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History of PWCL & HKPRB

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History of Public Works Central Laboratory

The PWCL Building is the headquarters of the Public Works Laboratories (PWL) of Civil Engineering and Development Department which mainly provides testing services on construction materials of public works projects and instrument calibration services for laboratories.  The PWL is accredited by Hong Kong Accreditation Service under the Hong Kong Laboratory Accreditation Scheme (HOKLAS) for many of its testing and calibration services.  There are about 350 types of tests on construction materials. In recent years, the PWCL has carried out about 400 000 tests annually.  These tests have ensured that the construction materials used in public works projects comply with local or international standards, which are of utmost importance to the quality of public works projects.  Moreover, the PWCL is also responsible for establishing construction materials testing standards, providing testing services on construction materials for forensic investigations, conducting researches on the characteristics and associated tests of construction materials, as well as developing new testing items and technologies.

The laboratories of PTDC Section of the Government Laboratory, which are also located in the PWCL Building, mainly provide testing and related advisory services to the Customs and Excise Department (C&ED) in enforcement of legislation related to taxation and consumer product safety to assist the Government to evaluate tax level and protect consumers.  There are a wide variety of dutiable commodities.  Items such as spirits, liquors, diesel fuel and petrol are classified for duty assessment under the Dutiable Commodities Ordinance (Cap. 109).  In addition, this Section supports C&ED in verifying the compliance with Weights and Measures Ordinance (Cap. 68) of measuring equipment and prepacked goods; and also assists C&ED in enforcing the Toys and Children's Products Safety Ordinance (Cap. 424) and the Consumer Goods Safety Ordinance (Cap. 456) by performing tests to toys, children's products and other consumer goods against safety standards prescribed in relevant legislations.

The existing PWCL Building was built in 1990.  The building condition is deteriorating after commissioning for more than 30 years.  Its existing design and layout has restrained the flexibility and efficiency of space utilisation as well as application of new technologies such as automated and artificial intelligence testing systems.  Besides, arising from the continuous increase in testing types and quantity, there is insufficient working space in the PWCL Building and the working environment is very congested.  Therefore, there are pressing needs to expand the PWCL to enhance its operational efficiency and level of occupational safety.

History of Hong Kong Public Records Building

Government records are valuable resources.  The Public Records Office (PRO) of Government Records Service (GRS) is the central archives for permanent retention of archival records of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.  It is committed to appraising and acquiring records and materials of enduring value and making them available for public use and access.  It is responsible for the appraisal, accessioning and description of archival records, organising public programmes and providing referencing services. Meanwhile, it is also responsible for managing the Central Preservation Library, the holdings of which include selected government publications, reports and printed materials.  There are also an archival records search room and an exhibition hall in the Hong Kong Public Records Building (HKPRB) where members of the public can view its holdings and visit exhibitions on different topics.

Hong Kong Public Records Office (HKPRB) in Kwun Tong was built in 1997.  Apart from its search room, exhibition hall and offices, there are also archives repositories which meet international standards for the permanent retention of archival records in the building.  As of March 2023, GRS keeps about 1.78 million archival records.  As the archives repositories thereat have reached their maximum capacity, GRS has re-arranged the storing racks to increase the storage capacity to cater for the everincreasing quantity of archival records.  Moreover, since 2014 GRS has converted part of the inactive records storage spaces in its Tuen Mun Government Storage Centre into temporary archives repositories as a temporary relief measure. Notwithstanding this, the converted temporary repositories have yet to meet the international standards required for the permanent storage of archival records, GRS has therefore a genuine operational need to build a new archives centre to cope with the continuous increase in demand for permanent retention of archives.