IV. Mandatory Window Inspection Scheme
In 2012 the Hong Kong Government also introduced the Mandatory Window Inspection Scheme (MWIS) to tackle the specific problem of window disrepair.
It would be fair to say that most windows in a building or estate are the private property of the individual owners of units in that building or estate. Therefore, the Government issues notices to all owners (i.e. the owners of individual flats and the owners’ corporation) of a building or estate under the MWIS.
Under the MWIS:
- Every year the Government selects 5,800 buildings at least 10 years old (except domestic buildings not exceeding three storeys) and sends pre-notification letters to the owners’ corporation of the selected buildings giving advance notice to the owners of upcoming window inspections and the possible need for repair. One to two months after the pre-notification letters, the Government issues statutory notices to the owners of the buildings, requiring them to appoint a Qualified Person to carry out certain prescribed inspections. (Note: these 5,800 buildings include the 2,000 covered under the MBIS.)
- If the Qualified Person finds that windows in the building have been rendered dangerous or are liable to become dangerous, the owners concerned must appoint a Registered Contractor to carry out the prescribed repair works under the Qualified Person’s supervision.
- Upon completion of the inspection and repair works, the Qualified Person must submit an inspection report and completion report to the Government for record purposes.
- If the owners or owners’ corporation fails to comply with the statutory notice for window inspection without a reasonable excuse, they may be served with a penalty notice of a fixed fine of $1,500. Failure to comply with the penalty notice may lead to prosecution, with the owner or owners’ corporation subject to a fine of $25,000 and imprisonment for three months, plus a fine of $2,000 for each day the offence continues.
- The owners of the selected buildings will receive the statutory notices once every five years. That is to say, an inspection (and any necessary repair works) has to be done every five years.