• HKIA responses to the 2022-23 Budget

    8 March 2022

    The Hong Kong Institute of Architects (HKIA) welcomes the Financial Secretary’s latest Budget Speech delivered last month. In particular, HKIA praises the Government’s commitment to simplify statutory procedures, investment in construction technologies and manpower training, enhancing the access to GBA and recognizing arts and culture as an industry.

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    “The Budget proposal is pragmatic and targeted, focusing on boosting our anti-pandemic efforts, providing much needed assistance to both citizens and businesses in trouble as well as promoting the continued growth and prosperity of Hong Kong,” said HKIA President Donald Choi.

    To enhance the Budget initiatives, HKIA members have contributed some ideas for the Government to consider.

    Priorities should be placed on net-zero, liveability and sustainability for major future developments, such as the Northern Metropolis and Lantau Tomorrow, to catch up with the Country’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goal and carbon reduction targets and to provide a quality living environment for everyone in the community. In fact, the Government could consider specifying 5-10% of the cost in a major development to be spent on environmental and sustainable construction.

    Facing serious manpower shortage problems in the construction industry, the Government should put more money than the budgeted $30 million into applied R&D and related technology adoption, especially when $1.2 billion will be put into the Construction Innovation and Technology Fund. Besides, part of the $1 billion funding to support training in the Construction Industry Council can be used to convert the one-off “Support for Engineering, Architectural, Surveying, Town Planning and Landscape Sectors 2.0” subsidy scheme into one similar to the Engineering Graduate Training Scheme, in order to encourage young professionals to join the industry.

    On harbourfront enhancement, a more permanent and holistic approach to account for rising sea levels and also connect the hinderland to the waterfront should be developed, instead of the current piecemeal approach. As to the housing supply target, the Government should account for the fact that the new live-work mode and our aging population will demand larger flats and different building typology.

    We also welcome the GFA concession increase from 6% to 10% to promote the adoption of Modular Integrated Construction (MiC). As precast and other environmentally-friendly components on major building elements can expedite construction and reduce carbon footprint, a similar concession scheme based on a percentage of such components in the overall project should be introduced.

    In relation to heritage and conservation, we propose the additional $1 billion Budget funding be deployed to set up a scheme similar to the Financial Assistance for Maintenance Scheme on Built Heritage but with a higher ceiling (say $4 million), to cover larger-scale maintenance works, and adaptive reuse and revitalisation of heritage buildings which involve more than one discipline. The $82 million combined funding for the arts & culture industry is simply not enough, especially when its scope should be broadened to include other fields such as architecture which impacts our culture through design exhibitions and competitions, forums and public engagement.

    “In the wake of the fifth wave of the pandemic, we need more effective policies and measures to help us get through these difficult times. Our suggestions intend to help policymakers to move in this direction. And we hope to work with the Government to strive for a quick recovery and better future for Hong Kong,” said Choi.

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