III. Mandatory Building Inspection Scheme
There is no question that ageing buildings which lack proper management and maintenance can pose danger to the public. In order to deal with this problem, the Hong Kong Government introduced the Mandatory Building Inspection Scheme (MBIS) in 2012.
Under the MBIS:
- Every year the Government selects 2,000 buildings which are at least 30 years old (except domestic buildings not exceeding three storeys), and sends pre-notification letters to the owners of all units in the target buildings, notifying them that the buildings have been selected under the MBIS. Six months after the pre-notification letters have been sent, the Government issues statutory notices to the owners, requiring them to appoint a Registered Inspector to carry out certain prescribed inspections. (Note: these same 2,000 buildings will at the same time receive statutory notices requiring the inspection of windows under the Mandatory Window Inspection Scheme.)
- For a building or estate which does not have an owners’ corporation, the owners of all flats in the building or estate are expected to work together to comply with the statutory notice.
- The scope of the inspection includes external elements, physical elements, structural elements, fire safety elements, drainage systems, unauthorized building works, and so forth.
- If the Registered Inspector finds that the building requires repair works, the collective owners of the building must appoint a Registered Contractor to carry out the prescribed repair works under the Registered Inspector’s supervision.
- Upon completion of the inspection and repair works, the Registered Inspector will submit an inspection report and completion report to the Government for record purposes.
- Any owners or owners’ corporation that fails to comply with the statutory notice for building inspection without a reasonable excuse may be prosecuted and are/is liable upon conviction to a fine of $50,000 and imprisonment for one year, plus a fine of $5,000 for each day the offence continues.
- The owners of the selected buildings will receive a statutory notice once every 10 years. That is to say, an inspection (and any necessary repair works) has to be done every 10 years.