Standard owners' contract and 'dictionary' of works will help monitor repairs A standard contract for owners' corporations regarding building maintenance will be ready at the end of the year, the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors says. The institute is also preparing a maintenance 'dictionary' for property owners, listing common items to monitor for repairs. Institute president Cheung Tat-tong said the two key pieces of 'infrastructure' would make the city more prepared to enforce mandatory building maintenance. He urged the public to support establishment of a buildings tribunal which would offer a speedy, affordable way to resolve building disputes. The institute suggested the tribunal last summer. It is modelled on the Lands Tribunal and Small Claims Tribunal. Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Michael Suen Ming-yeung has already said a tribunal will be part of the government's second-stage consultation on building management and maintenance. The policy bureau will unveil the document at the end of the year. Hygiene issues raised by the Sars outbreak two years ago raised public concern about the consequences of neglecting building maintenance. However, there is still resistance to mandatory maintenance. When the government unveiled the first consultation paper in December 2003, it encouraged property-management firms to offer a 'one-stop service' for owners. Requiring all building owners to conduct regular checks and maintenance was listed as an alternative but was described as not ideal. The Buildings Department, the Urban Renewal Authority and the Housing Society usually handle building maintenance. The institute believes building maintenance will be much easier for property owners with a standard contract. 'Any owners' corporation can use the standard contract in their maintenance project for free. It is our society's service to the community,' Mr Cheung said. Under the institute's plan, the maintenance dictionary will detail all works items. 'The dictionary gives you an idea what sort of works your maintenance project needs to cover,' Mr Cheung said. 'I would imagine, most of the time, you only need to choose a number of the items we list in the dictionary.' The institute had discussed with the Housing Society and the government its plan to help property owners with building maintenance. The Housing Society will use the maintenance contract in their projects. The government had asked the institute to provide pricing service so the public has an idea how much the works will cost before giving the job to contractors.