FAQ on the QPME System
Q1. What is QPME? Why there is a need to set up a system to facilitate its use in construction works?
A1. Quality Powered Mechanical Equipment (QPME) items are construction equipment that are new, notably quieter, more environmentally friendly and efficient. To let the Authority or the project proponent positively recognize the environmental benefits of these QPME items, an administrative system is developed in response to the call from the construction industry to present a win-win-win situation, benefiting the works, the project proponents and the communities as a whole. It is tailored to reflect the environmental and acoustical performance of the state-of-the-art construction equipment, to facilitate the Construction Noise Permit (CNP) application process, and at the same time, supports the "Pay for Safety and Environment Scheme" of the Works Branch of the Development Bureau.
Q2. What are the merits of using QPME in construction?
A2. From the industries point of view, contractors using QPME in their construction works will definitely get a higher successful rate in CNP application. From the communities' point of view, the wider use of QPME would help reducing the noise from construction works at all times. The QPME System would also provide incentives to the equipment suppliers to import more types and models of quieter equipment into Hong Kong, leading to better quality products and a more competitive pricing for the QPME.
More specifically, the sound power levels, attested to each of the QPME, would be recognized by the Environmental Protection Department (EPD) for purposes of CNP application assessment. The equipment would also be recognized by the Engineers in the Public Works Projects for the purposes of assessing payment, for example, under the "Pay for Safety and Environment" Scheme. As from April 2008, the capital expenditure on QPME can be deducted from Profits Tax. For detailed taxation arrangement, please read the relevant Departmental Interpretation and Practice Notes No. 5 of Inland Revenue Department (http://www.ird.gov.hk/eng/pdf/e_dipn05.pdf) and enquire Inland Revenue Department direct.
Q3. Which types of equipment will be considered under the QPME system?
A3. Fifteen types of common use construction equipment, including (1) tracked bulldozer; (2) wheeled bulldozer; (3) tracked loader; (4) wheeled loader; (5) excavator; (6) generator; (7) mobile crane; (8) vibratory roller; (9) road roller; (10) asphalt paver; (11) vibratory compactor; (12) power rammer; (13) hand-held percussive breaker; (14) air compressor; and, (15) concrete crusher, are included in the QPME system. [Note: The last 3 types are newly included for trial starting from 1st Apr, 2016. EPD would keep reviewing the existing system as well as promoting the above types of quality equipment.]
Excavators, loaders and dozers with output power equal to or more than 500 kW or generators with output power equal to or more than 400 kW are generally not included in the QPME system. Also, equipment types under Article 13 of the European Union (EU) Directive 2000/14/EC (e.g. paver-finisher equipped with high compaction screed) are generally not included in the QPME system. However, if it could be demonstrated that the noise performance from equipment with these specifications could comply with relevant noise limits imposed for similar series of equipment, EPD would however only consider such QPME Label application on a case-by-case basis.
Q4. What are the basic requirements to be qualified as an item of QPME?
A4. To be qualified as a QPME, it should meet with all relevant requirements and noise limits as stipulated in Article 12 of EU Directive 2000/14/EC relating to noise emission in environment by equipment for use outdoors and be certified by a Notified Body recognized by any EU Member States under the EU system, or it is designated as Low Noise Emission Construction Equipment and having issued with the relevant label by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism (MLIT) of Japan under the Japanese system. For detailed application requirements, please refer to “How to make QPME Label application” webpage.
Q5. How do I know which brands, models and items of equipment have been approved as a QPME?
A5. Equipment approved under the QPME system would be posted in EPD's QPME webpage, “QPME Labels – valid”, for public information. Effective QPME should be an approved item affixed with a QPME Label. Enquiry can also be made to the EPD direct.
Q6. Who should make the application, the equipment supplier or the owner?
A6. Either the equipment supplier or the owner can apply for a QPME label.
Q7. How long would it take for EPD to process an application and get the QPME Label?
A7. Applications for QPME labels are processed in accordance with the order of receipt of application forms and EPD will make every endeavor to finish processing within a reasonable period. Normally the applicant will be informed of the result by mail / email within 28 days from the date of the receipt of the application. Nevertheless, EPD may need further clarification or documentary proof from the applicant. The processing time would be affected by the complexity of individual application case and the number of applications received at a particular time.
Q8. What are the obligations to use the QPME?
A8. It is the responsibility of the owner/user to ensure that the environmental quality of the equipment is properly maintained such that the noise performance would not deteriorate significantly. If an item of QPME is suspected to be emitting excessive noise due to poor maintenance, improper operation, modification or alteration, the owner would be asked to submit an assessment report to verify its Sound Power Level (SWL) by an acoustical professional. If the measured SWL exceeds the limit qualified for an EU/Japanese label, the relevant QPME label would be cancelled. A QPME label that is issued in consequence of misleading, false, wrong or incomplete information furnished by an applicant in connection with the application is liable to be cancelled.
Q9. If the hand-held percussive breaker and air compressor have already been granted with QPME Labels, would the QPME labeled equipment be exempted from the control under Noise Emission Label (NEL)?
A9. The QPME Label and NEL are two different systems to tackle noise from construction equipment. The QPME Label system is a non-statutory administrative system in which equipment owner could apply for a free QPME Label for their equipment voluntarily. In contrast to the QPME Label system, the NEL is a statutory requirement for controlling noise from hand-held percussive breaker having a mass above 10 kg and air compressor capable of supplying compressed air at 500 kPa pressure or above. Hence, even though a QPME label has been granted under the QPME system, use of these two types of construction equipment shall still comply with the Noise Control Ordinance (NCO) and relevant regulations.
Q10. Since EU Directive 2000/14/EC or the MLIT Regulations of Japan are the basic requirements for QPME Label application, is the other equipment with its place of manufacture not in EU countries or Japan (e.g. made in China or the United States) not eligible for the QPME Label?
A10. Regardless of the place of manufacture, the equipment that could demonstrate it could fully comply with the EU Directive 2000/14/EC or the MLIT Regulations of Japan would be eligible for QPME Label.
Q11. What should I do when I buy or sell an item of QPME?
A11. The new and old owners/users of the equipment should individually or jointly notify EPD in writing on the change of ownership of the equipment. Upon confirmation of the change of ownership, a new QPME label, with the remaining validity period left from the previous one, will be issued to the new owner.
Q12. How should I make the application for new equipment? What are the documents required?
A12. To apply a QPME label for a new item of equipment, the applicant should return a duly completed and duly signed application form to the EPD by email, mail, fax or in person. The application is free of charge. To demonstrate that the equipment would meet the basic requirements for QPME label, each application should provide the essential supporting documents. For document requirement details and application form, please refer to section 3(I) “Essential supporting documents” in “How to make QPME Label application” webpage.
Q13. What are the requirements to renew the existing QPME Label.
A13. Application for the renewal of existing QPME label would be subject to individual working conditions and maintenance merits. In addition to meeting the basic requirements and providing with the essential document as reqired for new machine, each renewal application shall be supported with sound test report and repair/ maintenance/ overhaul records, in order to demonstrate that there was no deterioration in environmental quality or performance and no increase in sound emission of the equipment. For details, please refer to section 3(I) “Essential supporting documents” and section 3(II) “Additional supporting documents” in “How to make QPME Label application” webpage. It should be noted application for renewal after the expiry date of a QPME label is not normally accepted.
Q14. I have a piece of old or used equipment at or over 6 years of manufacture, can I make the application for the first QPME Label?
A14. Application for the first QPME Label for old or used equipment at or over 6 years of manufacture would not normally be considered. On the other hand, a QPME label would be renewed subject to individual working conditions and maintenance merits. In addition to meeting the basic requirements and providing with the essential document as requested for new machine, the applicant should also submit the supplementary information for for a piece of old or used equipment, that are, the valid sound test report and the repair/ maintenance/ overhaul records, in order to demonstrate that there was no deterioration in environmental quality on performance nor no increase in sound emission of the equipment. For details, please refer to section 3(I) “Essential supporting documents” and section 3(II) “Additional supporting documents” in “How to make QPME Label application” webpage.
Q15. When applying for renewal of existing QPME label, what is the requirement or format of the service / maintenance / overhaul record? How many years of service records does EPD require?
A15. As the requirement for service varied from equipment to equipment, there is no fixed format for service / maintenance records. However, the applicant is expected to provide the records that equipment is under proper maintenance. Such records may be normal records of service / maintenance / overhaul records or log books as recommended by the manufacturer of that particular equipment. In addition, details of whether any damaged machine external panels, acoustic baffles to engine compartment being replaced, replacement of acoustic absorbing materials, anti-vibration mounts, etc. to demonstrate there is no deterioration in "environmental quality or acoustic performance" should also be included. For renewal of QPME label, at least 2 years of service / maintenance / overhaul record of that equipment would be required before the date of application. The proper service and maintenance record shall be endorsed by (i) the relevant manufacturer; or (ii) the agent of service centre with workshop appointed / recognized by the manufacturer; or (iii) the relevant independent surveyor in Hong Kong.
Q16. What are the requirements of the additional sound test report in QPME Label application for renewal of existing Labels?
A16. The equipment shall be tested under relevant testing procedures laid down in the EU Directive 2000/14/EC or MLIT Regulations of Japan and be assessed based on the latest permitted noise levels as stated in relevant regulations. The sound test shall be performed and validated by the competent professional within 1 year before date of application. The competent professionals of EU, Japan or Hong Kong shall be well trained, experienced and qualified in acoustical professional (e.g. Corporate Members or Fellows of Hong Kong Institute of Acoustics or other equivalent professional body in acoustics).
Q17. What are the sound power level measurement procedures and what are the noise limits?
A17. The respective procedures and sound power level limit requirements stipulated in the EU Directive 2000/14/EC and the MLIT Regulations of Japan are different. Either one system should be selected by the manufacturer for the equipment. EPD assessment would be done according to the latest version of the aforementioned EU and Japanese systems, including procedures and sound power level limits. Details of these two systems could be viewed in the following webpages:
The sound testing procedures and permissible sound power level limits should be based on the original system selected (i.e. either under EU Directive 2000/14/EC or MLIT Regulations of Japan) for the equipment by the manufacturer. "Mixture" or "cross-over" of measurement procedures and / or noise limits between two systems would not be accepted.
Q18. If a concrete crusher on its own is just as an attachment tool and need to be mounted with a carrier body (e.g. excavator) for operation, what are the extra requirements in applying the QPME label for this type of concrete crusher?
A18. A mounted type concrete crusher would also be eligible for QPME Label application. In addition to the essential supporting document, the applicant shall provide information to justify that it will be attached to a quality carrier to be mounted (such as QPME labeled machine). QPME Label of mounted type concrete crusher should only be valid when the concrete crusher is mounted on a compatible QPME or other quality carriers considered acceptable by EPD.
Q19. Why my application is refused?
A19. There could be several reasons that an application for a QPME Label could be refused or unable to proceed further. The possible ones are that (1) equipment certificates attached do not meet with the latest standards under Article 12 of EU Directive 2000/14/EC or MLIT Regulations of Japan; (2) the power rating of excavator, loader and dozer is equal to or more than 500 kW or that of generator is equal to or more than 400 kW; (3) all types of equipment belong to Article 13 of EU Directive 2000/14/EC (i.e. the power ratings are large and the noise limits are not applicable to them) (e.g. paver-finisher with high compaction screed); (4) used equipment with date of manufacture more than 6 years from date of application without a noise testing report to demonstrate its noise emission complying with the relevant standards;(5) insufficient or missing information in the application form; or (6) the supporting documents are missing or incomplete.
Q20. What should I do when I am notified that my application is successful?
A20. The successful applicant will be given a register user account to login a QPME Database webpage to view the details of his own QPME. The QPME Label, which contains key information of the QPME, would need to be printed by the applicant on a piece of white paper with plastic lamination and affixed to the approved equipment at a conspicuous location when it is in use.
Q21. Where can I obtain information regarding all the approved QPME items under my company?
A21. Upon the approval of the QPME the successful applicant will be provided a registered user account name with password to access the QPME Database, where the applicant can list all the QPME under its name, search a particular item by type, model or other parameters, check for the relevant information and print the corresponding QPME Labels.
Q22. I lost my password to access the QPME Database. What should I do?
A22. The account holder could contact EPD to get a new password for access.