Tougher rules on canopies apply to new buildings
TOUGHER planning regulations have virtually outlawed the construction of canopies on new buildings.
Those that are constructed use aluminium rather than heavy reinforced concrete.
''There is a perception they keep people dry, but for the most part there are more restrictions on these canopies,'' said Nigel Mattravers, a senior structural engineer with Mouchel Asia.
Mr Mattravers said the changes had been introduced by the Building Ordinance Office ''for planning reasons associated with plot ratios and site coverage'', rather than for concerns about safety.
The development of modern, lighter construction techniques meant aluminium canopies had replaced concrete structures.
''If you look at the buildings which have been built in the last two or three years the canopy is now a metal structure with a skylight. If the building is clad with curtain walling it would be difficult to have a concrete structure because it will not blend in,'' said the managing director of KA Construction, Carl Chu Ka-shing.
But Mr Chu said that neither concrete nor metal canopies were designed to take much weight.
''The canopy is not designed to support any loading but people use the canopy to support air-conditioning and other equipment. Obviously the canopy is designed to support itself and movement from the wind but that is all,'' he said.
Proper maintenance is also needed to prevent corrosion caused by blocked drains.
Building Ordinance Office rules insist internal alteration work should be strictly supervised, but Mr Mattravers said these regulations were flouted.