Property Q & A

1.
What are the reasons for water seepage?

Reasons for water seepage are as follows:

  • Leakage of drainage pipes from the upper floor, next door or the unit itself;
  • Leakage of water supply pipes from the upper floor, next door or the unit itself;
  • Rain water or sewage water passing through the external wall of the unit, or some other reasons.
2.
What should we do if leakage is caused by either the water supply pipe or drainage pipe?

According to the Waterworks Ordinance, registered owner of the premises is responsible to maintain his own water pipe. If there is any evidence showing that the water supply pipe leaks, the inspector from Water Authority would issue statutory order to the owner to take immediate remedial actions. If the leakage is caused by the drainage pipe, the complaint would be handled by the Food and Environmental Hygiene Department subject to the Public Health and Municipal Ordinance.

3.
What should we do if the causes of water seepage are not obvious?

In most of the cases, it is difficult to identify the causes of water seepage, particularly when the water flow is very slow. If the inspector from Water Authority cannot prove the causes coming from the upper floor or next door , he has no ground to request the owner to repair the pipes. In order to solve the problem of water seepage caused by the unidentified sources (e.g. concealed water pipe), the affected owner can contact the tenant of the upper floor or next door via the management company for inspection or appoint a registered plumber to perform a detailed checking in order to identify the causes.

4.
What should I do as a chairman of the Incorporated Owners and living in a 20-year-old building with concrete spalling everywhere??

According to the Building Management Ordinance, the Incorporated Owners is responsible for repair, maintenance, renovation, and all improvement works in the common area. If a statutory order is issued by the Buildings Department, you should comply with such order within a specific time. The Incorporated Owners should also explain the actual condition of the building to the owners and take up the role of repair and financial management on their behalf.

5.
Is it necessary to convene an owners meeting in case of proceeding with major maintenance/renovation work?

It is stipulated in section 14 of the Building Management Ordinance(Chapter 344) that at a meeting of a corporation any resolution my be passed with respect to the control, management and administration of the common parts or the renovation, improvement or decoration of those parts and any such resolution shall be binding on the management committee and all the owners. It is therefore advisable to convene a meeting of the corporation to pass the proposed major maintenance/renovation work. For details of convening the meeting, please refer to the Third Schedule of the said Ordinance.

6.
Who should supervise the work of major renovation if the building has not engaged a management company ?

You may consider appointing a professional building surveyor or Authorized Person who will take up the design of works, material selection, tendering procedures, etc. and assist in the selection of contractor, prepare contract document, supervise the project, certify work completion and payment, and co-ordinate the whole project in order to comply with the statutory requirements under the Buildings Ordinance.

7.
In some multi-storey buildings, owners or tenants always conduct unauthorized building works and occupy the common area which may impose hazard and inconvenience to other occupants. What should we do?

Upon discovery of unauthorized building works or unauthorized occupation of common areas, building management staff should verbally advise the occupants concerned to cease such authorized works or occupation. If necessary, warning letters should be issued by the Management Committee. If there is no improvement, you may report the case to the Buildings Department at 2626 1642.

8.
At present, unauthorized building structures and advertising signage are always found on the roof-top of the buildings causing nuisance and hazard to the residents. What measures the concerned government departments would take?

Top priority of the Buildings Department’s Clearance Policy is to tackle the endangered unauthorized building structures, newly established or establishing fixtures and referrals from other government departments. In case of dangerous advertising signage, the Buildings Department will issue statutory order to the concerned owners. If the owners fail to comply with the order, the Department may employ contractors to remove the signs and recover the cost from the concerned owners. In case that the owner cannot be found, the cost will then be charged to the building management funds.

9.
There are many buildings located near the slopes and retaining walls. During the rainy seasons, residents will get worried about their safety. How can the building owners and management companies ensure that the slopes and retaining walls fulfill the required standards? How often should the concerned parties carry out inspection to the slopes and retaining walls?

Regular on-site inspections should be conducted at least once a year. In addition, the management companies should arrange technical staff to inspect the drainage pipes and to clear all blockages after heavy rainfall. Hong Yip has taken a higher maintenance standard than the statutory requirements. Apart from monthly regular inspection, our technical staff would conduct inspection to slopes and retaining walls after every rainfall which reaches 50mm or red/black storm warning. Furthermore, all routine maintenance works would be completed before the approach of the rainy season starting from April every year.

10.
What should we do and pay attention to when there are problems found with the slopes and retaining wall?
  • Clearing off the debris accumulated in the surface channels and slopes;
  • Repairing the cracked or defective surface channels and road surface;
  • Repairing or resurfacing the cracked or defective slope;
  • Clearing off the blocked weep-holes and outlets;
  • Discarding plants on the slope surface which may cause cracking;
  • Planting new vegetation on the bare slope surface;
  • Clearing off small stones on the slope surface;
  • Repairing the cracks on the retaining wall.

Apart from the above, you should always keep checking the underground drainage pipes near the slopes or retaining wall. For more information on the slope safety, please visit the government webpage : http://hkss.ced.gov.hk