Improvement works in private estates: BCA replies

We thank Mr Ng Yee Seng for his support of the Accessibility Fund ("Tweak rules for improvement works in private estates"; March 14).

Like Mr Ng, we recognise that our society is ageing and mobility will be an issue. This is why the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) has put in place a series of initiatives under its Accessibility Master Plan to support "ageing-in-place" and an inclusive built environment. These include the $40 million Accessibility Fund to encourage the upgrading of existing private buildings with basic barrier-free accessibility features for communal areas.

The Accessibility Fund co-pays up to 80 per cent of the construction cost of these basic accessibility features, including the provision of barrier-free access such as ramps from the public walkway to the building entrance, accessibility at the ground floor level and an accessible toilet.

Mr Ng has rightly pointed out that for strata-titled buildings like a private residential estate, the management corporation will need to pass a special resolution requiring at least 75 per cent of the share value of all the valid votes cast at a general meeting, before carrying out any improvement works in the estate. This is because such improvement works involve the utilisation of management funds and affect the use and layout of common property.

All unit owners should be given the opportunity to make a collective decision on the proposal for the estate.

The BCA has already given in-principle approval to the estate mentioned by Mr Ng to use the Accessibility Fund to provide basic accessibility features at the ground level and lift lobby.

As the provision of accessibility features is meant to create an inclusive built environment for the estate, we strongly encourage the residents to consider supporting the proposal.

Chin Chi Leong
Group Director
Building Plan and Management
Building and Construction Authority

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