No clear structural risk after fire

April 10, 2024

The Buildings Department (BD) has reported that some structures at New Lucky House in Jordan were damaged by the fire on April 10, but that there is no obvious danger to the overall structure of the building.

In a statement, the department said its officers had entered the common areas and some private units of the building, with the assistance of the Fire Services Department (FSD) officers, at around 2pm on April 10 for inspection.

The BD also stated that it will fully co-operate with the FSD in its investigation.

The BD said that if the fire is found to be related to a breach of the Buildings Ordinance, it will take enforcement action – including instigating criminal prosecutions – against the persons involved, based on the results of the investigation.

The BD also mentioned that the Jordan building is 60 years old and that a statutory notice under the Mandatory Building Inspection Scheme was issued to the owners’ corporation (OC) in respect of its common areas in 2018. 

The OC appointed a registered inspector (RI) in October 2019 and notified the BD again in April last year that it had appointed another RI, who then submitted a prescribed inspection report to the BD in May last year.

The report recommended that prescribed repair works be undertaken, including the replacement of fire doors, provision of protected lobbies for the escape staircase, and improvement works required under the Fire Safety (Buildings) Ordinance.

The RI concerned is now preparing tender documents for the repair works and will discuss tendering for a contractor with the OC.

The BD will continue to follow matters up with the OC and urge that repair works be commence as soon as possible, the statement said, adding that enforcement action may be taken if necessary.

The statement also highlighted that the BD issued a Fire Safety Direction to the OC in 2008, requiring the upgrading of certain fire safety provisions at the building to a level in line with current fire safety standards.

The OC appointed a consultant to follow up on the direction in 2015, and again in 2020, but the direction has still not been complied with, despite the BD’s issuance of an advisory letter urging compliance.

Noting from the prescribed inspection report submitted by the RI that the repair proposal will also cover improvement works required by the direction, the BD stressed that it will continue to follow the matter up with the OC and its consultant.

In addition, the BD said it has received a total of seven reports concerning subdivided flats in the building over the past three years, and that five of these did not have actionable unauthorised building works (UBWs) under the prevailing policy.

Actionable UBWs were found in the other two cases, but did not involve 1/F and 2/F premises, it added.

The BD issued removal orders to the relevant owners on March 19 this year, requiring them to reinstate the fire-resisting door and the fire compartment wall at the main entrance to the premises.

If the orders are not complied with before the deadline, the BD will take appropriate follow-up actions, including considering initiating prosecution against the owners concerned.

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