Prior approval has to be obtained from the Building Authority before carrying out any building works (such as construction, repair, demolition, alteration and drainage works); otherwise the works shall be deemed unauthorized. Any person who carries out building works without prior approval shall be guilty of an offence and shall be liable on conviction to a fine in accordance with internal rules. Owners may engage building professionals to check whether existing building works are lawful. Building professionals may also be entrusted with access on behalf of, for example the Board of Management or property management company, to the approved building plans and occupation permits kept by the Buildings Department. Unauthorized building works include:
- Altering the fire escape or carrying out unauthorized building works on rooftop and podium;
- Opening an exit or vent, etc. at the staircase behind the smoke lobby door;
- Erecting additional metal cages, canopies, flower racks, etc. without prior approval;
- Installing swing-out gates which obstruct the fire escape;
- Illegally connecting drain pipes/drains, such as foul water drain pipes/drains to storm-water drain pipes/drains, etc.