Government pledges to boost tenement safety
The government hopes to pass a long-awaited mandatory building and window inspection scheme this year to increase the safety of buildings in Hong Kong.
The move follows a blaze in a 54-year-old tenement building in Ma Tau Wai, Kowloon City, that claimed the lives of four people.
In a Legislative Council meeting yesterday, Secretary for Development Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor said building owners must be made to understand they are responsible for safety issues.
Under the proposed scheme, owners of older buildings must carry out inspections and necessary repair work at intervals.
Between January 1, 2008, and April 31 this year, 73 demolition orders were given to tenement buildings. About half of them were found to have violated fire safety standards. The Ma Tau Wai building, where the deadly fire broke out last week, was not among those that received an order, Lam noted.
She also said the Buildings Department has stepped up monitoring to see if subdivided cubicles in cage homes were up to fire safety and building structure standards. She said the department inspects 1,300 cubicles every year.