Contractors and suppliers of government works projects will be held responsible for wrongdoing of employees, agents or subcontractors, under rules announced yesterday.
They will be subject to action for any negligence, misconduct or corruption committed by themselves or other parties.
The moves would help foster a culture of quality in the construction industry in the long run, a spokesman for the Works Bureau said.
The rules are being introduced following a series of housing construction scandals. Corruption fears have been raised over substandard piling work found in Home Ownership Scheme housing projects in Tin Shui Wai and Sha Tin.
The new rules will make it quicker and easier to take action against under-performing contractors as only two consecutive poor performance reports, not three, will be required.
A system will also be in place to assess the financial performance of contractors to see if they qualify for retention.
If a contractor's average losses over the previous three years exceed 30 per cent of the company's net worth, it will not be recommended for tender awards. It can also be subject to other action unless it obtains additional capital.
An appeal system has been set up for contractors who disagree with performance assessments.
'We are working closely with the ICAC to formulate the ethical commitment and probity requirements of contractors, which will be incorporated into our listing rules,' the department spokesman said.