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UBWs in New Territories Exempted Houses

New Territories Exempted Houses (NTEH)

NTEH generally refer to those village houses situated in the New Territories which by virtue of the Buildings Ordinance (Application to the New Territories) Ordinance (BO(ATNT)O) are exempted from certain provisions of the Buildings Ordinance (BO) and its subsidiary regulations, including the need for obtaining prior approval and consent to the commencement of works from the Buildings Department (BD).

They include the village houses built by indigenous villagers under the New Territories Small House Policy, commonly known as "small houses".

Exemption Criteria

NTEH are in general designed and built in compliance with the exemption criteria in respect of the height and roofed-over area, etc. stipulated in the BO(ATNT)O, which thus qualify them for exemption from certain provisions of the BO and its subsidiary regulations. The exemption criteria for new housing include:

  1. NOT more than 3 storeys
  2. Height of NOT more than 8.23 m (about 27 feet)
  3. Roofed-over area NOT exceeding 65.03 m2 (about 700 square feet)


Any additions, alterations or minor works which result in the stipulated height, roofed-over area, etc of these houses being exceeded would invalidate the exemption.

This would not only render the additions, alterations or minor works as unauthorised building works (UBWs), but would also turn the NTEH concerned into unauthorised buildings.

Buildings built before 1 January 1961

Any buildings built in the New Territories before the BO(ATNT)O came into force on 1 January 1961, irrespective of whether they complied with the exemption criteria, would not come within the above definition of UBWs, so long as there had been no alteration, addition to or re-construction of the building after that date.

For details of exemption criteria of NTEH, please refer to: