For discussion PWSC(97-98)18
on 9 May 1997


Public Safety - Fire services 122BF - Sub-divisional fire station in area 52, Tuen Mun

    Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the upgrading of 122BF to Category A at an estimated cost of $44.5 million in money-of-the-day prices for the construction of a sub-divisional fire station in area 52, Tuen Mun.


The existing Tuen Mun Divisional Fire Station is unable to respond to emergencies in northern Tuen Mun within the approved graded response time1limits.

1According to the current approved fire-fighting policy, fire calls in built-up area, dispersed riskl and remote areas should be met within a response time of 6, 9 and 23 minutes respectively.


2. The Director of Architectural Services (D Arch S), with the support of the Secretary for Security, proposes to upgrade 122BF to Category A at an estimated cost of $44.5 million in money-of-the-day (MOD) prices for the construction of a sub-divisional fire station in area 52, Tuen Mun.


3. The project comprises the construction of a sub-divisional fire station with a four-bay appliance room, offices, an exercise room, barracks, a canteen, a drying room, stores, a lecture room and a drill yard.


4. Currently, fire fighting services for northern Tuen Mun are provided by Tuen Mun Divisional Fire Station at Pui To Road in area 9. However, the average response time of fire appliances from this existing station to the northern part of Tuen Mun has exceeded the approved graded response time because of the long distances to be travelled. In the past two years, we were able to respond to only 82.8% of fire calls originating from northern Tuen Mun areas within the approved response time, as against our performance pledge of 91%. The average response times we achieved for these calls were about 7.5 minutes in built-up areas and 11 minutes in dispersed risk areas. These average times were 1.5 minutes and 2 minutes longer than the respective approved response times. Recent catastrophic fires have shown that a difference in response times by a minute or two can be critical in terms of the number of casualties or fatalities that might otherwise be avoided. There is an urgent need to improve the fire service response times for northern Tuen Mun. The proposed site in area 52 is within the northern part of Tuen Mun and is strategically located for a fire station to serve the northern Tuen Mun area.

5. We propose to construct a sub-divisional fire station in area 52 in order to meet current demand for fire services as well as to cope with future developments in northern Tuen Mun. The proposed station will provide coverage for an area of about seven square kilometres2 with a present population of about 120 000.

2 This service area include Leung King Estate, Tin King Estate, Kin Sang Estatte, Siu Hong Court, Tuen Mun Hospital, Tsing Chuen Wai, Tuen Tsz Wai, San Hing Tsuen, Tsz Tin Tsuen, Lam Tei, To Yuen Wai, Fuk Hang Tsuen, Tsoi Yuen Tsuen, Nai Wai, Sun Fung Wai and Chung Uk Tsuen.


6. We estimate the capital cost of the project to be $44.5 million in MOD prices (see paragraph 7 below), made up as follows -

$ million

(a) Site formation


(b) Piling


(c) Building


(d) Building services


(e) Drainage and external works


(f) Furniture and equipment


(g) Contingencies





(at December
1996 prices)

(h) Inflation allowance





(in MOD prices)


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


$ million
(Dec 1996)


$ million

1997 - 98




1998 - 99




1999 - 2000




2000 - 2001










8. We have derived the MOD estimate on the basis of the Government’s forecast of trend labour and construction prices for the period 1997 to 2001. We will tender the works under a fixed price lump-sum contract because we can define the scope of works in advance, leaving little room for uncertainty.

9. We estimate the additional annually recurrent expenditure for the project to be $15.59 million for the operation and maintenance of the new sub-divisional fire station.


10. We consulted the Social Services Committee of the Tuen Mun District Board in April 1996. The Committee supported the project.


11. The D Arch S completed and the Director of Environmental Protection vetted an Environmental Review of the proposed facilities in March 1995 and concluded that the project would create no long term environmental impacts. No Environmental Impact Assessment is therefore necessary. We will take all the necessary actions to ensure that disturbance to the nearby residents will be kept to the minimum during the construction stage as well as after opening. During construction, we will control noise, dust and site run-off nuisances to comply with the established guideline/standards through the implementation of mitigation measures in the relevant contracts. When the fire station comes into operation, D of FS will implement administrative measures to minimise noise nuisance during the operation of the fire station. While fire appliance sirens and the public address system are essential for enabling us to achieve a speedy response to incidents, we shall enforce strict controls on the use of these systems. We will turn down the volume of sirens and the public address system and switch off the loud speakers in the drill yard during night time. Drivers of fire appliances will use the sirens only on busy roads and when necessary to warn other road users to give way.


12. The project does not require land acquisition.


13. We have sought possible joint users for the site, but we have been unable to find any user whose requirements can be incorporated into this project. The joint user search conducted by the Government Property Agency in 1995 has revealed that there was no demand for joint use on this edge of town site. The Director of Planning (D of Plan) has also advised that there are no other "Government/Institution/Community" ("G/IC") sites suitable for the development of a fire station within planning area 52, apart from the site to the immediate north of the proposed fire-station site. This adjacent site is currently shown as "Possible Site for Indoor Recreation Centre" on the Tuen Mun New Town area 52 - Layout Plan No. L/TM 52/1. However, the D of Plan, at the request of the Director of Education, is actively considering a change in the reserved land use in order to allow the construction of a primary school there to meet the urgent need for primary school places in the school zone. We have not pursued a combined fire station / primary school / indoor recreation centre development because all these facilities require substantial ground floor space which cannot be accommodated within a combined site.

14. We have considered selling the site to a private developer and building the fire station on an entrustment basis. However, this will require a Town Planning Ordinance section 16 application to seek permission from the Town Planning Board as the subject site falls within an area zoned "G/IC"on the draft Tuen Mun Outline Zoning Plan No. S/TM/8.3 Furthermore, in addition to obtaining planning permission, other impacts on the public infrastructure such as transport, drainage, water supply, etc. as well as environmental impacts would need to be evaluated and resolved before we can pursue the proposal. Finally, it will also be necessary to obtain land quota, compile lease conditions and prepare to sell the site by public auction. Given that the project would be seriously delayed even if the land sale is on schedule and successful, we have rejected this option.

3 The site is designated for "Government" use and reserved as " Sie for Sub-divisional Fire Station" on the adopted Tuen Mun New Town Area 52 Layout Plan No. L/TM52/1. The planning intention for the proposed reservation of the site apart from a fire station is to make use of it as a buffer to the noise impact from Castle Peak Road.

15. To ensure adequate fire cover for residents in northern Tuen Mun, we have to proceed with the construction of the proposed station immediately. Any delay in the project is undesirable and compromises public safety. The proposal already represents the best use of the site under the circumstances. The size of the proposed site (about 2 321 square metres) represents the smallest area acceptable to meet the standard requirements for a sub-divisional fire station.

16. We upgraded 122BF to Category B in January 1996. We are finalising the working drawings and tender documents using in-house staff resources. We plan to start the construction works in December 1997 for completion in November 1999.

Security Branch
April 1997

Last Updated on 16 August 1999