Building Department launches campaign against unauthorised structural changes

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20th May 2024 – (Hong Kong) In a fresh move to clamp down on unauthorised building works (UBWs), the Building Department (BD) today unveiled a series of public service announcements across television and radio platforms. The campaign aims to remind the public that altering or removing structural walls without prior approval is not only illegal but also fraught with severe consequences.

The initiative underscores the risks associated with such structural modifications, which can compromise building safety and lead to significant penalties. In instances where unauthorised works are detected, the BD has committed to enforcing stringent measures, including issuing orders to rectify the violations and pursuing legal action against those responsible.

A BD spokesman emphasised the onus on property owners to ensure their buildings are free from UBWs. “Owners must refrain from making any unauthorised changes and should seek professional advice for any planned alterations,” he stated. The process involves consulting qualified building professionals to assess the feasibility of the proposed modifications and, crucially, obtaining the necessary approvals and consents from the BD in accordance with the Buildings Ordinance (BO).

The campaign also targets building professionals and contractors, reminding them to meticulously review all relevant documents and approved plans to ensure compliance with the BO before commencing any work. This step is vital for safeguarding the structural integrity of buildings and the safety of their occupants.

The BD’s drive includes enhanced accessibility to building records through its Building Records Access and Viewing On-line (BRAVO) system. This resource allows the public to inspect and order copies of approved plans and structural calculations, promoting transparency and compliance.

In addition to the media blitz, the BD is set to host a series of briefings aimed at educating the public about the distinctions between structural and non-structural walls. These sessions are scheduled for 12th June, 17th July and 14th August, with further details available on the BD’s website.