Building officials will gradually relinquish monitoring responsibilities for minor construction matters in an attempt to improve self-regulation. However, operators who fail to oversee work effectively will face stiff legal penalties in a move that is part of a continuing review to overhaul the 40-year-old Buildings Ordinance. At present, the Buildings Department must oversee almost every aspect of a building to ensure it complies with the law. Bulky building plans are delivered every month to the department for endorsement for any work on a building. Over the past two weeks, Director of Buildings Leung Chin-man, who pioneered the review, has been meeting professional groups to finalise it. One source said the review sought to simplify procedures. For example, for minor additions and alterations to existing buildings, the architect can sign an endorsement. For new development submissions, only a conceptual plan will be required for discussion between the department and professionals. However, for essential aspects - such as structural changes, fire safety or site coverage - the department will maintain close surveillance, one source said.