As part of the Government’s "Be the Smart Regulator" Programme, which aims to streamline licensing processes and reduce compliance costs for business, we set up a One Stop Centre (OSC) for Warehouse Construction Permits in December 2008.
OSC provides a centralised office for receiving first submissions of plans and related applications as well as coordinating joint inspections for two-storey warehouses. OSC is an alternative arrangement to existing processes. Applicants, if they prefer, can opt for the existing procedures of submitting applications and applying for inspections with individual departments.
Relevant departments have implemented various regulatory reforms and streamlined the associated procedures.
With effect from April 2018, the Buildings Department undertakes to conduct an inspection of the foundation-bearing strata within eight working hours upon receipt of notification as promulgated in Practice Note for Authorized Persons, Registered Structural Engineers and Registered Geotechnical Engineers PNAP ADM-18 .
For small scale building projects such as two-storey warehouses, the Buildings Department has since February 2016 combined the quality inspection of structural elements and the comprehensive inspection at superstructure construction stage into one joint inspection. Since April 2018, Buildings Department has further streamlined the unscheduled audit inspections. The Department will carry out only one unscheduled audit inspection of such low-risk type construction unless irregularities are revealed during the audit inspection that may warrant further unscheduled audit inspections. Details of the reform measures are promulgated at the Department’s Practice Note for Authorized Persons, Registered Structural Engineers and Registered Geotechnical Engineers PNAP ADM-18 and Practice Note for Registered Contractors PNRC 49 .
On 24 August 2009, the Highways Department launched the Excavation Permit Management System (XPMS), which is a new system to replace the former Utility Management System for processing Excavation Permits through the internet. For registered XPMS users, the time required for processing applications for excavation permit has been reduced to 5 days while that for non-XPMS users is 18 days. A gazette notice has been published to announce the revised time limit for the submission of applications under the XPMS.
Fire Services Department
In December 2009, the Fire Services Department reviewed and streamlined the process of handling applications for certificates of fire service installations. The Department has further shortened the processing time from 19 days to 18 days with effect from 1 January 2010 and from 18 days to 17 days with effect from 21 December 2012.
Having reviewed and streamlined the related procedures, the Lands Department has reduced the time for issuing certificates of compliance for two-storey warehouses from 21 days to 20 days with effect from 1 January 2010 and from 20 days to 19 days with effect from 21 December 2012.
Water Supplies Department
In February 2011, the Water Supplies Department reviewed and further streamlined the process of water supply applications to improve its customer service. Now, an applicant can submit both his applications for technical audit for water supply connection works and issue of Water Supplies Certificate in one go at the pre-construction stage.
For small-scale building projects, in March 2018 the Water Supplies Department established the performance pledge that water supply for two-storey warehouses is made available immediately during the joint and final inspection, subject to satisfactory compliance with the Water Authority's requirements. The performance pledge is published at section 6 of the Department’s "Guide to Application for Water Supply".
Scope of Services
OSC handles related applications for building a two-storey warehouse under two stages:
OSC will receive from applicants their applications for approval of plans, consent for commencement of works, excavation permit, technical audit for water supply connection works, and issue of water supply certificate. The relevant departments would follow up with the subsequent processing work. OSC will monitor the progress of each application.
After the completion of the construction work, the applicant can submit all relevant applications/notifications for issuance of approvals and permits together with their applications to the electricity and telecommunication companies in one go to OSC. OSC will refer the applications to relevant parties for processing. A joint inspection by all departments can be organised by OSC at the request of the applicant.
To support OSC, Buildings Department has formulated new procedures to allow for concurrent applications for approval of plans and consent to commencement of building works for two-storey warehouses fulfilling specified criteria. For details, please refer to the Practice Note for Authorized Persons, Registered Structural Engineers and Registered Geotechnical Engineers ADM-19 (Previous reference PNAP 272).
Remark: OSC is an additional alternative arrangement to existing processes. Applicants, if they prefer, can follow the existing procedures of submitting applications and applying for inspections with individual departments. For instance, the centralised processing system as specified in the Practice Note for Authorized Persons, Registered Structural Engineers and Registered Geotechnical Engineers ADM-2 (Previous reference PNAP 30) remains effective.