THE newly-created position of Director of Buildings has been left vacant for more than three months as the Government struggles to find a candidate who can satisfy all sides. With professionals within the Buildings Department bickering among themselves over the choice, the Secretary for Planning, Environment and Lands, Tony Eason, has been doing both jobs since August. Structural engineers have warned that the efficiency of the department has been greatly hampered without a director but they have opposed the appointment of the front-runner for the post, Principal Government Building Surveyor Tony Samson. The engineers say one of the reasons they object to Mr Samson being given the job is that the former head of the Buildings Ordinance Office under the old Buildings and Lands Department has discriminated against local staff. Mr Eason said the Government was still looking at possible candidates and an announcement would be made at a ''suitable time''. He denied that the delay had caused any problems. ''I am the Director of Buildings at present and officers can come up to me if there are any problems.'' The chairman of the Buildings Department's Structural Engineers' Association, Hui Kwok-hung, said localisation would be hampered if Mr Samson were appointed. ''He's not qualified for the post,'' he said. ''The future Director of Buildings should be one who can command respect from the staff. I don't think Mr Samson can do that.'' Mr Hui claimed Mr Samson failed to explain to the staff a decision to terminate the contracts of five local officers but renew those of eight overseas staff last year. Local Building Surveyors' Association chairman Lam Siu-tong said its 130 members working in the department supported Mr Samson. Architects would also support the appointment of Mr Samson, according to the president of the Hong Kong Institute of Architects, Dennis Lau Wing-kwong. Mr Lau said the department had improved a lot under Mr Samson's leadership and he urged a quick decision from the Government. ''From a consumer point of view, we need a new director as soon as possible. The Director of Buildings is a full-time job. I don't think the Government can continue with this arrangement,'' he said. The Buildings Department, which is responsible for safety and maintenance in private buildings, comprises mainly surveyors and structural engineers. If the D3-ranked Mr Samson were left out, the job could go to one of the five officers at D2 rank. But it is understood that the Government is also considering appointing an outsider to take up the post for a transitional period if Mr Samson is not selected. A promotion board was set up in mid-September, comprising Acting Secretary for the Civil Service Stuart Harbinson, Secretary for Works James Blake, Mr Eason and his deputy Canice Mak Chun-fong. Deputy Secretary for the Civil Service Alice Lai Siu Po-chun admitted the choice was difficult. ''We have to find the candidate who best meets all the requirements for the post,'' she said. ''The Director of Buildings is a senior official who is going to head the new department. We must look at it very carefully,'' she said. The Government decided on August 1 to split the Buildings and Lands Department. The Lands Department's new director, Robert Pope, was appointed last month. The Director of Buildings is a D5 post with a monthly salary of $111,200. Mr Samson is at D3 rank and is earning $97,800 a month.