Lohas Park Unit Renovation Raises Concerns Over Main Wall: Importance of SGS x Home Journal Certificate for Consumers
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The recent online video depicting the demolition of a main wall in a residential unit in Lohas Park, Tseung Kwan O, has raised significant safety concerns within the community.

In light of this incident, it is essential for consumers to familiarise themselves with the SGS X ADC indoor design certification program, and to equip themselves with the knowledge required to assess the professionalism and capabilities of interior designers. By understanding these standards and qualifications, individuals can make more informed decisions when embarking on home renovation projects and ensure the integrity and safety of their living spaces.

As reported by news outlets, the Buildings Department has emphasised that the removal of specific main walls necessitates official approval, with unauthorised demolition being classified as illicit construction activity. The management company overseeing Lohas Park had confirmed that no formal request for structural alterations had been submitted by the residents of the affected unit. It is expected that skilled and reputable interior designers would not engage in haphazard or arbitrary wall dismantling practices.

Regarding the issue of wall demolition, we contacted a professional architect to understand the situation. He explained that main walls and partition walls are easy to distinguish, and professional interior designers or architects can tell by looking at the drawings. Renovation workers, drawing on their experience, are also adept at identifying main walls, typically characterised by a thickness exceeding 150 millimetres, and partition walls, which typically range from 75 to 100 millimetres in width.

Simply put, wall structures encompass a range of materials, including brick walls, concrete walls, or reinforced concrete walls with steel infrastructure. Main walls are commonly associated with reinforced concrete walls featuring at least two layers of steel reinforcement. Despite the expertise available, some professional architects remain perplexed by the interior designer's error in judgement. Moreover, the presence of steel reinforcement within concrete walls is a detectable feature that experienced workers would likely observe during the demolition process. An experienced construction worker emphasised that in such scenarios, "seasoned workers would definitely report if they se, like steel reinforcements. This just shows how important it is to have good communication and supervision in construction and renovation projects so mistakes are caught and the building stays strong".

Therefore, a mechanism to assess the professional level of interior designers is particularly important. Under the banner of "Beautiful Home", the Asia Designers Community (ADC) has partnered with the international certification body SGS Hong Kong to launch the "Interior Design Excellence Service Certificate Certification" program in 2020. This program independently verifies interior design companies to prove that those awarded the certificate have the ability to provide quality interior design services. It also provides the public with assurance of compliance with interior design services.

As the first certification program in Asia related to interior design services, this program evaluates the performance of the interior design industry based on the 6S framework - Company Integrity (Sincere), Consumer Protection (Security), Quality Service (Service), Smart Home (Smart), Project Safety (Safety), and Sustainable Development (Sustainability) as "service commitments" to address common concerns of the public. The entire certification process is managed by SGS Hong Kong, referencing international standards, and includes document and record review, evaluation, and on-site audits. Through a series of independent audits and evaluations conducted according to international standards, interior design companies that successfully obtain certification must meet strict design quality and service standards, which is a recognition of their professionalism and good reputation. This certification program helps the public easily identify interior design companies with guaranteed quality, saving unnecessary time and costs to ensure that the public receives the most satisfactory professional interior design services.

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