Information Paper for the Legislative Council Panel on Housing

Criminal Liability of Contractors
in respect of Substandard Building Quality

This paper aims to provide additional information to Members on the issue of criminal liability in respect of substandard building work by contractors engaged by private developers and those engaged by the Housing Authority -

  1. If the substandard building quality is the result of corrupt or fraudulent practices of contractors, contractors incur criminal liability whether they are engaged by private developers or by the Housing Authority. Such contractors are liable to be prosecuted.

  2. Contractors of substandard private sector buildings may be liable to prosecution for offences under the Buildings Ordinance, for example, under section 40(2A) if, defective materials are used, or there are material divergence or deviations from approved plans. A copy of section 40(2A) of the Buildings Ordinance is at Annex. As the Housing Authority's developments are exempt from the provisions of the Buildings Ordinance, contractors of substandard public housing buildings will not be liable for offences under the Buildings Ordinance. However, the Housing Authority will take necessary action both under contract and under the list management of contractors to ensure that contractors deliver the required building quality.

Housing Department
October 1999