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CEPA

The Mainland and Hong Kong Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement (CEPA) is an economic agreement between the government of Hong Kong and the Central People's Government of the People's Republic of China. Signed on June 29, 2003, it is a free trade agreement that allows qualifying products, companies and residents of Hong Kong preferential access to the mainland Chinese market.

 

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CEPA

Hong Kong architects of mainland China projects don't have total control

HK designers of projects on the mainland don't have total control, or the right to set up practices

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 04 July, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 July, 2013, 4:14am

It has been a steep learning curve for Hong Kong architects like Felix Li Kwok-hing, who has spent half his time working on the mainland since Hong Kong qualifications were recognised across the border.

There is little doubt that the industry has benefited from Cepa. About half of the business for local architect firms involves mainland projects, says the city's Institute of Architects.

But it is the diminished role of the architect that they need to adapt to, said Li, one of the 412 Hongkongers who have attained a "class one" registered architect qualification on the mainland under the Closer Economic Partnership Arrangement.

"While architects in Hong Kong take full charge of a project from inception to completion, including the supervisory role, the profession has no such say on the mainland," said Li, co-chairman of the Institute of Architects' board of mainland affairs.

Once the architect hands over the design, the contractor and the supervisor take over and they can make minor alterations to the design and the materials selected, often to save costs and time.

"Very often, you find your streamline design doesn't look as perfect as it can be, because contractors don't take time to work out a way to shape it smoothly. You also find the wood colour you chose is a tone up or down in the finish. The difference is minute but the whole feeling is gone."

Property owners and developers are learning about the problem and have started to invite architects to co-supervise work. For example, Li's firm, TFP Farrells, was brought in to monitor construction of the KK100 Tower in Shenzhen, which it designed, to make sure the curve of the curtain wall was precise.

Architects still want one more thing from Cepa: the right to set up their own practices on the mainland.

Although individual qualifications are recognised, Hong Kong architects have to work with a "local design institute"- a private firm - and let it submit their design to the authorities.

"When we passed the Cepa exam and got our individual qualifications recognised, we thought that was the end," Li said. "But then in 2008, we were told we still had to pass another 'legislation exam' in order to set up our own business - and [could do so] only in Guangdong."

Some 224 architects have taken the additional exam, but not one has yet been approved to start a business.

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sam.liu.188478
Actually, this article does not tell the real truth, the method the architects who get HKIA qualification get First Class Architect Qualification is not fair to mainland's architects. It's hard for mainland architects to pass the examination of obtaining the qualification; in fact, HKIA level is a lower level compared with the First Class Architect Qualification which is actually the same level of Authorized Person, taking the role as the First Class Architect in China, recognized by HK Government. By the way, there are over 10,000 HKIAs in HK of 7 millions population, while there are only 20,000 First Class Architects In Mainland of 1.3 billion population. Therefore, it's not fair for HKIA to act the role as First Architect in Mainland.
 
 
 
 
 

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