Unauthorized building work

1. How does BD verify significant new UBW?

The following measures are adopted to monitor and verify new UBW :

  1. Aerial photos are used to identify new UBW on rooftops.

  2. Record photos of buildings are kept for verifying the status of new UBW.

  3. Results of enquiries and circumstantial evidence.


If I wish to erect storage cabinets on the roof of my property, do I need approval and consent from the BD? 

Prior approval and consent from the BD are required for erecting prefabricated structures including mobile houses and man-size storage cabinets on the main roof, podium roof or open yard of a building. It is because large storage cabinets occupying space will likely contravene the floor area limitation and other building regulations.

However, storage cabinets at such locations are generally not subject to immediate enforcement action when:-

  • the cabinet does not exceed a height of 1.5 metres nor the parapet wall, 

  • the cabinet does not affect the structure of the building,

  • the fire escape route is not obstructed, and 

  • the drainage system is not affected

3. Will payment of property tax or rates make an illegal structure legal?


4. Under what circumstances would enforcement action under the Buildings Ordinance (BO) be warranted for the building works related to green balcony and utility platform as specified in item (h) of the 2011 enforcement policy against UBW?

If physical alteration to the approved green balcony and utility platform is found, immediate enforcement action under the Buildings Ordinance would be warranted when the alteration works is being/has been carried out in the following situations:

(a) without prior approval and consent from Buildings Department (BD); or
(b) contravention of the provisions of the BO and allied regulation is identified if the simplified requirements under Minor Works Control System is being adopted.
5.  In case the partition wall between two adjoining units having green balconies and utility platforms is removed, is there any contravention to the Buildings Ordinance (BO)?

Removal of the partition wall between two adjoining units having green balconies and utility platforms may involve structural elements which lead to contravention to the BO.  The alteration works involved may also lead to contravention of other provisions of the BO and allied regulations such as the exemption criteria for green balconies and utility platforms in the building concerned.  The owners are strongly advised to consult an authorized person before commencement of the removal works and make formal application for approval and consent from the BD if necessary.

6. Will assistance be offered to the affected owners/occupants who may encounter financial difficulties or be rendered homeless as a result of BD’s enforcement action to clear unauthorized roof structures in industrial buildings?

Property owners with financial difficulties may apply for loans under the Building Safety Loan Scheme administered by BD to cover the cost of the required works for compliance with the removal orders.

Unauthorized roof structures in industrial buildings should not be converted into domestic use which is incompatible with the use of the buildings. Under the current policy, the Housing Department would not make rehousing arrangement to the affected occupants as a result of BD's enforcement action against unauthorized roof structures used for habitation in industrial buildings. Nevertheless, BD will liaise with the Housing Department to arrange bedspaces in the transit centre for those in urgent need of accommodation. Besides, the affected occupants may also approach the Social Welfare Department for assistance.


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