Speech at Panel on Security

Legislative proposal for improving fire safety of old industrial buildings and related issues

Problems encountered by mini-storage owners in complying with fire safety standards

Mr CHAN Chun-ying expressed support for the Administration’s legislative proposal. He sought information on the possible problems encountered by owners and occupiers of pre-1987 industrial buildings in implementing fire safety measures and examples of alternative proposals referred to in paragraph 6 of the Administration’s paper.

Deputy Director of Fire Services (“DDFS”) responded that owners of old commercial buildings had been allowed to install sprinkler systems connected to the existing fire service water tanks of fire hydrant / hose reel systems in the buildings, thus be spared from the requirement of a new fire service water tank for the sprinkler systems. Some buildings without a pre-existing fire service water tank had been allowed to install a fire service water tank of a smaller capacity.

Mr CHAN Chun-ying said that some operators of mini-storages had expressed concern about difficulties in complying with the requirement of providing means of escape with a width of no less than 2.4 metres along the aisles between storage cubicles, as it would substantially reduce the usable floor area of mini-storages. He considered that the Administration should assist operators of mini-storages to apply for loans under relevant schemes for upgrading their facilities to comply with relevant requirements.

DDFS responded that FSD had been in communication with mini-storage operators and business associations of the relevant sector on many occasions. FSD had accepted the alternative proposal put forward by the operators of deploying partitions with adequate fire resistance rating to address the inadequate fire load separation of mini-storages.


Proposal for upgrading the rank of the Departmental Secretary post in the Fire Services Department

Issues relating to the rank of Departmental Secretary post

Mr CHAN Chun-ying said that he had no objection to the Administration’s proposal. He expressed concern about why the DS post was not ranked at SPEO when it was established.

DS for S2 responded that the DS post had earlier been pitched at PEO rank having regard to the volume and complexity of duties back then. To cope with the subsequent growth in responsibilities of the DS post in terms of scope and complexity, there was a need to upgrade the post to SPEO rank.

Mr CHAN Chun-ying asked whether the upgraded post would be filled by the incumbent of the existing DS post. DS for S2 and DDFS responded that the Civil Service Bureau would arrange to fill the upgraded DS post with a suitable officer according to established posting policy.

Referring to paragraph 12 of the Administration’s paper, Mr CHAN Chun-ying expressed concern about why the additional full annual average staff cost of the proposal was less than the additional notional annual salary cost at mid-point. The Chairman requested the Administration to include its response in its paper for the Establishment Subcommittee (“ESC”).