Plot Ratio

Definition
According to Reg 21(3) of the Building (Planning) Regulations (Cap 123F), the plot ratio (地積比率) of a building is obtained by dividing the gross floor area (GFA) (總樓面面積) of the building by the area of the site on which the building is erected.

For example, if a building has 12 storeys and the area of each floor being 1,500 square metres, the GFA of the building is 18,000 square metres. If the site area is 2,000 square metres, the plot ratio is 9.

Regulating Plot Ratio
The Government imposes restrictions upon plot ratio as a means of controlling the density of population. Provisions regulating plot ratios may be enforced in the following ways:

  • The Government Lease/Conditions may prescribe the maximum permitted plot ratio, breach of which would lead to the refusal of the issue of a certificate of compliance or re-entry by the Government.
  • The notes accompanying the Outline Zoning Plan may specify the permitted plot ratio. Consequently no development would be permitted as the building plans would not conform to the restrictions in the Zoning Plan.
  • Where the developer does not abide by the permitted maximum plot ratio prescribed in the First Schedule to the Building (Planning) Regulations (Cap 123F), permission to develop may be refused.

    Site Plan

    Site Plan

Amalgamated Sites having Different Plot Ratios
In International Trader Limited v Appeal Tribunal (Buildings) [2006] HCAL 161/2005 in the High Court of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the Applicant acquired two sites and intended to construct a multi-storey building there. Part of the building was on land zoned R(C)7 and the remainder on land zoned R(A).

In respect of the land zoned R(C)7, the Outline Zoning Plan prescribed a maximum plot ratio of 5. In respect of the land zoned R(A), the maximum plot ratio was prescribed by the Building (Planning) Regulations applied; this was 10 and 9 for a building on a class C site and Class B site respectively.

The Applicant submitted plans for the multi-storey building to be constructed on the amalgamated site. The first plan was for a plot ratio of 10 which was rejected by the Building Authority. The second plan was for a plot ratio of 9 which was also rejected. The ground for both rejections was that the development comprised one building part of which would stand on R(C)7 land and this contravened the permitted plot ratio of such land.

The Applicant appealed to the Building (Appeal) Tribunal which upheld the rejection. The Applicant then applied for judicial review of the rejection by the Appeal Tribunal.

The Applicant argued that the plot ratio in respect of the less restrictive zone should apply to the straddling site.

The Court held that the developer might properly construct two buildings on the differently zoned portions, each complying with its prescribed plot ratio. Alternatively, the developer might position the building anywhere on the amalgamated site even where it straddled two different zones. However, when assessing whether in such a case the plot ratio was permissible, the zoning application to the individual portions of the amalgamated site could not be ignored. There was clearly a contravention of the permitted plot ratio for the R(C)7 portion of the site, and the Building Authority was correct in rejecting the plans. The application for judicial review was dismissed.

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6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. HC
    Jan 25, 2013 @ 18:49:54

    In some old land lease, or lands exchange, I could not find the plot ratio being explicitly specified. How can I know the plot ratio of the land and the maximum building size (GFA) in these cases.

    Reply

    • Sr Edmond Cheung
      Jan 25, 2013 @ 23:30:47

      In the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, provisions regulating plot ratios may be enforced in three different ways.
      Firstly, the Government lease/Conditions might prescribe the maximum permitted plot ratio, breach of which would lead to the refusal of the issue of a certificate of compliance, and perhaps re-entry, by the Govemment.
      Secondly, the notes accompanying the Outline Zoning Plan might specify the permitted plot ratio. As a consequence, no development would be permitted as the building plans would not conform to the restrictions in the Zoning Plan.
      Thirdly, where the developer does not abide by the permitted maximum plot ratio prescribed in the First Schedule to the Building (Planning) Regulations (Cap 123F), permission to develop may be refused.

      Reply

      • HC
        Jan 26, 2013 @ 09:57:58

        Thanks for your reply.
        Does it mean for those land lease without prescribing the plot ratio, e.g. land lease at 1960, and OZP does not exist at the then time, it would follow the prevailing OZP and Building (Planning) Regulations to approve any change of GFA in A&A works.

      • Sr Edmond Cheung
        Jan 26, 2013 @ 13:48:34

        The plot ratio is only one of the considerations for A&A works. Other considerations include restrictions in Government Lease/Conditions, planning restrictions in Outline Zoning Plan and accompanying notes, restrictions in the deed of mutual covenant, and also that the Government has no plans to resume the land as well as there are no other statutory restrictions on the use of the land.
        An Authorised Person should be consulted for the relevant planning implications.

  2. Lee
    Sep 06, 2012 @ 17:45:39

    why did the developer apply for change in the plot ratio? You cannot apply for amendment to the Master Plan in HK?

    Reply

    • Edmond Cheung
      Sep 06, 2012 @ 21:36:18

      Since the plot ratio of a building is obtained by dividing the gross floor area of the building by the area of the site on which the building is erected, a higher plot ratio will allow the new building with a larger gross floor area.

      In Hong Kong, the Town Planning Board is empowered to prepare statutory Outline Zoning Plans directing the types of buildings that may be erected on specified areas on the plan; and may also stipulate the plot ratio that is applicable to the areas specified on the plan. The Board also has power to amend any plan that has been approved by the Chief Execntive in Council.
      The Building (Planning) Regulations restrict the plot ratio of any building to the level specified in the regulations. Further, the Building Authority has a discretionary power to determine the actual plot ratio for a site not abutting a street.

      Reply

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