Date
25 May 2017
City University says the collapsed green roof was built by Sinoway Construction Engineering Ltd. The university administration has appointed a task forced to investigate the incident. Photo: HKEJ
City University says the collapsed green roof was built by Sinoway Construction Engineering Ltd. The university administration has appointed a task forced to investigate the incident. Photo: HKEJ

Fears grow over green roofs after City University collapse

Green roofs popular in schools and residential buildings are coming into question after a roof collapse in City University last week.

Secretary for Education Eddie Ng said the government will send notices to all schools to conduct safety checks on their green roofs, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

This follows Friday’s incident when the roof of Chan Tai Ho Multi-Purpose Hall in City University crashed, hurting three people.

Fears are growing about the safety of green roofs on other buildings.

In school buildings, these were created mainly by students, likely without consulting structural engineers, according to the report.

Green roofs are covered in vegetation on a water-proof membrane. The added weight on the roof could weaken its support structure.

Vincent Ho, former chairman of the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors, said old buildings might not be suitable for green roofs, especially if concrete or permanent water-proof layers are added.

Green roofs began to take off after the government enacted an environment and conservation fund to encourage environmental awareness. 

In 2013, it injected HK$5 billion (US$643.77 million) into the fund.

Since then, green roofs have been built in Maryknoll Fathers’ Primary School in Sham Shui Po, Cumberland Presbyterian Church Yao Dao Primary School in Tin Sui Wai, Ho Fung College in Tsuen Wan and Ng Yuk Secondary School in Tai Wai.

The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Polytechnic University and Lingnan University now also have green roofs.

Hong Kong Polytechnic University said it will carry out full inspections on all green roofs while Lingnan University said recent checks have shown no safety issues.

City University president Kuo Way said a task force has been appointed to investigate the incident. A report is expected in two weeks.

Construction engineers will also visit the university Monday to inspect other buildings.

School officials said the Chan Tai Ho green roof was built by Sinoway Construction Engineering Ltd. and was approved by Kenneth Chan, former chairman of the Professional Green Building Council of Hong Kong.

Chan denied giving his approval to the project.

Three hurt in City University roof collapse (May 20, 2016)

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