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Change of Use of a Building

How to check if the use of an existing building can be changed?


When a change in use is proposed for an existing building, we must check whether there is any contravention of the Buildings Ordinance (BO), the Outline Zoning Plan (OZP) and the Lease.


We can look at...


1. Land Use:

Problem: Is the proposed use under Column 1 or Column 2 of OZP?

Solution: Submit an application for permission under Section 16 of the Town Planning Ordinance.


Problem: Is the proposed use allowed by the Lease?

Solution: Apply for a Lease Modification from Lands Department.


2. Development Potential:

Problem: Is the proposed use changed from non-domestic to domestic? Under the First Schedule, Site Coverage and Plot Ratio are always more restrictive for non-domestic when the Site Classification and Building Height stay the same.

Solution: Alteration and Addition (A&A) works can be carried out to the building to change the building physically to change the GFA and Site Coverage of the building. Submit A&A works plans for Approval and Consent.


3. Health

Problem: lighting and ventilation, provision of sanitary fittings, drainage... are they enough for the proposed new use? (Eg. Openable Window Area need to be at least 1/16 of the habitable floor area, Window Area need to be at least 1/10 of the habitable floor area, and Sanitary FIttings provision need to follow a certain ratio according to the Usable Floor Area (UFA). Refuse Chambers provision need to be calculated using Usable Floor Space (UFS)

Solution: A&A works to increase provisions of these things. Submit A&A works plans for Approval and Consent.


4. Safety

Problem: Is MOE enough? Is the staircase enough? Habitable Spaces, Usable Floor Area, Occupancy Factors are used to calculate the discharge value. This might cause changes to the size of Staircases, Corridors, Protected Lobbies etc.

Solution: A&A works to increase provisions of these things. Submit A&A works plans for Approval and Consent.


Problem: Fire rating of structures, are they enough?

Solution: Improve them by providing fire resisting products/treatment



If existing building is fit for the proposed new use, Form BA15 needs to be submitted to notify Building Authority of the intended material changes in use of the building.


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