URA launches one-stop Building Rehabilitation Platform to offer comprehensive information and support to building owners
The Urban Renewal Authority (URA) has launched the Building Rehabilitation Platform (“the Platform”), an all-in-one information platform, to provide professional and comprehensive information along with technical support on building rehabilitation to building owners. The Platform (https://www.brplatform.org.hk), built under the concerted efforts of the public, private and professional sectors, with the support of the Government, public institutions, professional institutes and bodies, as well as contractor associations, was launched on 25 March to officially replace the former Building Rehab Info Net. Apart from retaining the existing information on different subsidy schemes and application functions available on the former Building Rehab Info Net, the Platform has also introduced a variety of new functions and content, offering more diversified and holistic building rehabilitation information and support services for the owners and different stakeholders.
In light of the lack of knowledge in organising building rehabilitation works among old building owners, a series of animations, with BRbot as the main character, under the name of “Six Steps to Rehabilitation” is available on the Platform to explain the key milestones of the building rehabilitation workflow for simple and easy understanding. Besides, a Building Rehabilitation Guidebook with a broad range of information on preparatory work, appointment of consultants and contractors, as well as monitoring of works is available for download by owners to understand the work, procedures as well as legal requirements involved in each step of the building rehabilitation workflow.
With regard to the lack of professional knowledge in preparing tender and contract documents, the URA has appointed professional building and legal consultants to produce sample documents in the engagement of work consultants, registered inspectors and work contractors, as reference materials for the Owners’ Corporations (OCs) and individual building owners. The sample documents will be released in phases to tie in with the work progress of those participating buildings under the Operation Building Bright 2.0 and Fire Safety Improvement Works Subsidy Scheme. Sample documents now being offered on the Platform include one for the use of individual owners to engage consultants for window inspection and for the use of OCs to engage consultants for the overall building inspection, management and supervision of rehabilitation works.
The Platform does not only consolidate the experience of URA in promoting building rehabilitation over the years, it is also a joint effort of different Government departments, public institutions, industry associations and other professional bodies under the profession-led approach in order to enhance the comprehensiveness and credibility of the information provided on the Platform. The URA will continue to expand the scope of information on the Platform, including the setting up a Cost Reference Centre to provide the cost range of a list of typical rehabilitation works items with an aim to increase the transparency in rehabilitation costs. The Platform is also exploring the feasibility of establishing an assessment system on the quality of service providers as reference for building owners.