For information
on 29 April 1999

Legislative Council Planning, Lands and Works Panel
Progress of Year 2000 Compliance Exercise in Government Departments and Non-Government Organisations funded or regulated by Government
(Works Bureau)


1. This paper serves to:-

  • give the present position how Works Bureau and its Works Departments1 address and resolve the Y2K problems for systems relating to control, execution and maintenance of works;

  • outline how ready we are to meet the millennium rollover; and

  • cover the strategy in the time leading to the turn of the century for better readiness to the millennium challenges.

Work on Y2K Resolution So Far

2. Works Bureau is responsible for formulation of the works policies for the 7 Works Departments. It also oversees the delivery of the various Works Projects under the Public Works Programme. There is no NGO under its purview.

3. The Bureau has long recognised the need to resolve the Y2K problem in time. In mid-1994, Works Bureau and its Works Departments started to address the impact of Y2K problem on their departmental systems.

4. In resolving the Y2K problem, we closely follow the guidelines and directives put forward by the Steering Committee on Year 2000 Compliance chaired by the Secretary for Information Technology and Broadcasting. The progress of Y2K compliance work in Works Bureau and Departments under its purview was monitored through quarterly progress reports in 1998 and monthly reports in 1999.

5. Works Bureau and Planning, Environment and Lands Bureau have jointly set up a dedicated team since September 1998 to oversee the Y2K compliance work in these two bureaux as well as departments and NGO within their respective purview. Its role is to monitor and review the progress of Y2K compliance work both in the Bureau and its group of Departments. The team comprises a Chief Engineer as the team leader and a full time Assistant Secretary (electronics engineer) as the team member supporting the team functions.

6. The Y2K compliance work has always received the fullest support from the Management. The Secretary for Works, in every possible means, has brought to the attention of the Directors of the Works Departments that every effort must be made to resolve the Y2K problems in time.

7. To obtain independent input for its Y2K compliance programme, Works Bureau engaged an external consultant in January 1999 to review the Y2K compliance programme for two critical business areas, namely, sewage treatment and water supply. These two areas are considered as the most critical services that Works Departments would provide to the public. The consultancy study was completed in mid-April 1999.

8. The findings of the review showed that the Y2K compliance work for the two critical services has been progressing satisfactorily and met the international best practice, thus providing a high level of confidence. For system testing, the consultant observed that the standards adopted in these departments are even better than those adopted in other developed countries. The Consultant also provides very important and useful input as to the information processing, inventory preparation, problem escalation, risk assessment and contingency planning.

Present Position & Progress

9. As at 15 March 1999, 311 mission-critical systems (including computer, embedded and line communication systems) have been identified in Works Bureau and Works Departments. 287 (92.3%) of them have been confirmed as Y2K compliant or rectified. Another 2 (0.6%) mission-critical systems can be rectified by resetting the clock on or after 1 January 2000. 1 (0.3%) mission-critical system with compliance status being confirmed by the contractor which is a newly commissioned system installed at Fo Tan Flood Pumping Station.

10. The rectification work for the remaining 21 (6.8%) mission-critical systems is targeted for completion by the end of June 1999.

11. To-date, the Y2K compliance programme in Works Bureau and its departments has been progressing according to plan. The remaining rectification works will be completed as scheduled.

Sewage Treatment

12. In the consultancy study mentioned in paragraphs 7 and 8, the consultant evaluated the department's awareness of the Y2K problem, examined the methodology for the Y2K compliance programme and reviewed the Y2K documentation. Sample on-site check on inventory collection and compliance testing were also conducted. The review indicated that the department has strong and robust Y2K compliance programmes, and that the system testing gave very encouraging results. As for new installations to be commissioned within this year, further testing will be conducted to verify the Y2K compliance for the interface between the existing systems and the new installations.

Water Supply

13. The Consultant carried out a similar review on the business areas to secure quality water supply in Water Supplies Department. The review gave very encouraging results. The Y2K compliance work for this business area is on track to meet the target completion date stipulated by the Steering Committee. The Water Authority in the Guangdong Province has confirmed that the water supply from Mainland China should not be affected by the millennium rollover. In the unlikely event that water supply would be disrupted, the water stored in the local reservoirs should be sufficient to meet the local demand for about 3 months.

Slope Safety

14. The systems supporting the business on slope safety in Civil Engineering Department are either Y2K compliant, or will be rectified by June 1999.

Project Management

15. The management of works projects, and contractors and consultants is not expected to be affected by the rollover to 1 January 2000. The various mission-critical systems supporting this business area are either Y2K compliant, or will be rectified by June 1999.

The Way Forward

16. In the time leading to the turn of the century, we shall concentrate our efforts to ensure that the continuity of the critical business under the purview of Works Bureau will not be affected by the Y2K problem. In addition, we will closely monitor the Y2K readiness of other service providers and business partners whom we rely on to ensure service continuity.

17. We will, with the assistance of our consultants, put in place proper contingency plans to guard against any disruption in the critical services provided by Works Bureau and its departments to the public. In this process, we shall consider the scope, resources requirements, sustainability of the plans, and the associated triggers and activation mechanism. The contingency plans for our departments are expected to be completed by July 1999 and Works Bureau aims to complete a review of these plans by August 1999.

18. In October 1999, we will carry out a review on the overall Y2K readiness of critical business under the Bureau's purview with assessment on the remaining risk that may impact on our transition to the Year 2000. The review will provide an additional level of confidence to meet the millennium challenges.

19. In November 1999, we will review the set up and arrangement of emergency support for the imminent transition to the year 2000. This review will assess the status of the Departments for their readiness to deal with the actual rollover to 1 January 2000 and the associative logistical arrangements.

Works Bureau
April 1999

1. Works Departments include Architectural Services Department (ArchSD), Civil Engineering Department (CED), Drainage Services Department (DSD), Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD), Highways Department (HyD), Territory Development Department (TDD) and Water Supplies Department