Developers may be issued occupation permits for developments up to two months faster thanks to a novel pilot scheme by the Works Bureau aimed at speeding up construction. During a six-month trial, beginning this week, developers will be able to choose from a list of approved contractors to carry out public works on their projects. Prior to the trial scheme, developers had to wait for weeks, and sometimes longer, for the Government to process their applications for public works and assign a contractor. Typically, the works involved connecting drains and pipes from a development to the Government mains as well as excavation and some repair work. A bureau spokesman said from September 1, developers with projects on Hong Kong Island could employ approved contractors to carry out all or a combination of the following public works outside their lot boundaries: Connection to the public drainage/sewage system. Construction of run-ins and repair of damaged footpaths. The provision of water supply connection. Drainage connections from private developments to the public drainage/sewage system are at present undertaken by the Drainage Services Department and added to the cost of the developers. Similarly, water supply connections from the Government water mains are carried out by the Water Supplies Department at the developers' cost. The bureau spokesman said the new scheme would lead to savings in construction times as a result of better control of the works and improvement in the co-ordination and programming of property development. The property development industry estimates that the issue of occupation permits could be speeded up by as much as two months as a result of the more flexible approach. Real Estate Developers Association general secretary Wai Siu-yu said that in the past there had been complaints from developers about delays in carrying out public works. 'Under this system, the contractors can get on with the work and the Government can audit it after it has been completed,' he said. At the end of the six-month trial period, in February next year, the scheme will be reviewed before deciding whether implementation territory-wide should proceed.