MORE BUILDING INSPECTORS 'NOT THE ANSWER'
Drafting in teams of official building inspectors would not necessarily improve the quality of government apartment blocks, the housing chief said.
At present, blocks of flats under Housing Authority control are exempt from government building inspections.
In the wake of a recent string of piling scandals, authority chiefs said they were preparing to call in inspectors from the Buildings Department.
However, Secretary for Housing Dominic Wong Shing-wah yesterday cast doubt on the effectiveness of the proposal.
'It may only mean shifting responsibility from one body to another,' he said.
'The workload of the Buildings Department is already very heavy. How many extra staff would they have to employ to handle the extra work?' Mr Wong said.
'Can the rate of building government housing be maintained with such a change? It may mean a longer waiting time for people.' The average waiting time for a public housing flat now is about six years.
The Government hopes to reduce this to two by 2005.