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Legal Update

Summary of Gross Floor Area Concessions in Private Developments

26 September 2012
Mayer Brown JSM Legal Update

The Buildings Department (BD) has introduced a package of measures to promote a quality and sustainable built environment. These measures include, amongst other things, Gross Floor Area (GFA) concessions.

In planning approvals, the BD has the discretion to grant concession by exempting certain floor areas from the GFA calculations. The BD may also grant concession in the form of additional plot ratio and permitted site coverage in exchange for dedication of land or area for the purpose of public passage or street widening.

The plot ratio of a building is obtained by dividing the gross GFA of the building by the area of the site on which the building is erected and is dependent on the building height. In essence, the plot ratio increases with the increase of the building height.

The permitted site coverage denotes the maximum percentage of the site area that can be covered by the building and is dependent on the building height. In essence, the permitted site coverage decreases with the increase of the building height.

Upon the compliance of the criterion and requirements (both general and specific) that are imposed for the granting of GFA concessions, green/amenity features and non-mandatory/non-essential plant rooms and services maybe exempted or disregarded from GFA and/or site coverage calculations in new building developments. These areas include: car park; loading or unloading area for motor vehicles; refuse storage chamber; lift machine room; access facility for telecommunications and broadcasting services; etc.

The BD may accept an application for dedication if the proposal will: (a) alleviate congestion problems; (b) provide a readily accessible linkage that will significantly enhance public safety and convenience; (c) improve road safety; or (d) provide suitable greenery compatible with the usage of the proposed public passage. The application will need to demonstrate that there is a genuine public need for the dedication and that the dedication is reasonable to meet that need. BD will generally exempt the dedicated land or area from GFA calculations. However, bonus plot ratio and site coverage will only be allowed if the government considers such dedication essential. Where the dedicated area (within a building) serves both the public and the users of the building, the BD will assess the amount of exempted GFA and/or bonus GFA by taking into account the proportion of traffic generated by the public and the users of the building.

Information on GFA concessions for private developments that were completed after 31 August 2010 is available at

1. Practice Note for Authorised Persons and Registered Structural Engineers, APP-108, Buildings Department
2. Practice Note for Authorised Persons and Registered Structural Engineers, APP-151, Buildings Department
3. Building (Planning) Regulations (Cap 123F)

For inquiries related to this Legal Update, please contact Geoffrey Chan or your usual contacts with our firm.

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