Hong Kong’s self-storage sector backs proposals for safer industrial buildings

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 16 May, 2017, 5:22pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 16 May, 2017, 9:34pm

Since the blaze last June at an industrial building in Ngau Tau Kok, which claimed the lives of two firemen, the safety of self-storage facilities has come under the spotlight, and rightly so.

Given the city’s very limited space, self-storage plays an increasingly important role in Hong Kong people’s lives. Self-storage facilities provide storage for all sorts of items for residents, such as clothes, household items and collectibles.

To safeguard the valuable items of our consumers, the industry has worked hard to ensure current regulations are upheld. Ensuring safer industrial buildings not only benefits the self-storage industry and its users, it is also beneficial to the community as a whole, with many small to medium-sized businesses in these buildings.

Self Storage Association Asia (SSAA), the leading representative body of the industry, shares the same concerns as the public; we are especially concerned about the safety of these facilities. We understand licensing and higher standard regulations are a consideration, and welcome working with the government to formulate proactive strategies.

In early April, the Security Bureau, Buildings Department and Fire Services Department submitted a proposal to the Legislative Council for improving the fire safety of old industrial buildings. We welcome the proposals and believe it is important for the government and relevant stakeholders to work collaboratively on this.

SSAA is working closely with members and external stakeholders to make buildings and member facilities safer places. SSAA has implemented a number of guidelines for our operators, including a code of conduct, best practices for fire and building safety, and safety and operational policy, as well as on informing our members on a regular basis about global best practices through regular meetings, media and live events.

We are happy the government is willing to continue discussing and coming to a balanced understanding of all the issues in order to reach a consensus on storage layout requirements. Safety is the number one priority, and the industry is open and willing to work closely with the regulators to find a way to best adapt to these new and higher standard rules, within an achievable time frame.

While we are working hard with the government to achieve a safe and sustainable store space, we call on the self-storage community to work with us to also make our community a safer place.

Luigi La Tona, executive director, Self Storage Association Asia