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Fire Safety Improvement Works Subsidy Scheme

 

Application for the owners’ organisation is opened 

 

The Chief Executive announced in the “2017 Policy Address” that the Government planned to devote HK$2 billion and partnered with the Urban Renewal Authority (“URA”) to implement the “Fire Safety Improvement Works Subsidy Scheme” (“FSW Scheme”). In view of the positive response by the public for FSW Scheme, the Government announced in the “2019 Policy Address” an injection of additional HK$3.5 billion for implementing a new round of application to subsidise owners of more old composite buildings to undertake fire safety enhancement measures as required by the Ordinance.

 

Eligibility Criteria 
 A building participating in the FSW Scheme must meet the following criteria: 
1.  The building is not under single ownership and is a target composite building (commercial and residential) under the Ordinance; and
    
2. The average annual rateable value of domestic units in the building which sited in urban areas (including Shatin, Kwai Tsing, Tsuen Wan) should not exceed HK$162,000 or should not exceed HK$124,000 if the building sited in the New Territories; and 

 

3. The building owners have received Directions for the common parts of the building and / or its related Fire Safety Compliance Order issued by FSD and BD, but compliance letters confirming the completion of all fire safety improvement works required by the Ordinance had not been issued as of 11 October 2017.

 

Owner's organisations and Applicant's Representatives
- For building with owners’ corporation (OC), the OC shall be the Applicant who submit the application to the URA.

 

- For buildings without an OC or those held by CBS, all owners collectively or the CBS (as the case may be) shall be the Applicant who submit the application to URA. Please read the “Application Notes for building without Owners’ Corporation” in Annex I to the IBRAS Application Form for the application requirements and details

 

The completed Application Form and necessary supporting documents must be returned to URA on or before 30 October 2020.

 

Use of Subsidy
The subsidy is only applicable to works carried out at the common parts of the building required for complying with the Directions and/or its related Fire Safety Compliance Order, which include:

 

 A. Provision or improvement of the following fire service installations and equipment:
 (i) Automatic sprinkler system;
 (ii)  Fire hydrant and hose reel system;
 (iii)  Manual fire alarm system;
 (iv) Emergency lighting;
 (v) Automatic cut-off device for mechanical ventilating system; and
 (vi) Other alternative fire service installations and equipment/measures approved by FSD
  
 B. Improvement of fire safety construction measures:
 (i) Protection of exit routes and staircases with fire resisting construction;
 (ii) Improvement of the exit to a street;
 (iii) Provision or replacement of fire doors;
 (iv) Improvement of staircase width;
 (v) Provision of additional staircases;
 (vi) Enhancement of existing lifts to become fireman’s lifts;
 (vii) Provision of fireman’s lifts;
 (viii) Improvement of the fire resistance of external walls and the protection of openings therein;
 (ix) Provision of fire resisting construction separating different parts of the building;
 (x) Provision of fire resisting enclosures to non-emergency services within the staircases; and
 (xi) Provision of smoke vents to basements.
  
The necessary professional services (e.g. appointment of consultant) and any associated or follow-up works arising from the works mentioned above may also be subsidised. All works must comply with the legal requirements and be carried out by qualified registered contractors.

 

Target Beneficiaries and Level of Subsidy
The Applicant may receive subsidy up to 60% of the cost of the fire safety improvement works and the consultancy fees, or the corresponding cap imposed on the relevant category of buildings (see the table below), whichever is less.
  
 Fire Safety Improvement Works Subsidy Scheme – Maximum Subsidy Amount

Number of Storeys   Maximum Amount (HKD)
1 – 3  230,000
4 – 6 470,000
7 – 12 790,000
13 or more  1,260,000

As regards those buildings with qualified registered contractors already engaged  before 9 July 2018 for the fire safety improvement works, the independent consultant appointed by URA will assess the relevant documents provided by the Applicant (such as tender documents, works contracts and works progress reports) to determine the level of subsidy, which in any case will not exceed 60% of cost of works and consultancy fees, or the corresponding cap applicable to the relevant category of buildings (whichever is less).

 

Background Notes for the Proposed Two Stages Design Approach
There are difficulties encountered by different stakeholders (including owners and fire services contractors) who expressed dissatisfaction in the existing practice of adopting design and build arrangement in the tendering for fire services works for composite buildings (“existing design & build practice”).

 

In order to overcome the short-comings of the “exiting design and build practice”, it would be desirable to have a consultant sorting out the fundamental design issues with the relevant authorities prior to the tendering for the fire services works. Hence, it is considered that the idea of the “build only arrangement” (i.e., proceed tendering for the fire services contractor only if the design of the same is completed and the approval of the proposed fire services works from the relevant authorities is obtained) would be feasible. 

 

Alternatively, URA together with FSD/BD have developed a new approach instead of the “building only arrangement”. The consultant appointed by the building owners will follow the “two stages design approach” to seek the initial views on the preliminary design from FSD & BD prior to preparation of the tender documents for procurement of the fire services contractor.

 

Under the requirements of FSW Scheme, unless with the permission of the Implementation Committee, the services of the consultant appointed by the building owners joining the scheme shall cover the preparation of preliminary design of the proposed fire services improvements works (i.e. “Preliminary Design”) or to complete the design of the proposed improvement works and sort out the design issues with authorities (i.e. ”build only arrangement”) before the tendering of the work contracts.

 

The requirement and expected content of preliminary design is available under FSW Scheme for applicants to use.  Please click the following heading to get the document.

 

Requirements of Preliminary Design under Two Stage Design Approach under Fire Safety Improvement Works Subsidy Scheme    

 

Other Subsidies
If the building has received the statutory notice or pre-notification letter of mandatory building inspection issued by BD and the building meets the eligibility criteria of the second round of “Operation Building Bright 2.0” (“OBB 2.0”), the Applicant may also apply for subsidy under second round of OBB 2.0 to cover those works related to the Mandatory Building Inspection Scheme. However, the relevant work items shall not duplicate with those approved under FSW Scheme or any other past or existing subsidy schemes administered by different institutions or departments. Please refer to second round “AN-OBB2.0(Bldg)” for details.

 

To encourage the formation of OCs by building owners for carrying out fire safety improvement works, any Applicant who is granted the Approval-in-Principle Letter (Approval Letter) in the new round of FSW Scheme with Certificate of Registration of its OC issued within the 12 months prior to the deadline of application mentioned above shall be granted a subsidy of HK$3,000 under the Owners’ Corporation Formation Subsidy.