Message from BSD Chairman (February 2010)

Official Spokesmen I am pleased to inform you that we have appointed Mr. Raymond Y.M. Chan, Mr. David W.W. Chan and Mr.Vincent Ho as BSD's official spokesmen for 2009-10. You may be aware that Raymond is our past President, David is our past Chairman and Vincent is our Vice-Chairman at the moment. From now on, you will find them in the media speaking for our building surveyors from time to time. Collapse of 45J Ma Tau Wai Road on 29 January 2010 Shortly after the tragedy, Raymond, David and I arrived at the site. Raymond's opinions on the reason for the collapse were reported by media in Hong Kong and Shenzhen while David spoke in programmes of Commercial Radio 1 and TVB in that evening. When our spokespersons were busy handling media enquires of the incident, we were shocked by Hon. Raymond Ho's misleading opinion on Ming Pao and his speech delivered in RTHK programme "City Forum" on 31 January 2010. He challenged the professional knowledge possessed by Building Surveyor Grade Staff in Buildings Department who would lead some of the 40 special inspection teams in assessing structural safety of about 4,000 private buildings aged 50 or above. We have reacted promptly by issuing a press release on 1 February 2010 pointing out the fact that structural safety should be just one of the considerations for building safety and building surveyors should be undoubtedly the most appropriate professional to carry out a comprehensive assessment for a building. Our press release has been spotted by the press and the Development Bureau.Hon. Professor Patrick Lau has issued a letter to Hon.Raymond Ho as well. However, in Hon. Raymond Ho's response letter dated 2 February 2010 he only reiterated the expertise of structural engineer in assessing structural safety. Instead of acknowledging building surveyors' expertise in similar aspects, he only felt unfortunate towards the report from Ming Pao and defended that his opinion was misquoted. During a LEGCO debate on 3 February 2010 on the building collapse incident, the Secretary for Development spoke out that she could not agree with the challenge to Building Surveyors in Buildings Department for not having sufficient professional knowledge to lead the dedicated inspection teams. We have replied Hon. Raymond Ho's letter on 5 February 2010 and directly pointed out that he did not possess sufficient knowledge on the expertise of other related professionals. He was also informed that building surveyors are professionally trained for building diagnosis by exercising professional skills and knowledge in building pathology in a holistic manner. On 8 February 2010, Hon. Professor Lau organised a forum on Safety of Old Building for members of professional institutes within the same functional constituency. Hon. Raymond Ho was also invited and attended. In the forum, he mentioned that he had acknowledged professional skills of surveyors for more than 20 years and he did not intend to challenge our professional knowledge. He was annoyed by the misunderstanding of our members as he did not mention the term 'surveyor' in the RTHK programme "City Forum". He expressed he would not decline if our Institute help him to clarify his intention. Another press release to clarify the case was issued on 27 February.