the Architects Registration Ordinance, Cap 408.

Subcluase (10)

19. Mr Edward HO brought Members’ attention to the new requirement under subclause (10)(b) regarding submission by the applicant of a valid certificate of registration or of renewal of registration issued by the respective Registration Board for retention of names in the register. Mr Ho was concerned about the possible problems arising from the same expiry date of registration under the BO and the respective Registration Ordinances. Moreover, the respective Registration Board, after issuing a certificate, would not be in a position to guarantee its validity as the professional concerned might thereafter commit acts and should be liable for removal of name from the register.

20. Mr CHENG Wei-dart replied that the BD would sort out the matter with the respective Registration Boards with a view to tying in the two registration systems under the BO and the respective Registration Ordinances.


21. After discussion, the meeting agreed that a person would be required to produce a certificate of registration issued by the respective Registration Boards which should be valid at the date of application for retention of name in the register under the BO, and it would be up to the BD to conduct the annual checking .

Subclauses (12) and (18)

22. The professional institutions were concerned about the onus laid on the respective Registration Boards to notify the BA of any names removed from the registers. The respective Registration Boards should have no difficulties in reporting to the BA any disciplinary cases which normally were few. However, there could be a large number of names removed from the registers due to inadvertent non-payment of prescribed fees or simply a lapse of time.

23. Mr CHENG Wei-dart said that the Administration intended to work out a system with the respective Registration Boards to cross-check the qualifications of persons included in a register. The Administration’s thinking was to refer to the respective Boards the names in a register maintained by the BA and to rely on the Boards to notify it of any irregularities.

24. The Chairman was of the view that it would not be realistic to rely on the person concerned to report to the BA of the removal of his name from a register. The respective Registration Boards would inevitably shoulder certain responsibility in this regard. The Chairman suggested that the professional institutions explore how this could be done through administrative procedures implemented by the respective Registration Boards.

prfessional institutions

25. Regarding subclause (18), Dr Y L CHOI said that it was intended that the registration should be valid for a period of no more than 12 months unless the person’s name was removed from the relevant register. To this end, the Administration would review the drafting.


Existing Section 4

26. Mr Barry STUBBINGS stated that consequent to the introduction of supervision plans, engineers considered it appropriate to delete the words "as a consultant" in subsection (1)(b). Under the proposed system of site supervision, RSE would be responsible for many aspects of supervision for a building project whereas AP would not. As such, the RSE would not function as a consultant to the AP; RSE and AP would work independently.

27. Mr CHENG Wei-dart said that the proposed repeal would change the present system for building works which would have serious consequences. The Chairman was of the view that the Administration should examine whether removal of the phrase would have any legal consequences. Dr Y L CHOI said that as the proposed repeal might change the fundamental operation system of building works, the Administration would discuss it with the professional institutions.

Adm and professional institutions

Date of Next Meeting

28. Members scheduled two meetings as follows :

  1. 25 April 1996 (Thur) at 10:45 a.m.; and
  2. 2 May 1996 (Thur) at 2:30 p.m.

29. The Chairman reminded Members that the next meeting would be held on 18 April 1996 (Thur) at 8:30 a.m.

30. The meeting ended at 12:40 p.m.

LegCo Secretariat
2 May 1996

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