No ruling on charge for discovery bay developer The Lands Department has failed to assess whether the Discovery Bay developer should be charged a land premium for changing the project's master layout plan eight times since 1975. The Audit Commission found that no premium was collected until 1994, when new changes were made. It said the changes to the layout plan had effectively turned the original intention of developing the site as a tourism resort to private housing during the period. Finding no documented reasons for not charging any premium, the commission said the government might have suffered loss of revenue because of a lack of proper land-premium assessments but offered no estimate of the loss. It called on the department to establish clear rules on the conditions under which a land premium should be charged in case of layout changes. The department said it accepted the recommendations. Overruns on road projects cost $147m The government paid an extra $147.7 million for seven road-improvement projects that overran between 2001 and 2003 because of unforeseen site conditions, bad weather and additional works needed. Of eight projects worth more than $100 million, seven were extended by between 20 days and 20 months. An additional $84 million was paid to the contractor of the Tolo Highway project, which was extended for 613 days on top of the original 980 days in the contract. The auditor urged the Highways Department to improve planning, contract preparation, and management. Rubbish collection in harbour to be outsourced The Marine Department plans to fully outsource its rubbish-collection operations to contractors after the Audit Commission attacked the poor cost-effectiveness of its seven-vessel fleet in cleaning up the harbour. The commission found the cost per tonne of marine refuse collected by the fleet was $43,137 - 16 times the cost of using motorised sampans. It also found the vessels were serving overlapping areas and that contractors were not collecting refuse at specified intervals. More speed urged on fire-safety measures The Fire Services Department and the Buildings Department have been urged to speed up enactment of new fire-prevention regulations in old commercial buildings. The Audit Commission found only 23.2 per cent of 43,500 directives issued by the two departments ordering immediate upgrades of fire-safety measures had been complied with by March this year. The regulations became effective in 1998.