There has been a demolition frenzy going on in Hong Kong for a long time, yet nowadays, the demolition fever continues heating up. Ritz Calton, a nicely designed hotel located in one of the Central Business Districts—Central, are closing down within this month, and a new commercial sky-scraper will be built in that location. However, the age of this building is not yet over 20 years old.
This is not an exceptional case. More surprisingly, buildings which has just been built, can be torn down immediately, to make way for another building. And this bad habit is contributing over 4000 tonnes of wastes to our landfills every single day. The landowners, after the Kai Tuk airport was closed and the height limit reduced, decided to tear down the young and relatively short buildings for rebuilding higher sky-scrapers. This does not only affect the ventilation of air, but also created lots of solid wastes and pollutants.
There has been no age limit of building for the demolition of buildings. Industrial buildings are certainly discouraged to do renovation because the renovation standard requires buildings to meet certain building standards and safety requirements, which are meant for the high-rise ones. When the land price is so high that even the rebuilding fee only causes you one-eighth of the land price, landowners will certainly chose rebuilding. Some arguments made by the developers are that the newly built ones can be equipped with more green features and are more sustainable.
The new rule, however, encourages landowners to renovate their buildings. The new rule simplified the requirements and would not require the approval of the Building Authority. Also, I think the minimum age for demolition of buildings should also be stipulated in order to promote renovation.