Building practitioners and contractor heavily fined for involving in ground subsidence incident

Hong Kong (HKSAR) -      Three building practitioners and a contractor who were directly involved in a cave-in incident at Jardine's Bazaar in Causeway Bay were found guilty of offences under the Buildings Ordinance (Cap 123)(BO) on April 10 (Tuesday) at Eastern Magistrates' Court and fined a total of $280,000.
      The incident occurred on November 17, 2014 near a construction site at the junction of Jardine's Bazaar and Pennington Street, which was a redevelopment project involving the construction of a commercial building with a basement. A pedestrian, when he was walking along the pavement of Jardine's Bazaar adjacent to the site, fell to the bottom of a sinkhole, which was about 9 square metres in size and 3.7 metres deep, as the ground surface abruptly collapsed, and sustained injuries.
       According to the investigation results of the Buildings Department (BD) and expert opinions, the sinkhole was likely to have been caused by the excavation works being carried out at the construction site.
     The defendants were namely:
1. the Registered Structural Engineer (RSE) who was also engaged as the Registered Geotechnical Engineer (RGE), the Representative and Technically Competent Person and the Directorate Site Supervisor (fined $100,000);

the Technically Competent Person of the Authorized Person, RSE and RGE (fined $30,000);
3. the Registered Specialist Contractor (RSC) (fined $100,000); and
4. the Representative of the RSC's Authorized Signatory, who was also the Technically Competent Person of the RSC (fined $50,000).
     The defendants, being directly involved in the building works at the construction site, authorised or permitted such building works to be carried out, or carried out such building works in such manner as was likely to cause a risk of injury to persons or damage to property, were prosecuted by the BD in November 2015 for contravention of section 40(2B)(b) of the BO.
     Pursuant to section 40(2B)(b) of the BO, any person directly concerned with any prescribed inspection, site formation works, piling works, foundation works or other form of building works who carries out or has carried out such inspection or works, or authorises or permits or has authorised or permitted such inspection or works to be carried out, in such manner as is likely to cause a risk of injury to any person or damage to any property, shall be guilty of an offence and liable on conviction to a fine of $1,000,000 and to imprisonment for three years.

Published on: 2018-04-12

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