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URA Board approves refinements to its three rehabilitation schemes

The Board of the Urban Renewal Authority today (Tuesday) approved a number of refinements to its three rehabilitation schemes, which are Smart Tender Building Rehabilitation Facilitating Service Scheme (Smart Tender), Integrated Building Maintenance Assistance Scheme (IBMAS) and Mandatory Building Inspection Subsidy Scheme (MBISS), with a view to encouraging more property owners to carry out building rehabilitation work.

IBMAS and MBISS are URA's rehabilitation schemes providing assistance to owners for building rehabilitation works and mandatory building inspection.  The current average annual rateable value (RV) limits, at or below which IBMAS and MBISS are applicable, have been adopted as one of the joining criteria for IBMAS and MBISS.  Under the refinements and with effect from today, the RV limits of domestic units in private residential/composite buildings eligible for IBMAS and MBISS are revised from $120,000 to $162,000 in urban areas and from $92,000 to $124,000 in the New Territories.

Smart Tender was introduced in May 2016 to provide professional and technical assistance to owners of multi-owned private residential/composite buildings with more than three storeys during the procurement process of contractors for carrying out common area rehabilitation works of the buildings, with the aim of minimising the exposure of tender rigging.  The Smart Tender services include provision of a do-it-yourself tool kit, arranging an independent professional to provide third-party's views on the tender and the estimated cost of works and the provision of an electronic tendering platform for the tendering process.  Each participating owners' organisation (OO) joining Smart Tender has to pay a fee to cover part or all of the cost incurred by URA for the services provided. The fee is determined according to the RV limits of the building of the OO.

A concession scheme for Smart Tender is now introduced in response to the Government's initiative announced in the 2017-18 Budget by the Financial Secretary to earmark $300 million to allow property owners of private residential/composite buildings to join Smart Tender at concessionary fees, which are 5% to 50% of the prevailing fees of the Smart Tender.  The concession scheme is scheduled to take effect in the third quarter of this year and its details will be announced later by URA.

Under the refinements and with effect from today, owners' organisations which have joined IBMAS and MBISS will also be allowed to join Smart Tender and later, the concession scheme.  The URA Board today has also approved with immediate effect to allow any OOs which joined Smart Tender before the effective date of the concession scheme to enjoy the concessionary fees when the concession scheme comes into effect.