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Government proposes fines for those failing to repair their buildings

The government has finished drafting a new bill regulating the city’s building construction, which proposes that those who fail to carry out the necessary maintenance or repairs of their buildings, in spite of an official order to do so, will face a fine, as opposed to the current situation in which no fine can be imposed.

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UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:44 am

Secretary for Administration and Justice André Cheong Weng Chon, who is also the spokesman for the government’s top advisory Executive Council, announced on Thursday that the government has finished drafting a new bill regulating the city’s building construction, which proposes that those who fail to carry out the necessary maintenance or repairs of their buildings, in spite of an official order to do so, will face a fine, as opposed to the current situation in which no fine can be imposed.

The bill also proposes that building contractors will be required to ensure a quality guarantee period of 10 years for the foundations and main structure of a building project, while the quality guarantee period for other parts of the building project and related facilities will be five years.

The government proposes that the bill will replace the city’s current building construction regulation, officially known as Urban Construction General Regulation, which came into force back in 1985 when Macao was still under Portuguese administration.

According to the current building construction regulation, building contractors are responsible for guaranteeing the quality of a building project for five years.

Addressing a press conference at Government Headquarters, Cheong said that the government has finished drafting the bill, officially known as Urban Construction Legal System, after listening to opinions from civil society and consulting the city’s construction sector.

The bill will be submitted to the Legislative Assembly (AL) in due course for debate, review and vote.

Civic leaders, lawmakers and those in the construction sector had criticised the government for failing for years to propose a new building construction bill to replace the current Urban Construction General Regulation (Decree-law 79/85/M), which they said has been outdated for many years.

The current Urban Construction General Regulation merely states that owners should carry out maintenance and repairs of their buildings every five years so as to ensure that the buildings remain in good condition. According to the current regulation, the Lands, Public Works and Transport Bureau (DSSOPT) can order the owners to carry out maintenance and repairs after inspecting the buildings. If the owners fail to comply with the order, the bureau can then carry out the work itself and subsequently bill the owners. However, the current regulation does not provide for fining building owners failing to comply with the bureau’s instructions.

According to Cheong, the bill proposes that building owners will be required to carry out the first maintenance and repairs 10 years after the construction project was completed, and carry out maintenance and repairs every five years afterwards.

The bill proposes that after DSSOPT officials have discovered that a building is in poor condition due to lack of maintenance, they will inform the owners to submit a report about the building’s situation drafted by professionals from the construction sector, after which the owners will have to carry out the work suggested in the report. The owners who fail to comply with the DSSOPT order will face a fine, Cheong said.

Cheong said that the bill clearly stipulates building owners’ statutory duty to maintain their buildings in a good condition.

Also addressing Thursday’s press conference, DSSOPT Director Chan Pou Ha said that according to the bill, owners who fail to carry out maintenance or repairs suggested in the report on the building’s situation will be fined between MOP 2,500 and MOP 100,000.

The bill proposes that owners who fail to comply with an order by her bureau to repair their building due to safety or hygiene issues will be fined between MOP 5,000 and MOP 500,000, Chan said.

Portugal’s quality guarantee period

Chan also said that the Macao government’s proposal of a quality guarantee period of 10 years for the foundations and main structure of a building project in the bill was decided after referencing rules in countries and regions such as the mainland, Hong Kong and Portugal.

Cheong said that the quality guarantee period in Portugal is eight years, pointing out that the proposed 10-year-period for Macao exceeds the one in Portugal.

(The Macau Post Daily/Macao News)
Photo by Macau Photo Agency

UPDATED: 22 Dec 2023, 5:44 am

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