Council on Food and Environmental Hygiene
Building Works Found at Licensed Food Premises
This paper sets out a proposal to tackle the problem of
unauthorized building works (UBWs) found at licensed food premises.
UBWs are often found at licensed food premises.
Common examples include water cooling towers, exhaust fans,
ventilating ducts, commercial signage erected outside the premises,
illegal cockloft, etc. These
UBWs often cause environmental hygiene problems to the surrounding
areas, such as dripping of water and emission of hot air and fume.
They are also a potential threat to public safety.
Under existing practice, the Food and Environmental Hygiene
Department (FEHD) will consult the Buildings Department (BD) on,
among other things, the building safety aspect of a food business
licence application. If it can be seen from the layout and ventilation plans submitted
by a licence applicant or during initial site inspection that
there are UBWs attached to or extending from a premises under
application, BD will either -
object to the issue of a licence unless the UBWs are removed; or
raise no objection to the issuance of licence, but point out that the
UBWs may be subject to future enforcement action.
For cases under (a), FEHD will not issue any licence.
For cases under (b), provided that the applicants comply
with other licensing requirements and there is no objection to
the application from other departments, FEHD will issue a licence
despite the existence of UBWs.
However, FEHD will convey BD��s comments about the UBWs
to the applicant. The
present practice is not helpful in checking the proliferation
To tackle the problem at source, we propose that new applications
for food business licences be subject to the following regulatory
As a general principle, FEHD will not issue any licence if UBWs, in particular
those that may affect environmental hygiene or building safety,
are found at a premises under application.
To facilitate assessment of the existence of UBWs, applicants will be
required to submit layout and ventilation plans setting out clearly
both the interior of the premises and all the structures attached
to or extending from the premises.
If UBWs are detected on the proposed layout and ventilation plans submitted
or during any site inspections, the applicant will need either
to remove the UBWs or obtain BD��s approval of the building works,
as one of the requirements for the issue of licence.
A licence will only be issued if an applicant can obtain certification
from a recognized professional (such as an authorized person or
a structural engineer registered under the Buildings Ordinance
(Cap. 123)) that the premises under application are free from
A licence so issued may be cancelled if UBWs are subsequently detected.
For reasons stated in paragraph 3 above, some of the existing
licensed premises may have UBWs attached to or extended from them.
While we will not require the licensees of these premises
to immediately remove their UBWs, any future transfer of licence
in respect of these premises will not be allowed unless the UBWs
In view of the large number of applications for new licence
and licence transfer that FEHD receives each year (the corresponding
figures for 2002 being 2 502 and 2 379 respectively), we will
initially target at premises that are commonly found to have UBWs,
including restaurants, factory canteens, cold stores, food factories
and bakeries. Subject
to the availability of resources, we will gradually extend the
new arrangement to other types of licensed premises, i.e. fresh
provision shops, siu mei and lo mei shops, frozen confection factories
and milk factories.
Subject to Members�� comments on the proposed measures set
out in paragraphs 4 and 5 above, we will consult food business
licensees on the proposal and report the outcome of our consultation
to the Legislative Council Panel on Food Safety and Environmental
Hygiene in December 2003 or January 2004.
We intend to implement the new arrangement in the first
quarter of 2004.
Food and Environmental Hygiene Department