No one wil be prosecuted for the City University of Hong Kong (CityU) roof collpase on May 20 last year.
The Department of Justice made the decision after the Buildings Department (BD) completed its final investigation into the incident, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.
The BD said it is seeking opinions whether it should take disciplinary action against those concerned under the Buildings Ordinance.
The investigation attributed the cause of the collapse to the thickness of the roof having exceeded the original design and the additional load on the roof created by the greenery cover and rainwater.
Investigators found that the thickness of the top screed and the bottom screed of the roof structure was nearly seven times the approved design.
The increase in thickness inevitably increased the load on the roof and flattened its gradient, which undermined the effectiveness of the discharge of water.
The report also revealed that the loading imposed on the roof further increased when the greenery cover was soaked by rainwater, which was about 65 percent more than the approved dead load.
According to the approved plans, the roof was to be flat without a greenery cover. The records of the BD did not indicate any alterations and additions to the roof.
The report said the Building Authority (BA) considered that the laying of the greenery cover did not constitute building works under the Buildings Ordinance.
As the greenery cover did not involve building works, the BA’s prior approval of plans and consent was not required.
Building surveyor Vincent Ho said the report by the BD set the tone for future works involving greenery cover.
Such projects would only require the hiring of related professionals who will be held responsible in the event of any untoward incidents.
These projects need not be included in the construction design submitted to the BA.
CityU said it will study the report in detail before deciding what follow-up actions to take.
Lawmaker Edward Yiu, who represents the architectural, surveying, planning and landscape functional constituency, said the incident showed that there are gray areas in existing legislation where the only available punishments — condemnation, fine and loss of license — do not have a significant deterrent effect.
[Chinese version 中文版]
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