frequently asked questions
Related
K.
Sections
3.2.2 (h)
4.1.5
Appendix 14
Nuisances
47.
Why is asbestos hazardous to health? How can I detect and remove them?
A.
Asbestos is a natural mineral. When disintegrated or damaged by force, it
releases very fine fibers which can float in the air for a long period of time.
If inhaled, they may stay in the lungs of human body for causing chronic
diseases and failure of lung functions. Asbestos was once widely used in
building products such as floor tiles, insulation blankets, roof sheets, cement
boards, parapet wall grating blocks, etc before the mid-1980s. Their uses
have been prohibited by law.
Asbestos is likely to exist in old buildings more than 20 years of age, or in
some unauthorized building works in the form of corrugated asbestos sheets.
The Environmental Protection Ordinance requires that removal of asbestos
should be carried out by registered asbestos contractors. To ascertain the
presence of asbestos, you need to appoint registered asbestos contractors
specialists who would collect samples of materials to be tested in laboratories.
3.2.2 (h)
5.2.4
5.2.6
48.
The restaurant at G/F exhausts a lot of smelly fume every night, and its aircooling tower is noisy. To whom should I address the complaint to and how
can improvements be made?
A.
While the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department handles complaints
on restaurants, the Environmental Protection Department deals with noise and
air quality complaints.
If investigations by the two departments reveal that the noise and air quality
generated by the restaurant are below standards, the restaurant will be required
to rectify the situation. Otherwise, its restaurant licence may be affected and
the operator may be subject to prosecution.
A proper exhaust duct or chimney may be constructed to improve the air quality.
The air-cooling tower may be sound shielded or relocated to some other
suitable place, or replaced with better quality ones to reduce nuisance to the
public.
5.2.4
49.
The air conditioner next door is generating excessive noise. To whom should
I complain?
A.
The Environmental Protection Department (EPD) controls noise and air quality
pollution issues.
The complainant may contact EPD hotline making a request for an investigation.
If the noise from the air-conditioners is from domestic buildings, you may contact
the Police.
F R E Q U E N T LY A S K E D Q U E S T I O N S
196
Related 50.
Sections
Since Easter, there have been a lot of mosquitoes in my house. I suspect that
they are coming from the adjoining construction site. To whom should I
address the complaint to?
5.2.6
A.
The Food and Environmental Hygiene Department (FEHD) deals with complaints
on breeding of mosquitoes.
51.
There is a construction site at the back of my building. I have been woken
up everyday by the noises of the construction works. What can I do?
A.
The Environmental Protection Department deals with the noise pollution complaints
generated from non-domestic uses. You may contact their hotline for an
investigation.
5.2.4
The permissible working hours for noise generating construction work is from
7:00 am to 7:00 pm every weekday. No such works are permitted on
Sundays and public holidays. Works generating loud noises such as piling
require a noise permit which would govern the operating time on each
permissible day.
Noise sensitive areas such as schools, elderly care centres and hospitals are
subject to more stringent control.
3.2.2 ( j )
4.1.8
52.
Debris fell from the adjoining construction or renovation site into our carports
and damaged our cars. How should we pursue the matter?
A.
Firstly, you should stay away from the carports in case the problem persists.
Falling objects may be a criminal offence. Call the Police who will gather
the evidence in the first instance, then, make a prompt claim report to your
car insurers. The insurers may take appropriate claiming procedures in
accordance with the terms and conditions of your car insurance policy against
the contractor of the adjoining site.
At the same time, you may also make claims to the contractor of the adjoining
site directly. You should also lodge a complaint to the Buildings Department
(BD) which would send officers for an inspection to check against the safety
provisions of the site.
5.2.1
53.
My neighbour has renovated his flat and changed the direction of the fall
of its roof so that during the rainy days, water gets into my premises. What
should I do?
A.
All roofs should have a proper drainage system. Surface water should not
discharge into adjoining lots. You may lodge a complaint to the Buildings
Department and request for an investigation. If the roof and the water discharge
system are unauthorized building works, the Building Authority may take
appropriate action against the adjoining owner.
197
F R E Q U E N T LY A S K E D Q U E S T I O N S
Related 54.
Sections
4.6.3
4.6.5
3.2.2 (c)
4.3.4
I understand that more and more building management stop tenants from
raising dogs in buildings. Since the Deed of Mutual Covenant has not made
provisions for this, what should we do to implement this restriction?
A.
The Owners' Corporation may call a special meeting inviting all the owners
to attend and discuss the subject matter. If a quorum is successfully formed
in the meeting and a resolution is passed to restrict the raising of dogs, then
the building management can be authorized to set up relevant house rules
and prohibit the raising of dogs on behalf of all the owners.
L.
Alterations and Additions
55.
Can I build a private staircase for access from my flat to the roof?
A.
You should verify that you have the ownership over the subject roof. The
proposed work is classified as an alterations or additions (A&A) to an existing
building. As the owner of the flat and the roof, you have to engage an
Authorized Person (AP) and a Registered Structural Engineer (RSE) to submit
A&A proposals to the Building Authority for approval. The proposal should
comply with the Buildings Ordinance and its allied regulations including other
relevant legislations. After receiving the approval and consent to commence
the works, you should engage a Registered General Building Contractor
(RGBC) to carry out the works. Upon completion of the works, the AP, RSE
and RGBC have to notify the BA through the submission of a certificate of
completion.
56.
Is it illegal to enclose balconies with windows or to replace the parapet
walls with galss panels?
3.2.2 (i) A.
Some balconies are designed to have two sides open to form the lobby to
the escape staircase. Some balconies are the green features that are designated
as "non-enclosable areas" in the Deed of Mutual Covenant. Enclosing such
balconies is not allowed and would be considered as unauthorized building
works.
Balconies are mostly cantilevered structures. They are sensitive to additional
loads particularly at their outer perimeters. Enclosing balconies would inevitably
increase loads by adding parapet/enclosure walls and screeds on the floor
and therefore not permissible in most cases. Using glass to protect against the
danger of falling also requires special design by an Authorised Person (AP)
or Registered Structural Engineer (RSE) and the installation of suitable
components carried out by a Registered General Building Contractor
under the supervision of such AP or RSE.
3.2.2 (c)
57.
Can I erect a canopy or a cover to my flat roof to protect us against the falling
objects?
A.
It could be permissible but the proposed additions are limited in sizes and
plans for the proposed building works should be prepared by an authorized
person and submitted to the Building Authority for approval.
F R E Q U E N T LY A S K E D Q U E S T I O N S
198
Related 58.
Sections
3.2.2 (c)
3.2.2 ( f)
3.2.2 (f )
3.2.2 (i )
3.2.2 (c)
Can I erect a green house or put a movable house or mobile units such as
containers on my garden or flat roof?
A.
A green house with or without enclosure walls, movable houses, mobile units,
or movable containers are all considered within the definition of "Building
Works". Erection or simply placing any of these structures on gardens or flat
roofs involves addition of gross floor areas, site coverage and additional loads
to existing structures and therefore requires prior approval and consent of the
Building Authority. Otherwise, they are Unauthorized Building Works.
59.
Can I erect a metal flower rack on the external wall? Is there any size limit?
A.
Projecting structures, such as metal cages and flower racks, constructed on
the external walls of a building without the approval and consent from the
Building Authority, have caused many serious or fatal accidents in the past.
Prior to erecting a flower rack on the external walls, you should enlist the
service of an Authorized Person to submit plans on your behalf to the Building
Authority for his approval.
60.
Rainwater has been seeping through the top of my windows. The contractor
has erected a small window eave made of corrugated steel to stop the seepage
on the external wall. Is the overhang acceptable to the BD?
A.
Such corrugated steel sheets are subject to wind load and may fail at typhoons
causing life and limb danger. They are regarded as Unauthorized Building
Works. You should adopt other alternatives to stop the water leakage.
61.
Can I put the condensers of my air conditioners on or hang them below the
canopies?
A.
Canopies are not designed to take such imposed loads. Putting condensers
on or hanging them from the canopies are actually adding loads on to these
structures, and is therefore not acceptable. Canopies are cantilevered and
relatively high-risk structures. They could collapse without any sign of warning.
Building owners must ensure that any canopies existing in their buildings are
in good condition, free of any unauthorized building works, and do not have
any additional loads.
62.
I own two adjoining units. Can I pull down the dividing wall to combine
them?
A.
You should seek advice from the building professionals who would check
whether the wall is required for fire compartmentation and whether it is structural
or not. In general, prior approval and consent from the Building Authority for
the demolition of structural walls or fire resisting enclosing walls is required.
199
F R E Q U E N T LY A S K E D Q U E S T I O N S
Related 63.
Sections
3.2.2 (d) A.
64.
3.2.2 (f) A.
65.
3.2.2 (f) A.
66.
3.2.2 (c) A.
Can I construct a fish pond or even a swimming pool in my garden?
You should verify that you have the ownership over the subject land. In general,
the construction of a fish pond or a swimming pool involve the excavation
and erection of a new structure for retaining water. These works are regarded
as building works under the Buildings Ordinance. Approval and consent from
the Building Authority for such works are required.
Is it possible for me to construct planters and create level differences in my
flat roof or roof to improve its appearance?
You should verify that you have the ownership over such roofs. Generally, there
is no restriction on construction of planters on the flat roof or rooftops provided
that the proposed planters will not overload the structure and the planters so
installed will not reduce the effective height of the parapet walls, which are
required to be at a minimum height of 1,100 mm. You should engage the
service of a building professional to check the loading capacity of the flat
roofs and rooftops before proceeding with the works.
Can I remove the kitchen enclosure wall and door for an open design?
Most kitchens in domestic units are placed adjacent to exit routes. Such kitchens
must have a proper enclosure wall having at least 1-hour fire resistance period
and a half-hour fire resistance door with self-closing device. Kitchens for
restaurants and other commercial undertakings are also required to have
appropriate fire-rated enclosure walls or fire shutters and doors irrespective
of their location. You should seek professional advice if you wish to have an
open kitchen.
Can I incorporate some level difference in my unit by using simple concrete
fill?
If you want to create difference in levels in your unit by means of concrete
platforms, you should ensure that the weight of the platforms will not overload
the floor structure. For residential units, the design superimpose load on the
floor is usually 3 kPa (60 pound/sq. ft.). Usually, this could allow a lightweight
concrete fill of not more than 100mm thick. You should also be cautious that
the platform will not reduce the effective height of protections for any openable
windows such as guard rails or solid walls below the windows which should
be at least 1,100 mm measured from the floor. In case of doubt, please seek
advice from a building professional.
F R E Q U E N T LY A S K E D Q U E S T I O N S
200
Related 67.
Sections
2.1.2
3.2.2(c)
A.
I want to let my flat out as three separate units. Can I divide the flat with
walls and put in toilets and kitchens?
You are strongly advised not to do so as it is unlikely that a flat can be subdivided without contravening the building regulations. Furthermore, the Deed
of Mutual Covenant usually has provisions forbidding the subdivision of flats.
Usual contraventions encountered in subdivided flats include: overloading of
structure by addition of partition walls and floor screeds for concealing drains;
inadequate natural lighting and ventilations; and reduction in the standards
of means of escape provisions and fire separations. Furthermore, the concealed
drain pipes usually lead to leakage causing nuisance. Do not proceed with
the idea until you have sound support from an authorized person and legal
advisor.
4.3.4
4.3.3 (c)
4.3.4
68.
I have engaged a contractor to carry out renovation work in the premises.
The contractor has knocked down a very substantial concrete wall which I
believe could be a structural wall, what should I do to verify and if necessary
to rectify?
A.
You should ask your contractor to stop work immediately and to seek the advice
of a registered structural engineer as soon as possible. The Buildings Department
keeps a list of the Registered Structural Engineers (RSE) which is available at
its office and website, www.info.gov.hk/bd. If it is confirmed that a structural
wall or a part of it has been removed, the appointed engineer might request
for the immediate installation of shoring to stabilize the structure and provide
the necessary details and method statement for the acceptance of the Building
Authority for remedy.
69.
I am a committee member of an OC. The OC wishes to upgrade the typical
lobbies and G/F entrance of the building and to provide air-conditioning to
these areas. Are the proposed works permissible under the Buildings Ordinance?
A.
Upgrading of lobbies and ground floor entrance is usually considered as
exempted works under the Buildings Ordinance if no structural alteration is
involved. However, protected lobbies, fireman’s lift lobbies and staircases are
essential features of fire escape and access for the fireman. When upgrading
works are involved in such areas, you are strongly advised to consult a building
professional for advice in relation to your particular situation and to supervise
the works.
Generally, care should be taken to ensure that the materials of the new finishes
to be installed will not increase the fire risks, impede the fire resisting capacities
or reduce the minimum widths required for such features. Furthermore, if
external wall finishes are involved, new finishes should not be extending beyond
site boundaries or encroaching on adjoining streets.
Installation of air-conditioning equipment may be permissible in such essential
features subject to the following conditions:
201
F R E Q U E N T LY A S K E D Q U E S T I O N S
Related Question 69 (continues)
Sections
(a)
The equipment does not contain high wattage/voltage components such as
compressors. The internal units of split type air conditioners or the fan coil
units of air conditioning systems that do not contain such high fire risk components
are permissible.
(b)
Suitable fire resistant materials preventing the spread of fire are installed to
protect the chiller pipes, air ducts and cables at positions where they pass
through the enclosure walls of such essential features.
Extreme care should also be exercised in the course of such works with a view
to eliminating fire risks.
2.1.4
4.3.4
70.
To facilitate delivery of goods, I intend to knock down part of the external
wall of my industrial unit, hang out an I-beam as a hoist for accessing the
trucks from the street, is it legal? What should I consider?
A.
If you want to form a new street entrance into your unit for the delivery of
goods, care should be given to ensure that the door opening is formed in a
non-structural wall. The door(s) for the said opening should either be recessed
back or opens inwards so that it would not obstruct pedestrian traffic using
the pavement. Any hoisting installations must not project over the street and
you should also seek advice from a structural engineer on how the hoist can
be installed in order not to overload the structure to which the hoist is to be
fixed. The subject alteration works should be submitted to the Building Authority
for approval.
If such openings are to be formed above G/F, they should be protected for
preventing the danger of falling. You should also check the Deed of Mutual
Covenant to ensure that you have the ownership to that portion of the external
wall where the opening is to be formed. Transport Department's requirements
on loading and unloading for the specific areas of the street should also be
taken into consideration.
The above is not applicable to the formation of new vehicular access.
3.2.2 (c)
71.
I am the owner of a building. An operator of "home for the elderly" intends
to rent the podium floors for the purpose. I have checked the approved plans
and noted that the podium floors are for non-domestic uses. Is it legal for
me to enter into a tenancy agreement with him for such operation?
A.
The premises used for the home for the elderly is regarded as domestic use.
In this connection, prior approval from the relevant Government Departments,
such as the Buildings Department, Planning Department and Lands Department
for the proposed change in use should be obtained. Apart from the required
approval in the change in use of the premises to be obtained by the operator,
he must also obtain a licence from the Social Welfare Department prior to
operating the "home for the elderly". You may request your solicitor to specify
that it is the duty of the tenant to comply with relevant statutory requirements
and to include any relevant terms and conditions in the tenancy agreement
to protect your interest. You should also seek legal advice from your solicitor
in respect of any possible conflict/implication between the DMC and the use
of premises as "home for the elderly".
F R E Q U E N T LY A S K E D Q U E S T I O N S
202
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF

advertising