Determinants of the safety performance of private multi-storey residential buildings in Hong Kong

Yung YAU*, Daniel Chi Wing HO, Kwong Wing CHAU

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)


Given the high population and development density in Hong Kong, building failures can result in catastrophic consequences. It is thus worthwhile identifying those dilapidated buildings, and this explains why the Hong Kong government has considered launching a mandatory building inspection scheme in the city. Apart from the measurement of building safeness, however, it is equally important to explore the major determinants of the safety performance of buildings. Such information can help the government and other related organizations to rationalize their subsidies offered for building improvement and to make more informed strategies of urban regeneration in Hong Kong. To this end, the safety performance of 429 private multi-storey residential buildings was measured in this study using the Building Safety and Conditions Index developed by The University of Hong Kong. It was then followed by an explanatory analysis which found that older buildings were less safe than large, modern buildings. More importantly, the co-existence of a property management agent and a statutory owners' association delivered the best building safety performance, and in this respect was the optimum building management regime for private multi-storey buildings in Hong Kong. These findings pose significant policy implications for building safety and urban regeneration in Hong Kong.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)501-521
Number of pages21
JournalSocial Indicators Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements We would like to thank the anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments. Besides, we gratefully acknowledge the financial support provided by the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKU 7107/04E and HKU 7131/05E), the Small Project Funding of The University of Hong Kong, and the HKU Research Group on Sustainable Cities Seed Grant. Furthermore, we would also like to acknowledge the Buildings Department and Home Affairs Department of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region for their kindly provision of information and support for the study.


  • Building safety policy
  • Hong Kong
  • Residential buildings
  • Safety performance
  • Urban regeneration


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