Achieving “Zero Accident” is the top priority on construction sites. By adopting the concept of “factory assembly followed by on-site installation”, Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) helps to ease and solve some of the safety challenges faced by the industry.
CIC strives to raise safety awareness and safety standards in the construction industry. It is believed that every industry stakeholder has a role to play in building a strong safety culture. Last week, Ir Thomas HO, Chairman of CIC and Ir Albert CHENG, Executive Director of CIC visited the site of the Purpose-built Multi-welfare Services Complex in Area 29 of Kwu Tung North Development Area. Construction team from Shui On Construction and Materials Limited (SOCAM) demonstrated the use of robots and innovative technologies including Automated Material Delivery Robot with a Web-based control system and an Anti-Collision system. Such technology is designed for efficiently uplifting productivity, build quality, site safety and environmental performance of the whole project. Freddy Lee, Chief Executive Officer of SOCAM shared his experience of working with young colleagues and how the company supported them to generate more innovative and interesting ideas for construction projects.
In this 8-storey building, approximately 42% of total construction floor area is built using the revolutionary MiC technology to house 7 residential care homes for the elderly to provide 252 beds. With this method, free-standing integrated modules (completed with finishes, fixtures and fittings) are manufactured and assembled in a factory. By transferring on-site construction processes to a controlled factory environment, buildings can be substantially completed off-site.
It perfectly echoes with the miraculous Community Isolation Facilities which were built within two months and are currently providing 20,000 isolation units. Not to mention that Tsing Yi community isolation facility was completed in only seven days. Thanks to MiC technology, the “plug and play” facilities were handed over smoothly in such a short time and of outstanding quality.
Prefabricated construction technology never ceases to amaze us! As the first project with full MiC application and green construction by SOCAM, this Multi-welfare Services Complex sets a new standard to elderly home projects while proving how prefabricated building method can get work done faster, at lower cost and most importantly, in a safer environment. We look forward to seeing its completion in late August this year, and more elderly people can live in better home to enjoy the care provided to them.
Construction safety has always been the Construction Industry Council (CIC)'s top priority in our work in promoting industry development. Unfortunately, there was another fatal accident during the past Easter holiday where a cleaning worker fell from height. In fact, every aspect of a construction project, including process design, site management, application of technology, and training are essential to construction safety, and every detail can give better protection to workers.
Last week, Ir Thomas HO, Chairman of CIC, and Ir Albert CHENG , Executive Director of CIC, visited the site of the Lyric Theatre Complex at West Kowloon and extensive adoption of BIM, MiMEP and MiC method were demonstrated. Contractor's planning and intelligence in minimising potential risks can be seen from the project's process design to technology application. It is a exemplary reference for the industry. Mr. SM LIN, General Manager, Construction Projects of West Kowloon Cultural District Authority explained that the extensive use of BIM enables constant checks on construction accuracy which helps to ensure construction safety. This project is a fusion of architecture, technology and art and sets a good example for fellow construction project owners.
The Lyric Theatre Complex in West Kowloon has an atypical outlook. The irregular shape of the building brings complexity and uncertainty to its construction process. With an aim to simplify on-site construction procedures and processes, the contractor adopted BIM extensively to achieve "Design for Safety". Much effort has been put into the initial design stage to achieve construction safety and reduce potential risks. With BIM in place, calculation and Parametric Design can help reduce the number of curved panels used for the curvy facade from more than 300 pieces to approximately 160 pieces . The steel internal support structure can also be modularised. With the help of technology, we believe modularisation of curtain walls and even modularisation of interiors can be made possible and will bring about further improvements in construction productivity.
With careful planning during the design stage, uncertainties and unknown risks can be greatly reduced as "how" and "when" are well-determined throughout the construction process. We can also benefit from the detailed planning as everyone will be well-informed of accurate and useful information of the project, as detailed as the position of every screw. The developer, the consultant, the contractor, the technical team or even the workers will be able to perform their duties in a safe and organised manner. Contractor can suspend the work and install safety equipment instantly with the internet-based Dynamic Risks Assessment and resume construction in a safe condition when all workers are informed of the changes.
Actual architectural consideration will follow when an effective and disciplined design is in place. Mr. Iain Hubert, Project Director of Gammon Construction, introduced at the Lyric Theatre Complex site that nearly 70% of the building process of the site's engine room and large-scale plumbing installations were built with DfMA and MiMEP method. Parts were pre-fabricated in the factory to ensure their quality and DfMA can greatly reduce welding works and works at height on site. Onsite procedures can be reduced from 40 to 10. These design ideas have greatly reduced the potential risks on site. The team also enjoyed the much shorter procedure as minimal installation work is needed at site likes fixing hoses and screws were completed in just 24 working days, an outstanding achievement in construction safety and efficiency!
Prefabricated construction can reduce on site manpower requirement and it is particularly important during the pandemic. During the outbreak of the fifth wave of the epidemic in Hong Kong, many workers were unable to go to work and logistics between Hong Kong and the Mainland was hindered, which also affected the delivery of materials and in turns, the progress of construction projects. Yet with the adoption of DfMA, components can still be manufactured in the mainland which shortens the onsite construction time and ensures a smooth construction progress. Mr. Sunny CHAN, Chief Projects Officer of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority, mentioned that part of the site was reserved for workshops and local pre-fabrication so as to avoid delays in construction progress caused by logistics problems during the pandemic.
The digital control center in the construction site is indispensable to maximize the benefits of the technology application on the construction site. The MMC (Modern Method of Construction) system is a consolidation of various technologies. Since the start of the design works of the Lyric Theatre Complex with BIM, through the construction process with MiMEP and DfMA construction work, all data are recorded in the system with the help of Internet of Things (IoT). The team in charge of managing the MMC system are in control of all processes, and will be able to monitor the project quality on the digital platform, components arrival time and even the person receiving the components and ensure that the entire project runs smoothly. An AI-powered CCTV is also included in the system to ensure workers are wearing their hard hats and masks properly and will issue instant warnings to secure the implementation of safety instructions. If all engineering projects adopt such system, all the data can be consolidated to achieve standardisation in construction sites, which will improve the time, cost, quality, safety and sustainable development of projects.
Construction safety is indeed a responsibility for all and everyone should contribute. In order to encourage frontline colleagues' commitment, the Council awarded two outstanding engineering colleagues with tablet computers - Victor, who is committed to create a safe working environment by integrating BIM, MiMEP, MiC, etc.; and Herman, who inspects the construction site and reminds subcontractors and frontline workers to pay attention to safety at work. CIC looks forward to more integration of safety details into construction process and "Life First" is always the industry's first priority!
Zero tolerance to accidents! To promote safety awareness in the industry, especially among frontline construction practitioners, the Construction Industry Council (CIC) encourages the industry to organise regular Silent Tribute events for conveying safety messages to management staff and workers and encourage them to learn from unfortunate experiences. The Hong Kong Institute of Construction (HKIC) under CIC holds Silent Tribute events regularly where instructors and students held a moment of silence for workers who lost their lives in accidents. To make sure that students understand the importance of safety, we included analysis of potential causes of accidents as a key element in the event.
To achieve excellence, not only project quality has to be guaranteed, construction companies should also ensure construction safety at sites. As the industry’s pioneer, CIC encourages the development of a caring culture in the industry, the Silent Tribute event will set a good example for the industry and is well received by industry leaders. Ir Thomas HO, the Chairman of the CIC, Ir KAN Jun, Council Member of CIC and Mr. CHAN Lok-chai, President of Registered Specialist Trade Contractors Federation joined the Silent Tribute in early April and shared some sincere remarks on safety issues with students from the foreman course.
Between January to March this year, three fatal accidents likely to be related to fall from heights and trapped in or between objects occurred, all are very unfortunate. HKIC instructors briefed students on the incident summary and analyze potential causes to the accidents. Reflection was made on how to avoid accidents, for example, did workers check if there is any suitable protective barrier? Is independent lifeline with fall-arresting devices available? Did frontline management brief or give instruction before commencement of work?
Ir Thomas HO warned students, “Some workers think their experience overrides safety precautions, and tragedies happen. Students will become foremen after graduation, you must bear in mind that workers need to know the risk before they start working, and it will save their lives.” He also reminds students that immediately stoppage is needed if work sequence is different from the planned sequence suddenly. Life will be protected if we stay alert and take one extra step.
It is important to look before you leap, especially at construction sites. CIC remind the industry regularly that decisions made controls workers’ lives and their family. Ir KAN Jun shared that “You must make safety a habit because it will affect more than one family. I know that many accidents are caused by improper use of safety belt, it is important to stay alert. PPE is just the beginning of safety measures, workers with less experience may be less aware of safety hazards, so regular training is needed.”
Mr. CHAN Lok-chai visits sites frequently, he pointed out that “Foreman is an important role with great responsibilities because they are the ones who should know all happenings on site, such as how to perform lifting operations safely? Did workers let the form work finish in a safe environment for next sequence?” He also encouraged owners, main contractors and sub-contractors to organise mandatory talks for workers and learn from the bitter experience of families who have lost their loved ones.
With the “Zero Accident” principle, through Silent Tribute events, CIC and HKIC strives to promote safety awareness and understanding of safety standard and deliver the message clearly to construction workers. CIC has prepared a guideline with recommended rundown for the industry for organising Silent Tribute events. Owners, main contractors and sub-contractors are encouraged to hold a moment of silence for workers passed away in accidents on their own but it should carry the most important message in the event which is “Safety Assurance” and potential risks could be avoided.
CIC reviews and monitors safety performance in the industry from time to time while joining hands with the industry to foster a positive safety culture. CIC and the government strongly encourage sites to arrange workers to do warm-up exercise “Baduanjin” before the commencement of the work daily. Exercising can enhance workers’ physical flexibility and encourage a healthy lifestyle to minimise the risk of injuries. It is helpful to workers’ health and prepare them for the long day of work ahead. Therefore we strongly encourage to include “Baduanjin” in every Silent Tribute event. HKIC organizes various training courses on construction safety for workers to promote safety awareness and attitude. Eventually, we hope to foster the concept of “Life First” in the industry on all fronts. Let’s say “No” to Danger together!
As climate tipping points lie alarmingly close, achieving carbon neutrality is the task in hand. The construction industry consumes approximately 36% of all energy consumed globally and accounted for 40% of all carbon emissions in the world. In order to achieve sustainable development, the Construction Industry Council is determined to lead the industry towards the goal of carbon neutrality.
Ir Thomas HO, Chairman of the CIC, visited the CIC–Zero Carbon Park (CIC-ZCP) in Kowloon Bay in late April to learn about the latest development of this landmark facility. Established in 2012, CIC-ZCP serves as an exhibition, education and information centre to raise awareness of the importance of low-carbon living, showcasing the state-of-the-art eco-building design and technologies to the local and international construction industry, and eventually innovates the stakeholders to deploy new technologies as a way to reduce carbon footprints.
Zero carbon building is a building that has zero net carbon emissions on an annual basis. CIC-ZCP aims to achieve this by generating on-site renewable energy from photovoltaic panels and a tri-generation system using biofuel made of waste cooking oil. On top of being self-sustainable, CIC-ZCP exports surplus energy to offset embodied carbon of its construction process. Apart from renewable energy generation, CIC-ZCP has taken various passive design measures to save energy. For example, CIC-ZCP is cross-ventilated as its main facade faces southeast to take advantage of the prevailing summer breezes coming from that direction. The elongated form of CIC-ZCP also enables a suitable room depth between the northwest and southeast facade for daylighting.
CIC-ZCP has never stopped upgrading throughout the decade. Chairman of Zero Carbon Building Management Board, Mr CHONG Kin-lit, Paul explained that the park has installed the “Air Improvement Photovoltaic (AIPV) Glass Canopy” to replace the old canopy of the cafeteria in CIC-ZCP. The glass canopy not only offers daylighting, on one hand it generates renewable energy from sunlight through cadmium telluride nano thin-film photovoltaic technology. On the other hand, the quantum dot nano top coating system decomposes PM2.5 and volatile organic compounds, which will help improve air quality. Ir Thomas HO appreciated the efforts CIC-ZCP has paid to put new technologies into practice for the benefit of the members of the public.
To achieve the target of carbon neutrality, the construction industry should stay up to date on the advancement of technology. CIC-ZCP together with the “MiC Resources Centre”, “Building Information Modeling Space” (BIM Space) and the “Construction Innovation and Technology Application Centre” (CITAC) have formed the "iHub”. The brand new “i-Hub” exhibits advanced technologies and materials to promote the application of innovative techniques and solutions in the local construction industry. While the “Modular Integrated Construction” (MiC) approach is widely adopted nowadays, this method was once doubted when introduced to Hong Kong several years ago. Back in 2018, CIC pioneered the development of MiC by constructing Hong Kong’s first MiC-constructed building in CIC-ZCP, giving a lead to the industry that this “factory assembly followed by on-site installation” method is favourable to improving construction productivity, safety and sustainability. There are more than 60 local construction projects adopting MiC so far, including the Temporary Quarantine Camps built in Lei Yue Mun Park and Penny’s Bay.
Carbon neutrality can only be achieved when members of the public work hand-in-hand, CIC-ZCP aims to serve beyond the industry, and into the community. The CIC-ZCP’s Sustainable Development Exhibition showcases the blueprint and key elements of sustainable city development. Through a series of interactive fun-packed games, guided tours, educational workshops and "ZCP Green Heroes" Award Badges Programme, CIC-ZCP encourages students to participate in various carbon reduction activities, hence understanding the importance of sustainable development and carbon neutrality. With nearly 200,000 traffic recorded last year, Mr. Paul CHONG envisions CIC-ZCP to become a spark of sustainable development, and eventually foster the public to live a low-carbon lifestyle.
Sustainable development should not be confined to technological breakthroughs and protecting the environment, a healthy lifestyle is also essential. CIC-ZCP is home to over 200 species of flora, attracting numerous types of birds. With rich and varied biodiversity, CIC-ZCP functions as the “lungs of the city”, and this urban forest offers a relaxing space to the community.
CIC-ZCP dedicates to shoulder the social responsibility for promoting the sustainability and infinite construction possibilities. CIC-ZCP has attracted over thousands secondary and primary school students every year, and it is the popular picnic and recreational hotspot. According to the third-party statistics, the media values of CIC-ZCP has exceeded HK$30M recent years.
Leading forward, CIC-ZCP will continue to act as a test bed for new energy and advanced technologies, shoulder the responsibility of promoting low-carbon living and green-building design, and lead the industry and the public towards carbon neutrality.
The Kai Tak Sports Park is the most important investment in Hong Kong sports infrastructure in recent decades. Occupying 28 hectares of land, the Kai Tak Sports Park is about 47% larger than the Victoria Park and will become the largest sports infrastructure in Hong Kong. As a brand new and sports infrastructure, its construction methodology and safety standard are also leading the industry. Complexity and time-constraint are the tough challenges for the construction team. Nonetheless, the team strives to maintain good safety management and has adopted innovative technologies which effectively minimise work-at-height activities, enhance productivity and accuracy, and set a new benchmark in the construction industry. Last week, Ir Thomas HO, Chairman of CIC and Ir Albert CHENG, Executive Director of CIC, and Sr Thomas HO, Member of CIC visited the site of the Kai Tak Sports Park. The Hip Hing project team shared how they adopt innovative technology to enhance construction safety.
Kai Tak Sports Park comprises three large sports facilities, including: the “Main Stadium”, the “Indoor Sports Centre” and the “Public Sports Ground”. Bringing sports and leisure together. According to Mr. Eric Lau, Construction Project Director of Hip Hing Engineering Company Limited, the Sports Park adopted the model of “Design, Build and Operate”, under which the design team has been working closely with the construction and operation teams since the early stages of the project. Moreover, different teams also relocated their bases to the site office at the Sports Park, to perform their roles in a timely manner with respect to various construction designs and transform different ideas into reality.
Besides the design, construction and operation team, the project also involves many other contractors in building services, structural steelworks, external facades of buildings and retractable roof construction. Therefore, extensive use of Building Information Modelling (BIM), Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) and Multi-trade integrated Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MiMEP) techniques has been using in this project to increase the efficiency of design and production, as well as enhancing the construction safety and risk management. The construction team fully utilises BIM for the preparation works of construction, allowing them to identify conflicts and figure out solutions in advance and proceed the construction safely and smoothly. Once the designs are ready, different prefabricated parts will be produced overseas factories for simultaneous prefabrication and the completed assemblies will be delivered to the site and finally handed over to operation team. This does not only greatly reduce the construction period, but also reduces the manpower and helps to create a safer working environment for frontline workers. This project fully illustrates how technology brings positive change to the site, and was awarded the “2020 BIM Achievement Award'' by the Council.
Mr. CHU Tat-chi, Managing Director of Hip Hing Construction, pointed out that the “Design, Build and Operate” model enabled them to plan the construction and operation arrangement at one go. They also had ample time and space to complete the works which made the project more cost-effective, boosting the efficiency and productivity of the project.
The retractable roof is one of the special features of the Main Stadium of Kai Tak Sports Park. Its roof is mainly supported by four sets of main steel trusses with a span of 180 m maximum and such scale is considered to be a mega building project in Hong Kong. The main steel truss consists of large steel circular hollow sections, with the diameter of the largest section being up to 1.6 m. Making use of computer-controlled welding machines for welding, the construction team also adopts advanced technologies such as BIM and DfMA in the prefabrication process, so as to improve quality and speed up the construction progress in terms of the on-site construction, the team also makes use of BIM for better visualising the design and facilitating the overall enhancement and construction processes. By transforming all the prefabricated components into “exploded-view drawing”, this illustrates the different functions of the components and the design for assembly in a three-dimensional way, so that contractor clearly understands the steps and methodology of installation for each procedure, e.g. external façade installation, building services installation and retractable roof construction, etc.
The Main Stadium of the Kai Tak Sports Park will accommodate 50,000 spectators and the steel structure of the roof involves 13,600 tons of structural steel. This, coupled with the area needed for the cranes, the storage of materials and the assembly of prefabricated components, requires a significant amount of space. Therefore, the team builds a travelling gantry, for the installation of around 1,700 prefabricated units for the upper rows of seats. All these are completed with the aim of design for safety, productivity and sustainability, minimising work-at-height and crossing operations in mind.
In order for frontline workers to have a clear understanding of how to bring innovative technologies into construction sites, the project team makes use of a platform called “Dalux” which not only facilitates the planning and execution of BIM tasks, but also allows site personnel to go into the site without the need to bring along the drawings. The GPS tracking function allows personnel to have a clear understanding of the project and tasks’ progress in real time, while also keeps information constantly updated through the use of cloud technology. The whole team therefore simultaneously monitors the progress and minimises mistakes. Hip Hing’s professional team once again demonstrates the industry’s continuous pursue of excellence and the spirit of “Life First” and “Zero Accident” with concerted efforts.
The construction industry built Hong Kong from the bottom-up, thousands of workers had put their hearts and souls into it. It is a pity that 3,109 cases of industrial accidents were recorded in the construction industry in 2021 according to the Labour Department. The Construction Industry Council (CIC) will continuously improve workers’ safety awareness through organising different activities, with an aim to foster a safety culture and achieve the goal of zero accidents on construction sites.
Industrial accidents have claimed four workers' lives in April and May, a silent tribute event was thus held in the Hong Kong Institute of Construction, Sheung Shui Campus (HKIC), in May in remembrance of the deceased. Mr Kelvin Lo Kwok-wah, Director of Water Supplies, Ir Thomas Ho On-sing, Chairman of CIC, together with members of the CIC, Mr Chan Kim-kwong and Sr Eddie Lam Kin-wing, have attended to share their experience with students, and reminded them to always bear the importance of safety in minds.
Looking back into the accidents, Ir Thomas Ho was saddened to see that those workers involved have all taken a risk. He reminded students to take every step cautiously and urged the students not to let their guards down just because the foreman is not in sight, not to underestimate the risk of working on a seemingly low in height scaffold, and never start working before they are sure their lifelines are secured. They also need to ensure danger zones are properly established and signs are set up. Conditions in construction sites are ever changing, Ir Thomas Ho advised students to be careful at all times, as he explained that “Construction procedures should be clearly listed out, however if there is a change, we must stop and think, many fatal accidents happen because changes are overlooked. Mentality is very important, I believe safety can be ensured as long as workers follow the procedures and dare to ‘say no to danger’.”
CIC actively promotes the use of innovative technologies in the industry, Mr Kelvin Lo agreed that the deployment of technologies will contribute to safety, “The industry shall embrace innovative technologies such as mechanisation and industrialisation. Technologies like BIM, MiC and smart site management can help improve safety performance.” He suggested that it is everyone's responsibility to keep the sites safe as works are interlinked, accidents can be avoided if workers are willing to help each other out. "Regardless of the scale of the construction, safety comes first, we cannot sacrifice it for the sake of catching the schedule.” He added.
Sr Eddie Lam, Member of CIC and Chairman of the Construction Industry Training Board, advised students to stay alert to the surrounding areas in construction sites. “You should be nosy, in a sense that when you spot anything wrong, like no guardrails at a floor opening, voice out. A simple act can save a life.” he said. He also added that students should stop their colleagues from acting dangerously.
Mr Chan Kim-kwong, Member of CIC and Chairman of the Hong Kong General Building Contractors Association, has been with the industry for more than 40 years. He recalled there were no safety training back in the early days, safety tips were only passed on by word of mouth from mentors. He encouraged students to make an all-out effort at work yet never risk their lives. “No matter how careful you are, a mistake may lead to accidents.” He said. As the attendees were plumbing’s students, Mr Chan urged them to keep the workplace neat and tidy, “Please make sure you keep your tools in place, or else someone might trip over the pipes.” he told them.
The purpose of hosting silent tribute events is to mourn the loss as well as to warn participants. The three fatal accidents were all related to falling from height. A tutor from HKIC went through the cases with students after a moment of silence, and taught them with “the four steps to safety”. First, workers should keep learning and be brave to ask. Secondly, workers should scrutinise the workplace, never hurry their work, rather they should pay attention to details and identify risks. Thirdly, they have to double check the workplace, tools, mechanics as well as personal equipment, for example make sure the lifeline is connected to a secure anchor point. Besides, workers should ensure the workplace is safe before proceeding to work. Even though everything is set, matters in construction sites are ever-changing, therefore the fourth step is to stop working. If one encounters a safety issue beyond his/her scope, just say no, and report to seniors or the corresponding department to get it solved.
Every accident is a hard lesson to the industry for neglecting safety. In order to alert practitioners to avoid repeating mistakes, CIC provides safety guidelines, messages, posters to stakeholders in the industry, in which common accidents, critical control measures, links to video and safety quizzes are shared. CIC hopes to foster a safety culture in the industry, and always remind our fellow workers of the importance of “Life First, Safety First.”
The emergence of construction innovations does not only enhances safety and productivity in construction, but also helps different projects overcome challenges and constraints, while introducing a new chapter for the industry. The Sha Tau Kok Sewage Treatment Plants, located next to the Hong Kong border, has been undergoing expansion works since late 2018 and is expected to be completed by 2025. The plant’s sewage treatment capacity will be increased by 3 times to 5,000 m³ per day, in order to cope with the expected population growth and development of Sha Tau Kok area in the future. Recently, Ir Thomas HO, Chairman of CIC and Ir Albert CHENG, Executive Director of CIC, and Ar Clarence Leung, Member of CIC visited the site of Sha Tau Kok Sewage Treatment Works, to know more about how the project team overcame the limitations of land use and successfully built a safe and effective sewage treatment plant with innovative ideas and technology including Building Information Modelling (BIM), Modular Integrated Construction method (MiC) and Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA).
As the industry is now migrating into the era of Construction 2.0, the Drainage Services Department took proactive steps by integrating the three key pillars of Construction 2.0 into the Sha Tau Kok Sewage Treatment Works project, which are Innovation, Professionalization and Revitalization. According to Ms. Alice Pang, Director of Drainage Services Department, priority has been put on the spirit of mutual trust and cooperation among teams under this project. Binnies Hong Kong Limited and Build King – Kum Shing Joint Venture has been exploring possibilities in adopting various innovative technologies including BIM, off-site construction methodology, DfMA and MiC in which many young engineers were also involved.
The capacity of Sha Tau Kok Sewage Treatment Plants was 1,660 m³/day before the expansion. Effluent was discharged to the sea via a shorter submarine outfall. Since the capacity is expected to be exhausted soon, there is a strong urge to upgrade the sewage treatment capacity and standard. Ms. Alice Pang pointed out that the limited land use and tight schedule have made the construction project extremely challenging. The construction team needed to find ways to build a temporary sewage treatment plant to maintain current sewage treatment services, and at the same time demolish the original facilities to make room for a new plant. In view of this, the team decided that 80% of the project, including the temporary sewage treatment plant and office, should adopt off-site construction methodology. Prefabricated steel components and independent prefabricated building components were assembled in the factories, and then transported to the site for installation. This does not only save construction procedures and manpower on site, but also reduces accidents. Compared to conventional construction methods, off-site construction can definitely improve productivity, safety level, quality and sustainability of the project.
During this project, the sewage treatment capacity will be increased to 5,000 m³/day which is 3 times of the previous capacity. The project team therefore has constructed a larger and longer submarine outfall. Mr. Bryan Hung, Graduate Engineer from Build King – Kum Shing Joint Venture, explained that the team has adopted the land-sea two-way Horizontal Directional Drilling (HDD) method to construct a new submarine outfall with approximately 1.7 km long. Such innovation effectively saves the construction time and scope of work, facilitating in risk management and control in a safe and efficient manner. Construction of the submarine outfall has been successfully completed in the first quarter of 2022.
In order not to intervene the operation of the original sewage treatment service, the team raced against time to get the entire temporary sewage treatment plant completed within 18 months where the 750 m2 construction area involved two major facilities - EQ Tank and Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor Tank (MBBR Tank). Since the equalizing cylinder is 14 meters high, there will be a certain degree of risk if conventional lifting and stacking method are adopted. Therefore, the team made use of DfMA approach to divide the whole tank into 150 pieces of steel panels which were fabricated by laser cutting. They are then connected by thousand sets of bolted joints on site. The team had made a bold move by installing the EQ Tank from top to bottom. Ir Ken Pang, Assistant Resident Engineer from Binnies Hong Kong Limited, explained the construction sequence. They first completed the base of EQ Tank, then the top shell ring section and lastly the top roof. Nine sets of screw jacks were temporarily erected at tank base for lifting the tank ring-sections one by one. It only took 5 minutes to lift one ring-section. No working at height or welding is involved to ensure site safety.
The construction area of the temporary sewage treatment plant is only just as big as 1.5 standard basketball courts. To cope with the daily sewage treatment capacity of 2,500 cubic meters, the project team has adopted a new sewage treatment technology - Moving Bed Biofilm Reactor (MBBR), which can process a larger amount of sewage in a smaller space. The team has applied MiC technology to construct the main facilities of the temporary sewage treatment plant. The water tank is divided into upper, middle and lower rings. Each ring is composed of four sections, where it is surrounded by stainless steel plates looking like wafers. The prefabricated steel plates were delivered to site, and then connected with bolts and nuts. The actual establishment period for each MBBR tank was 10 day and the whole process did not involve welding, which greatly shortened the construction time and enhanced safety level.
CIC actively promotes the adoption of innovative technologies in the industry to improve site safety and productivity. Ir Thomas HO, Chairman of CIC, is greatly impressed by the application of different new technologies at the site of Sha Tau Kok Sewage Treatment Works, he appraised the synergy among project teams and the involvement of young engineers. With the concerted efforts, there has been zero accident on the construction site since the beginning of the project in 2018, setting an excellent example for the industry!
The Construction Industry Council (CIC) has always highly valued the role of research and innovation in the development of the industry. Researchers’ continuous effort in experimenting and data collected from real world experience in collaboration with the industry are equally important in bringing about advancement in construction. CIC is eager to encourage collaboration between institutions and the industry. Recently, CIC Chairman Ir HO On-sing Thomas and CIC member Mrs LO LEE Oi-lin visited the Hong Kong branch of the Chinese National Engineering Research Centre for Steel Construction (CNERC) and its director Ir Prof. CHUNG Kwok-fai (also a CIC member) to discover how research data for high-strength S690 steel was used to enhance construction and welding techniques and improve structural design and seismic performance – and how this knowledge is being applied at the Cross Bay Link at Tseung Kwan O, the first bridge in China to use the steel.
Since 1993, China has led the world in steel production, with annual production currently reaching approximately one billion tonnes. This comprises more than 50% of global production and far surpasses that of the United States and Japan.
China’s steel manufacturing technology has developed rapidly in recent years. In 2015, the State Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China approved the establishment of the CNERC (Hong Kong Branch) to locally promote advances in structural engineering with modern steel construction and assist in promoting high-quality steel structures on the international market.
As well as complying with EU and international standards, high-strength S690 steel also provides thickness options from 6mm to 80mm. Ir Prof. CHUNG points out that S690 steel’s strength and ductility are higher than common steel, with no cracks occurring even when buckled. It is usually used for building ports, mining facilities and other heavy structures. Though the production cost of high-strength steel is 1.3 times greater than for common steel, its load capacity is higher, with only half the amount needed to achieve the same bearing capacity. This effectively reduces the total cost by about one-third.
CIC Chairman Ir HO On-sing Thomas believes that high-strength steel is lighter and easier to transport and handle, which helps reduce the construction period, enhance worker safety, and accelerate the completion of high-quality buildings.
The CIC believes that innovative technologies are only effective when they are actually applied to projects. In the case of high-strength S690 steel, its practical proving ground is the butterfly-like 200-metre, double-arch bridge of the Cross Bay Link at Tseung Kwan O. The project’s contractor is the China Road and Bridge Corporation Hong Kong, and its Chairman is Ir KAN Jun, who is also a member of CIC.
According to Ir KAN, the extraordinary strength of S690 posed its own project challenge: unlike common structural steel which only requires ordinary welding once appropriately connected, the high strength steel requires pre-heating to 120 degrees Celsius before it can be welded. It also must be cooled at a well-controlled rate, with the whole process closely monitored
In another innovation, robots were employed to enhance welding accuracy. Equipped with a laser scanner, the robotic welding system can achieve an accuracy of 1/10mm. The system also improves worker safety and reduces manpower requirements, alleviating the construction industry’s long-term labour shortage.
Components for the entire bridge were made with Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) techniques. Small and light modules were assembled at a Shanghai factory and easily transported to the site in Hong Kong in just eight days.
Overall, the project is a remarkable demonstration of the synergistic effect of innovative technologies in raising the efficiency and productivity of local construction projects.
The CIC has long advocated sustainability and carbon neutrality as primary directions of industry development. In 2019, the CIC introduced the CIC Carbon Assessment Tool as a common platform for the construction industry to evaluate the carbon performance of buildings and infrastructures in Hong Kong from raw material extraction to the end of construction.
Professor CHUNG used the tool to calculate the impacts of a range of steel materials on the carbon footprints of projects and buildings. Citing the steel bridge of the Cross Bay Link as an example, the total weight of the entire bridge built with a combination of high-strength and common steels is 4,400 tonnes lighter than if common steel had been used exclusively. The choice of material for the bridge also reduces its carbon embodiment by 30%, significantly reducing its carbon footprint and giving it a high material efficiency.
At least ten pilot projects – including bridges, leisure and cultural facilities and noise barriers – are set to apply high-strength S690 steel in Hong Kong, preparing the industry for wider application in the future. Just as a hundred temperings make tough steel, repeated training and practice makes for better construction.
Such experience also helps the industry create even stronger and better building materials for the future. The Hong Kong branch of CNERC is currently engaged in related research on S960, hoping to achieve the same strength intensity with less material. Ir HO On-sing Thomas hopes that more local bridge projects will consider applying new building materials. Ir KAN Jun looks forward to the creation of S1200 to expand the limits of design and construction methods for infrastructure projects and subsequently achieve an even wider adoption of high-strength steel in other building projects.
As the technical welding requirements for S690 are particularly demanding, the CIC and the Hong Kong Institute of Construction are considering new technology content for the related welding course curriculum. The proposed welding course will cover relevant professional knowledge, handling and welding techniques, and will further enable the adoption of high-strength steel in Hong Kong.
The CIC will continue to study new building materials and applications as it plans ahead for the continuing industrialisation and digitalisation of the construction industry in Hong Kong.
In the next few years, the total construction output in Hong Kong will continue to grow and there will be a keen demand for manpower in the construction industry. The Construction Industry Council (CIC) has not only proactively increased the training of workers, but also widely promoted the vision of zero accidents in all construction sites such as organising regular silence tributes to reflect on recent fatal accidents and strengthen the safety mindsets of all industry stakeholders.
Mr. CHAN Pai-ming, Jimmy, JP, Director of Highway Department, Ir CHENG Ting-ning, Albert, Executive Director of the CIC, Mr LEE Hang-wing, James, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of Paul Y. Engineering Group Limited and Mr WANG Kei-ming, Joseph, Managing Director of Ming Tai Construction Engineering Co Ltd joined the silent tribute at Hong Kong Institute of Construction (HKIC) Kwai Chung Campus in May and shared their views on recent accidents with students.
Turning a blind eye to the potential risks of construction sites often leads to unfortunate events. The Director of Highways, Mr. CHAN Pai-ming, Jimmy, shared with students that when he was a student, he always believed that accidents would never happen to him, which now he is sure that such mindset was a big mistake. "Every accident has various reasons behind and unexpected factors somehow collide together to cause a tragedy, which makes people regret it." He hoped the students would always put their own safety as the first consideration. "We have to rely on ourselves to pay attention, think one step further, and think carefully about whether the upcomings will pose a danger to us. Always ensure that adequate safety measures are taken."
Mr. Chan believes that compared to the past, the publicity and education on construction safety has been greatly enhanced. In particular, the CIC has successfully raised everyone's awareness by different videos explaining the causes of accidents.
In order to achieve site safety, a concerted effort of contractors, sub-contractors, site personnel, industry stakeholders and the government shall be made. Mr LEE Hang-wing, James, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of Paul Y. Engineering Group Limited emphasised that even though a construction project must involve different stakeholders such as the landlord, the developer, and the contractor, all lives are equal. "If there is any concern about the site environment, the workers must raise it and stop whatever they are working on." The overall industrial accident rate has dropped significantly in the past 20 years, but the number of deaths has remained the same in the past 10 years, which is around 20 cases per year. One single accident is far too many. He believes that with a concerted effort to uphold the principle of Life First, the construction safety will definitely be improved.
As the senior of the students from HKIC, Mr WANG Kei-ming, Joseph, Managing Director of Ming Tai Construction Engineering Co Ltd., gave tips to the students, "First, always keep your feet on the ground. Don't just look down on your phones and pay attention to traps ahead. Impatience can cause wise people to do foolish things; Second, never tread on thin ice. The site is not a place where you can jump and play. Safety is our top priority and you are the one who takes care of your own life.”
By sharing the recent three fatal industrial accidents, the institute instructor reminded the student to always keep the "five safety elements'’ in mind, which are 4M1E: men, machines, materials, methods, and environment". He encouraged the students to learn safety knowledge from experience, and observe the environment carefully in a hope of "Arriving Safe. Working Safe. Going Home Safe." Ir CHENG Ting-ning, Albert, Executive Director of the CIC also wished all students could learn lessons from past accidents, keeping the priceless advice of the guests in mind. After all, safety is everyone's responsibility.
Safety first and foremost, the Construction Industry Council (CIC) aims to enhance safety awareness among the construction industry and raise safety standards on sites. Much headway has been made in the past decade to lower construction accident rate per 1000 workers from 52.1 in 2010 to 26.1 in 2020. Industrial accidents were tragedies in nature, yet we should also take it as a valuable lesson to learn. As we work as one, we grieve as one, CIC encourages the industry to mourn for our late co-workers and be mindful of the creed of “Life First, Safety First.”.
Three fatal accidents happened in April and May, and representatives from different sectors of the industry, including the government, main contractors and subcontractors came together and attended the silent tributes events held in the Hong Kong Institute of Construction (HKIC) in May. Mr. FONG Hok-shing, Michael, Director of Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD), Ir Dr. PANG Yat-bond, Derrick, Chairperson of CIC’s Committee on Construction Safety, Mr. CHU Tat-chi, Managing Director of Hip Hing Construction and Mr. Tsang Ting-fat, Director of Tin Wo Engineering Co. Ltd and Honorary President of Hong Kong Bar-Bending Contractors Association, have visited the Kowloon Bay Campus of HKIC to share their experience and safety messages with students.
The deceased are survived by their families, Mr. Michael FONG reminded students to always think before they act as their safety affects the whole family. He hoped that safety awareness could be rooted in their hearts. “The construction industry is entering a ‘Golden Era’ as huge number of projects are ready to commence, and you will become the backbone of our industry. We have seen good examples to proof that it is not impossible to achieve “Zero Accidents”. I hope the importance of safety can become part of your work DNA, so that you will be able to protect yourselves and your colleagues in the future.” He said.
Ir Dr. Derrick PANG urged students to live out the motto of “Everyone has a role to play in ensuring a safe environment”, he told them “most of the companies care about safety issues, your seniors will definitely follow up as long as you raise your concerns.” He emphasised that management is responsible for conducting risk assessment while frontline workers should understand risks and collaborate with their co-workers on safety issues, and always prioritise safety over work. “You are responsible for yourselves, your families and your colleagues, don’t be selfish when you spot potential risks.” He added.
Accidents are unexpected but avoidable if workers go by the book. Mr. CHU Tat-chi advised students to walk in the shoes of frontline workers and act pre-emptively against risk. “As a management staff, you have to take every aspects into account because accidents does not only affect one life but a family.”
Mr. TSANG Ting-fat has more than 40 years of experience in the industry, he asked students to equip themselves and stay focused on the long-run. “Workers are prone to accidents if they switch jobs frequently which makes it difficult for them to familiarise with the working environments.” He said.
After a moment of silence, the lecturer of Safety Training reviewed the accidents with students, and he advised students to identify potential dangers by “4M1E”, namely Man, Machine, Material, Method and Environment. He suggested students to formulate safety procedures before work commencement, remind frontline workers of safety precautions and inspect regularly with certificated personnel to make sure workplaces are in safe working condition. He advised students to ask and seek help from their seniors as needed in order to avoid putting themselves in danger.
CIC is devoted to enhancing safety awareness among the construction industry, apart from publishing safety guidelines and videos, CIC also organises safety training programmes. All of the three aforementioned accidents were caused by falls from height. In order to prevent accidents involving working at height, CIC has actively promoted the adoption of innovative technologies such as MiC which encourages offsite fabrication. In promoting the “Life First” message, CIC will continue with the multi-pronged approach and work hand-in-hand with the industry.
Apart from constant awareness, implementation of technology at construction sites is another tool to achieve “Life First”. As one of the Construction 2.0 projects spearheaded by the Water Supplies Department, Tseung Kwan O Desalination Plant aims to provide a stable supply of safe fresh water that will not be affected by extreme weather events. In its construction, highly efficient environmental management measures are implemented in conjunction with innovative digital technologies, including the flexible implementation of Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Artificial Intelligence Systems. These measures ensure safety at the construction site and a comprehensive management of site records, work progress and manpower management. In late May, Ir Ricky LAU, Permanent Secretary for Development (Works); Mr. LO Kwok Wah, Kelvin, Director of Water Supplies; Ir Thomas HO, Chairman of the CIC; Ir Albert CHENG, Executive Director of the CIC and Ir Dr. Derrick PANG, Chairperson of Committee on Construction Safety of the CIC visited the TKO Desalination Plant work site to study how the site puts innovative solutions to good use, so as to identify potential risks and implement appropriate safety measures. This visit also kicked off the “Life First” 2022 safety promotion campaign.
Safety measures should be one of the design features since the start of any projects to avoid accidents, the adoption of Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) and BIM can support this requirement. Tseung Kwan O Desalination Plant adopts reverse osmosis (RO) technology, where a desalination membrane removes dissolved salts and impurities from seawater and turns it into drinkable fresh water. In the first quarter of 2022, the first phase of RO building construction was completed - DfMA design were implemented with the production of the major desalination membrane parts in Shanghai. After two rounds of rehearsal, the project team deployed a digitalised lifting appliance management system to transfer the entire desalination block into the Plant. Construction time was significantly reduced and the risk of on-site construction was mitigated.
A Lifting Appliances & Lifting Gears Management System was adopted to manage the project’s vast lifting and logistic works. All parts contain QR codes for showing individual installation information. These simple and minor steps further boost work efficiency, prevents unnecessary misunderstandings, and results in a stronger team. In such a complex application of multiple technologies, Common Data Environment (CDE) is essential. For instance, the project team used the BIM system for construction design that can be used for cross-checking for accuracy through instance integration of the real life conditions with the BIM models. It prevented gaps in interpretation and the need for correction work.
The Desalination Plant has adopted the model of “Design, Build and Operate” as well as a range of smart devices in its construction, including underwater and air drone, smart cameras, Lifting Appliances & Lifting Gears (LALG) Management System, IoT sensors, Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS), People Management System etc. The concept of Safe and Smart Construction Site permeates all work processes, and encourages the team to frequently inspect facilities and the surroundings, while reducing work risks arising from inclement weather (like typhoons and thunderstorms). Immediate reminder can also be issued to workers who does not comply to safety guidelines.
Entering the Plant’s site office building, real time operational statistics and other real-time figures are shown on different monitors, including workers’ attendance, environmental statistics and CCTV images around the site. As a Centralised Safety Platform is used to collate control of the smart devices, monitoring and managing them has become more direct and convenient, when different operating systems are involved. “Safet Smart Site” concept is put into practice and result in a “zero accident” record.
At the Launching Ceremony of the 2022 Life First campaign, Ir Ricky LAU, explained his strong belief that workers’ are paid for their hard work, not their lives. Stakeholders should uphold the safety mantra of “everyone is responsible” in their work, and stress their own safety and by extension, the safety of everyone around them at all times to ensure the sustainable development of the industry.
Ir Thomas HO encouraged owners, consultant agencies, contractors and developers to undertake safety and risk assessments since the initial stages of a project. For example, a contractor should remind subcontractors and workers the wind direction and supply proper safety gear. Workers should be on high alert at all times and “say no to danger”. With the awareness of responsibilities to be borne by the stakeholders in the industry, construction works and site safety will surely be a smooth sea to sail.
The project team does not only apply technology in Design, Build & Operate, a Safety Training Centre and a VR Safety Experience Zone are set up for a 1-hour compulsory training and quiz to all newly employed workers. The Centre provides a number of VR safety experience stations and training, including equipment usage, first aid practice, safety helmet impact trial, fire suppression trial etc. These trainings actualise the safety concept and put forward the experiential learning experiences. As a result, it enhances the training effect. Ir Ricky Lau and Ir Thomas Ho had a run on the safety helmet impact trial. Though seemingly a simple step, all frontline workers are clearly reminded of the importance of properly wearing the helmet and prevention of serious accidents. "Life First" is reinforced and implemented at the site.
We are seeing more and more skyscrapers in Hong Kong as the demand for land grows. Elevators are the main axis of buildings. As our buildings grow taller, the importance of elevators to buildings also increases, so as the advancement in elevator installation technology. Ir Ho On-sing, Thomas, Chairman of the Construction Industry Council and Mr. Chan Kim-kwong, Council Member visited the construction site of Two Taikoo Place, which was part of the "Taikoo Place Redevelopment Project". The visit showcased technologies adopted in the installation of elevators, the use of various robotics technologies in the construction site and discuss how to lead the industry to go forward and create a safer environment.
Jardine Schindler Group handles the installation of elevator in Two Taikoo Place and the Scaffoldless Lift Installation Method (SLIM) is used. SLIM technology allows engineers to install elevator rails in the lift well without the need for scaffolding. By building an extension platform in front of the elevator door on specific floors, hoisting ropes and hoisting beam can be installed directly. Together with the gondola that has been pre-installed at the lift pit, the guide rail, guide rail bracket and landing door are installed in sections until it reaches the motor room in the top storey.
With the assistance of another contractor, Hip Hing, project team lifted the large pre-assembled motor section to the top floor for installation, which is faster and safer than traditional installation methods. A total of 11 high-speed elevators in the project adopted SLIM technology to save time for the installing and dismantling of scaffolding for such 200-meter-high building, which in turns improved productivity, efficiency and reduced risk. Jardine Schindler Group also adopted the Cast in Channel method which does not need to drill holes like the traditional installation method. Workers only need to pull off the rubber strip and then drill, which can greatly reduce the noise and dust during the installation of the shaft.
Mr Elton Chan, Chief Executive Officer of Jardine Schindler Group, believes that machinery and advanced construction technology can help us achieve zero accidents at site. During the visit, he introduced the Robotic Installation System for Elevators (R.I.S.E.) that will be used for the first time in another project in Hong Kong. The R.I.S.E. robot can move along the guide rail, and drill holes and install fixing bolts while scanning the wall. The use of robots in the elevator installation process can greatly improve productivity and shorten construction time, reduce risks and time needed for working in the lift well, so that project efficiency increases by at least 30%.
Mr. Law Ho-kwan, Senior Project Manager of Hip Hing Construction Co., Ltd. pointed out that management should identify tasks with relatively high risk in the project, and find ways to adopt technology for such tasks so as to protect workers from potential hazards and enjoy a more accurate output.
Two Taikoo Place construction site adopts Multi-trade Integrated MEP (MiMEP), pre-assembled drive motor, beams and floor slabs are lifted to the roof for assembly with the main building, so that decoration can be completed before the completion of elevator motor room which simplifies the motor installation. About 70% MEP installation adopted MiMEP to avoid on-site installation and reduce construction site waste, and improves quality control, setting up a good reference for similar projects in the future.
In addition, in order to protect the safety of frontline workers, the contractor applied innovative technology and arranged smart safety helmets with headlights and temperature and heartbeat sensors for workers. The safety helmet is connected to the building information model to monitor the condition and location of workers from multiple angles real-time. The system sends out alert when abnormality is detected through the Internet of Things (IoT) network, which enhances the communication and emergency management in the construction site while ensuring workers’ safety.
Ms. Eliza WONG, General Manager, Projects (Hong Kong & South East Asia) of Swire Properties Limited shared that all stakeholders in the industry including developers, contractors or service providers should work together to improve efficiency and site safety. Through enhanced communication, the entire construction process can be pre-planned before project commencement, and project team can explore the possibility of using innovative technologies with contractors and consultants. The Two Taikoo Place project showcased the importance of using Building Information Modelling (BIM) in engineering to improve the efficiency of the entire supply chain from design and construction to operation, strengthen communication and collaboration between different roles, and simplify construction processes. Efforts spent on design and construction will benefit the building’s operations for decades.
The project team collaborated with a number of local start-up companies in this project in the adoption of 3D scanning technology in the lift well to inspect construction quality of the lift well during construction and identify potential problems. Engineers can control the exterior wall cleaning robot remotely to test the facade like a pilot, avoiding the risk of working at height.
Self-cleaning and anti-virus coating newly developed by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University was also adopted in the project. The technology used three-dimensional scanning to customise the printing area, and prints the coating within two days. The coating was applied on frequently touched common surfaces such as drinking fountains, entrance gate etc., to support the construction site in fighting the epidemic.
Thanks to the efforts of the R&D team to bring advancement in construction technology. Through real-life application and overcoming challenges in the industry, it proves the possibility of innovative technology on construction safety and productivity.
CIC Council Member Mr. Chan Kim-kwong said that the industry’s support to the adoption of new technology safeguards the lives of workers. In order to promote and encourage the application of innovation and technology, the CIC established the Construction Industry Innovation and Technology Fund (CITF) in 2018, with the aim of promoting construction productivity, boosting construction quality, improving site safety and enhancing environmental protection. Applicants can apply for funding for construction technology application or technical personnel training. As of April 2022, the fund has approved subsidy of more than HK$600million for more than 2,400 applications.
Whether it is construction site safety or the application of construction technology, as long as everyone is willing to take the first step, infinite possibilities will follow, builds a brighter future for the construction industry.
Traffic congestion is one of the major urban problems in Kowloon. In order to alleviate the traffic jams, the Central Kowloon Route (CKR) highway project was commenced in 2017. The new road network links Yau Ma Tei Interchange of West Kowloon with Kai Tak Development Area of East Kowloon, forming a trunk road across central Kowloon. The scale of the construction is unprecedented but the project team rose to the challenges by adopting various innovative construction methods. Ir Thomas Ho On-sing, Chairman of the CIC, Ir Albert Cheng Ting-ning, Executive Director, together with Ir Victor Cheung Chi-kong, Council Member, visited the Community Liaison Centre of CKR and Ho Man Tin shaft under Central Kowloon Route – Central Tunnel (CKR-CT) in late May to better understand the construction operations and how the team achieve productivity enhancement, sustainability and improvement in construction safety.
CKR with a total length of about 4.7km comprises flyovers, tunnels and roads. CKR passes through the busy downtowns and hotspots of Kowloon. The construction of CKR is complicated as it involves construction works like demolition of buildings and temporary reclamations and is being constructed under eight contracts. With challenges ahead, it is a must to employ new technologies. “It’s like a leap in the dark. I encouraged my team to try out technologies even though they are new to us. If it works on a small scale, we can thus apply them on a larger scale.” Said Ir Luk Wai Hung, Project Manager of the Highways Department Major Works Project Management Office. While Ir Wes Jones, Managing Director of Dragages Hong Kong and representative of the contractor of CKR-CT, Bouygues Travaux Publics, stressed on the importance of data as he said that data analysis and integration is the future of the industry.
The construction industry has implemented the “Construction 2.0” scheme which advocates “Innovation”, “Professionalisation” and “Revitalisation”, aiming to uplift the productivity and sustainability of the industry. The CKR project team has successfully put “innovation” into practice by introducing an “integrated Digital Works Supervision System (Dwss)” and “Smart Site Management Hub (SSMH)”. The team integrated data from six different ongoing CKR contracts into one single platform, this “6-in1” management approach provides a holistic overview for project team management, hence improving efficiency and safety performance. The “Smart Site Management Hub” functions in four major aspects, namely the Automatic Movement/ Settlement Monitoring System, AI CCTV Monitoring, Worker Management System and Other IoT Devices. The team plans to introduce a Progress Monitoring System in the near future to allow management to grasp the latest construction progress and related information.
CKR includes a 3.9km long tunnel, the adverse working environment in the tunnel such as confined space and risk of collapse has added difficulties to the project. Besides, the tunnel passes through seven MTR lines and seven fault zones, adding complexity to the project. To overcome the technical challenges, Building Information Modelling (BIM) is adopted to generate three-dimensional models by digital representation to assist the project team in making accurate judgments and performs a variety of analysis to enhance construction quality.
Tunnel construction relied heavily on manual handling in the past that would inevitably put frontline workers at risk. With the missions to enhance safety performance and improve efficiency, the CKR project team has pursued alternative construction methods by replacing manual labour with the help of machinery. The Automatic Canopy Installation System introduced in the CKR project is the first-ever application in Hong Kong, this system enables the canopy tubes to be installed in a fully mechanised way by using remote controlled operation. Meanwhile, it protects workers by reducing time exposing to the risk of working at height and enhances the productivity.
In conventional practice, tunnel lining formwork demands skilled manual labour works as it requires workers to work extended hours at height. To minimise the risks and wastage of timber panels, the CKR team installed a mechanised lining shutter that consisted of a remote -controlled hydraulic metal formwork, achieving lining of high quality and hence lower the requirement for skilled labour. The team is developing a Concrete Pressure Sensor at present to allow the team to monitor the concrete pressure in real-time so as to ensure site safety and quality.
The use of heavy vehicles is common in sites, workers around are prone to accident from reverse parking, therefore the team has installed Blaxtair, the Artificial Intelligence Cameras at the back of wheeled vehicles to assist drivers in the tunnel. The dual lens of the camera enable depth perception and differentiate humans from other objects. If a worker walks past the back of the truck, the alarm will sound and flashing signals will appear on screen to alert the driver. Chairman Thomas Ho appreciated the way AI contributes to improve safety, and he suggested that our society has to nurture new talents to foster technological breakthroughs.
CKR is an epoch-making construction project, from the public's point of view, it helps ease traffic problems and improves citizens’ quality of living. From the construction industry’s point of view, the project team embraces new technologies and demonstrates how to design for safety, productivity and sustainability. This project has put ‘STEM’ into real practice and it serves as an example to inspire the next generation of the industry.
Hong Kong’s construction expenditure remains high in the coming decade, however we shall not be satisfied with the status quo but to seek reformations as the development of the industry is challenged by lack of new blood and construction safety issues. Ir HO On-sing, Thomas, Chairman of the CIC, Ir CHENG Ting-ning, Albert, Executive Director, together with Council Members Sr HO Kwok-kwan, Thomas and Mrs. LO LEE Oi-lin visited the newly completed Advanced Manufacturing Centre (AMC) at Tseung Kwan O INNOPARK in early June. The design and construction of AMC has combined the concept of “Industry 4.0” and “Construction 2.0”, methods like “Design for Manufacture and Assembly(DfMA)”, Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Multi-trade integrated Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MiMEP) were introduced to enhance construction’s productivity, sustainability and safety performance.
The Government has been actively promoting reindustrialisation in recent years with a hope to integrate manufacturing experience and the power of innovative technologies to stimulate industrial development. Constructed by Gammon Construction Limited, AMC was unveiled in April. The 8-storey building block provides 1.1million feet square of space, facilities includes multi-stories of high standard industrial production area, car park in the basement, Communal Warehouse and Distribution Centre etc. AMC is an advanced manufacturing base equipped with Asia's first multi-industry, automated and intelligent logistics services, which offers one-stop support for advanced manufacturing enterprises of all sizes. It is designed to unlock the potential of high-end manufacturing and help Innofacturers accelerate their local R&D and production process.”
AMC has a vision to upgrade enterprises to “Industry 4.0” while during the construction stage, the project exemplifies the essences of “Construction 2.0”, namely Innovation, Professionalisation and Revitalisation. Offsite prefabrication is becoming a global trend nowadays, AMC’s project team has applied DfMA principles in different aspects, 75% of the structural steel works and Mechanical, electrical, and plumbing works (MEP) have adopted DfMA approach. The construction of the link bridge between AMC and the Data Technology Hub situated on the opposite side of the road involved the assembly of 3 structural modules, with the heaviest module weighing 67 tons. The project team made use of the geographical advantage of AMC to deliver the modules by sea, it only took 2 nights to complete the installation process which greatly uplift the efficiency and minimise the adverse impact to the surrounding area.
In terms of superstructure works, AMC project team replaced flat slab by precast double tee, which could reduce in situ formwork and falsework, and prevent workers from working extended hours at height. Besides, as modules were precast in offsite factories, it optimises resources allocation and helps lessen 60% of in situ concrete volume. In comparison with the conventional way of construction, DfMA approaches helped save approximately 460 tons of carbon dioxide emission, which is equivalent to the carbon emission of 477 aircraft trips from Hong Kong to the USA.
For electrical and mechanical works, more than 5,000 modules, including water pipes and ducts were used in the AMC project. Apart from manufacturing modules in mainland factories, the project team had also set up a flying factory in another part of Tseung Kwan O INNOPARK. With a total area of 2,790m2, this flying factory mainly focuses on producing pump modules, and the Smoke Extraction System (SES) Fan Room was also assembled there. Compared to working at construction sites, the controlled environment in the flying factory has created a safer workplace for workers. As workers’ safety is always the prime concern, the project team has explored different innovative methods to assist the modules installation process. A patented “Synchronised Tailor-Made Lifting Platform” was developed to install the air ducts. The team has also developed a delivery system to help deliver and install the pipe header modules, manual lifting and working at height could thus be reduced.
Behind the successes of innovative construction methods, the contributions of BIM cannot be neglected. AMC project team extensively applied digitalisation in construction, BIM was employed to simulate the installation process of double tee. The simulation helped identifying high risk zones in advance, and validated truck swept paths to all unloading zones to ensure a smooth and safe logistic arrangements. “GAMBOT A.I. Algorithms Sequencing” was also used to optimise the construction sequence of installing precast double tee with the use of tower cranes. The team introduced the use of different Apps to raise efficiency, for example an Augmented Reality (AR) mobile app that can navigate BIM modes on smartphones and tablets, helping frontline to visualise final placement of installation. “Integrated Digital Project Delivery (IDPD)” was developed to integrate construction datas, through presenting information such as submission status and attendance record in the form of a dashboard, the team can hence understand the latest progress of the project.
Skilled labour shortages and ageing workforce have casted a shadow on the development of the construction industry, while the AMC project has illustrated that the use of innovative technologies could be a way out. The average age of MEP workers of the AMC project is 43 years old, significantly younger than Hong Kong’s average of 50.1. In addition, nearly 20% of the AMC team members are female, breaking the barriers of the male-dominated industry. As Sammy Lai, Director – Building of Gammon Construction Limited explained, the AMC project team replaced many high skill manual works with precast modules, thus on one hand lowered the requirement of workers’ skills levels, on the other hand it also served to enhance safety performance. Besides, improvements in the working environment, the team’s open-minded attitudes towards new technologies and the extensive application of digitalisation could also attract new talents to join the industry.
Experience tells us that whatever a project's scale, innovative technology can enhance productivity, improve safety, reduce construction time and boost efficiency. During a recent visit to Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC), Ir Thomas HO, Chairman of the Construction Industry Council (CIC), and CIC member Mrs LO LEE Oi-lin, gained insights to new technologies jointly developed by the HKPC and the construction industry. They also discovered how Hong Kong Polytechnic University and local construction materials suppliers have applied the results of scientific research to construction projects. It seems the industrialisation of construction has taken a significant step forward!
The advanced technologies of Construction 4.0 help to improve the overall quality of construction work. As a pioneering force, the CIC has been motivating the industry to adopt innovative technologies to improve on-site productivity and safety. Recently, some construction sites have worked with the HKPC to study and apply an intelligent Environmental Monitoring System based on IoT technology. The system uses on-site sensors to collect data such as temperature, humidity and PM 2.5 concentration. If a deterioration of air quality is detected, it activates water-spray fans to eliminate airborne dust and protect workers from health hazards. The related data from the system is also displayed on an outdoor screen so that workers can monitor overall conditions in real time. If conditions worsen, the site manager can let the workers take a break or move to another location. Ir Thomas HO points out that similar systems have been demonstrated at the CIC’s iHUB, which promotes industry understanding of advanced technologies. The CIC hopes that such sharing of information will benefit more industry stakeholders and encourage them to enhance their skills and technologies and think ‘beyond the box’ to develop new uses for existing technologies.
The CIC’s scientific research department has been diversifying its studies on enhancing productivity and has partnered with organisations including the HKPC for projects such as developing a new automated switch concrete bucket. Usually, tremendous manual strength is needed to control a conventional concrete bucket, and workers are easily injured. The new automated switch concrete bucket enables remote control of concrete delivery, increasing worker safety. The CIC and the HKPC have also studied the capacity of concrete buckets and suggested increasing the size of a regular concrete bucket from 2 to 2.5 metres. This increase of capacity will reduce the cost of a single delivery of concrete as well as construction time and energy consumption.
In the past, construction projects used a traditional sieve for measuring gravel size. As this required manual processing, the operation was very time-consuming. Using the latest high-speed imaging CCTV and AI technology, new sieving equipment instantly captures three-dimensional images of the gravel and calculates its length, width and depth. With this referential information, workers can save time to focus on other work and improve efficiency.
In the past few years, an increasing number of construction projects have employed drones to conduct aerial surveys. Recently this technology took another step forward: According to the HKPC, the Trunk Road T2 project used the world's first tunnel inspection system based on drones and on-board AI processing technologies, enabling the project team to detect cracks, spalling and leaks in concrete. AI technology also helped the drones to avoid obstacles automatically in flight. In addition, the use of drones significantly reduced overhead work, subsequently minimising the risk of industrial accidents. The CIC looks forward to future collaboration with HKPC. For example, drones with AI can be used for basic construction site inspections and reporting the status of work in progress. Such data can be added to the Building Information Modelling (BIM), which is complemented by the BIM Harmonisation Guideline and 2D and 3D programmes to provide engineers and the management team with a clear overview of status for setting relevant standards. After projects are completed, the data can be shared with the whole industry for raising overall efficiency and enhancing construction safety.
Scientific research is the catalyst for construction industrialisation, with ‘industrialisation’ involving technological intensity, automation and the development of intelligent applications. The CIC has been committed to driving the use of Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) and Multi-trade Integrated Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MiMEP), encouraging the industry to transfer portions of construction processes to factories while striving for high manufacturing quality regardless of scale. For example, Wo Lee Group, whose main business encompasses design, processing and welding services with imported steel, has set up a machinery and automated production line at Ping Che, Fanling. This facility is introducing multi-functional robot arms for welding prefabricated units to replace traditional welding processes at construction sites. Such adoptions of industrialisation subsequently improve worker safety and alleviate manpower shortages, and even land shortages.
Recently, Wo Lee Group and The Hong Kong Polytechnic University applied MiMEP to co-design a frame structure for the installation of electric motors, pump rooms, water pipes and air conditioners. According to the research team, the design focused on modularising the frame structure by integrating 200 units of different sizes and lengths into several basic modules. During the process, the university's research team collected data and tested repeatedly to ensure that the frame structure had sufficient load capacity to meet a variety of project needs, allowing for increased efficiency and productivity. Aiming to widen the research results’ usability and facilitate future maintenance needs, the team specially designed a wider frame structure with increased space for maintenance workers. The design has currently been applied in eight projects, including TaiKoo Place, Cheung Kong Center Phase II and Hong Kong International Airport. We hope the design will be more widely adopted in the future.
The CIC firmly believes that Modular Integrated Construction (MiC), Multi-trade Integrated Mechanical, Electrical and Plumbing (MiMEP) and Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) will comprise the major directions of construction industry development. The CIC’s iHUB has already showcased many relevant examples. The CIC will continue to drive the development of technology and industrialisation through the use of MiC, MiMEP and DfMA, creating infinite possibilities for future construction and the building of Hong Kong into a smart city.
Construction Industry Council has been advocating the adoption of Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) in recent years and is pleased to see more MiC buildings have been completed since 2021. In just a few years, CIC is delighted to witness another breakthrough – Not only the active adoption of MiC by Housing Bureau to expedite housing development, the Hong Kong Housing Society (HKHS), in its role as “housing laboratory”, also takes the lead in adopting MiC in various projects, propelling the industry forward in housing projects.
HKHS is undertaking seven MiC projects involving over 8,200 MiC units, including precast concrete and steel modules, prefabricated bathroom and kitchen. In recent, Ir Thomas Ho On-sing, Chairman of the CIC and Ir Albert Cheng Ting-ning, Executive Director visited HKHS’s Hung Shui Kiu Phase IA (HSK IA) Dedicated Rehousing Project MiC Modules Mockup, the first-ever subsidised sale development constructed with MiC technology.
HSK IA occupies 21,815 m² of construction floor area, of which 25 storeys adopting MiC technology, providing 300 one to three-bedroom units of about 367 to 621 square feet each. In addition to one basement floors and two platform floors, each storey is formed by 49 modules with a total of 1,225 modules in the entire MiC project. Different from other MiC projects completed, this project pioneered in the installation of balcony as the assembly and waterproof test of the balconies were completed in the factory. Bolts were also pre-installed in the modules to prevent the risk of water leakage. The project team overcame hurdles in designing and manufacturing the modules and achieved the goal of providing enjoyable apartments for its residents. Ir Thomas HO was much impressed by the design as it sets a good example to private projects.
With its standardised feature, the mode of manufacturing MiC modules not only enhance cost effectiveness but also productivity and quality in the long run. The entire HSK IA project used only 13 types of modules and sets a successful precedent for the other phases of the project as well as the industry. At the early stage of the project, the team thoroughly considered the design and planning to ensure the installation methods are in line with the practice of private projects. As shown in the mockup, cables and water pipes are mounted inside the wall safely, cabinetries, sanitary appliances and finishing process are also prefabricated in the factory before delivery, which helped better quality control and reduced construction waste and carbon footprint.
Safety is always the first priority of CIC. Yau Lee Construction Company Limited brought in a number of innovative technologies to the HSK IA project to ensure safety. For instance, the project team applied Ultra Wide Band technology while lifting modules and sensors will set off the alarm if there are workers within 6 meters to remind them to leave the danger zone. The team also employs 5G MobiScanning robots to carry out laser scanning work. Engineers can control the robots remotely in office, and the robot will stop automatically if they encounter obstacles which reduces on-site risks, at the same time, assures quality.
CIC has been promoting the integration of Industry 4.0 and Construction 2.0, which aims to achieve digitalization, innovation and sustainability in the construction industry. The Dedicated Rehousing Estate in Hung Shui Kiu consists of five phases. It is great to see all phases adopt Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Internet of Things (IoT). Environment data will be used in the BIM model to evaluate the impact on environment, thereby help monitor the external appearance of each building and enhance construction safety. For digitalisation, HSK IA project was designed by 3D clash analysis. 4D elements was also deployed to predict buildability. When the team proceeds to off-site fabrication and logistic, BIM serves as an integrated management platform, providing real-time updates on construction status. All data protected by blockchain security can be viewed on a dashboard for tracking project progress.
The HKHS is planning and developing 25 projects, of which 14 projects are under construction, with 12,000 units set to be completed on or before 2028. With the adoption of advanced technology that helps to shorten the construction period by 4 months, HKHS expected the HSK IA project to be completed within 24 months and delivered in 2024.
CIC is devoted to encouraging the adoption of new technology or design like MiC, BIM and Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA), as well as trainings and exhibitions, to help improve construction efficiency and quality. For example, we recently launched the first Master Class on Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) Project Implementation (Project Managers) for experienced industry practitioners to maintain their competitive edge in the era of construction 2.0. As Government’s goal to boost the supply of public housing with ten of thousands units to be delivered every year. . With the advanced technology and joint efforts of the industry, we could definitely achieve the objective of raising "speed, efficiency and volume" in housing development.
“The Midas Touch” describes someone capable of making a silk purse out of a sow's ear. In the construction industry, bar-bending provides opportunities for the Midas Touch too. Working as a bar bender and fixer can earn an ideal income for anyone willing to work hard. Also, the next decade will be the golden era for the construction industry in Hong Kong and it is the best time to join the industry. Ir HO On-sing, Thomas, Chairman of the Construction Industry Council (CIC), together with Mr. CHAN Lok-chai and Mr. TSANG Ting-fat, Honourary Chairmen of Hong Kong Bar-Bending Contractors Association (BBCA), Mr. WONG Siu-ming, Chairman of BBCA and more than 60 representatives from BBCA attended the Graduates Sharing Session for the first batch of graduates of the Diploma in Construction (Bar Bending & Fixing) course. The course was sponsored by the Hong Kong Bar-Bending Contractors Association. Students and parents who have enrolled in the upcoming course, trainers and programme supervisors also joined the sharing session to share the joy of the graduates.
Ir Thomas HO mentioned that the government will continue to invest in infrastructure and launch large scale projects and new plans every year. The total construction output is expected to increase to HK$300 billion. This leads to an increase in demand for knowledge-based skilled technical personnel. The CIC is delighted that the Hong Kong Bar-Bending Contractors Association sponsored the programme and that students will be able to receive allowance and sponsorship of a total of HKD7,200 monthly. After graduating from the programme, monthly salary of a bar bender and fixer can reach HKD30,000. The Hong Kong Bar-Bending Contractors Association has set an example for other trade associations as it helps to attract more young people to join the construction industry.
The CIC and the Hong Kong Institute of Construction (HKIC) are committed to nurturing professional talents for the industry and continuously reform the curriculum. The curriculum reform introduced various innovative construction technology knowhow to the programme. Topics include Building Information Modelling (BIM), Internet of Things (IoT) and automatic bar-bender and fixer. By raising students’ interest in the subject matter, it also nurtures their technological competencies, which would come in handy when they help build our smart city in the future. The programme is certified by the qualification framework and provides a pathway for progression. Apart from the professional diploma provided by the Institute, the first batch graduates can choose to further their education to undergraduate programmes. This also builds a foundation for students for their promotion to project manager and project supervisor in the future. Mr. CHAN Lok Chai encouraged graduates that bar-bending industry is a profession that requires solid knowledge and theory foundation. He looked forward to seeing graduates become bar-bender and fixer with bachelor degree and contribute to the industry.
Chairman Thomas HO encouraged students to be bold to be innovative. He shared that he joined an engineering company as an intern after he graduated from the Hong Kong Polytechnic (currently The Hong Kong Polytechnic University). He continued his self-learning and learnt bar-bending from master craftsmen. His attitude soon gained him appreciation from his supervisor and promoted him to be the site manager. Ir Thomas HO also shared his experience from the Lung Hang Estate project and his success in adopting tower crane technology in his first trial. He encouraged students that their courage to ask questions will help build a bright future for them.
Mr. CHAN Lok-chai said the students were lucky as they are offered job opportunities at BBCA’s member companies right after graduation. He has high expectation of the students and trust that they can work hard to build themselves a bright future. Bar-bending and fixing jobs require more professional and industry-specific knowledge then other trades. Bar bender and fixer need to comparmentalise architectural drawings prepared by engineers and realise the drawing step by step like building breaks. Numerous opportunities for development are present in the bar bending and fixing trade. Being a knowledge-based management personnel, they need to understand basic bar bending techniques. Being hardworking, humble and willing to contribute are the key to success.
Technical Instructor Mr. TSANG Chun-wah, and graduates Mr. TONG Ho-wai and Mr LEUNG Wai-hung, also shared their reflections from the course. Mr. TONG wished to learn professional skills after graduating from secondary school so he enrolled to this free programme offered by HKIC. He is also attracted by the allowance provided to students. Mr. Leung is willing to take harsh jobs and hoped to learn a professional skill while he is still young. He find the salary of bar bender and fixer attractive so he enrolled to the programme. Both of them agreed that the knowledge of latest technologies such as BIM earned during the course can equip themselves for their continuous education and career. Instructor Mr. TSANG said he also learnt together with the students. Apart from bar bending skills, students also received whole-person development training such as volunteering services and sports training. This helped students better understand themselves, equip them with problem solving skills and unleash their potential. He also encouraged the students to be “persistent and patient”.
The CIC looks forward to graduates’ good performance. Apart from continuing their education, they are also welcomed to visit HKIC to share experiences with young students, pass on their craftsmanship and drive the development of the construction industry.
Construction and medical services may seem unrelated, yet both are people-oriented professions that share a ‘life first’ commitment. Recently, Ir HO On-sing, Thomas, Chairman of the Construction Industry Council (CIC), Ar. Marvin CHEN, Member of CIC, and Mr. TSE Cheong-wo, Edward, Director of Architectural Services, visited the Phase 1 Redevelopment of Queen Mary Hospital site to learn how the project team used innovative technology to enhance productivity, shorten the construction period, and improve workers’ well-being. They also discovered how on-site safety training became more effective with the application of new techniques.
Since 2018, it has been a requirement for all major capital projects costing $30 million or more to be designed and built with Building Information Modelling (BIM). The Phase 1 Redevelopment of Queen Mary Hospital, which commenced in 2018, was the first such project to be undertaken. The BIM model enables the project team to accurately forecast project details and their respective locations, and precisely determine every aspect of the building process.
In addition to BIM, the project adopted other innovative technologies to create a smart construction site. According to the project team, the most important is the Common Data Environment (CDE), which allows centralised processing of all data. With CDE, Queen Mary Hospital’s Monitoring system, managed by the Care & Control Centre, provides complete information on all construction areas as well as an overview of their status. For example, the system provides on-screen real-time monitoring of tower crane lifting operations and will trigger an alarm should workers enter a ‘danger zone’, enabling engineers to follow up and resolve emergency situations. By such means, the system keeps Care and Control Centre staff fully informed of every aspect of the site’s status in real time.
Every construction procedure at the Queen Mary Hospital site is assessed for its environmental impact to ensure that services at the adjacent operational hospital will not be affected. The CIC has always emphasised that construction safety is everyone’s responsibility; but the redevelopment contractors Paul Y. Engineering and
Able Engineering have taken this a step further by requiring more than just safety officers to take responsibility for on-site safety. Workers use monitoring system to plan the next day’s work, pinpoint potential areas of risk, and devise measures to prevent accidents. Through the system, management staff can also view all on-site work procedures of the day, enabling them to check workers’ respective task arrangements and the possible construction risks side-by-side. After tasks are completed, frontline staff will inspect and photograph the relevant locations to ensure safety before starting the next process. Work can therefore be completed in a clear step-by-step fashion.
The Queen Mary Hospital project entails the demolition of the old Clinical Pathology, University Pathology and Housemen Quarters buildings, and construction of a new block and access point. Pok Fu Lam’s narrow hillside roads add to the project’s challenges, as does the possible presence of unexploded wartime bombs under the site. As a result, every construction step requires extra care. For example, levelling work on the site needed to be accomplished without affecting the hospital’s sensitive robotic surgical system. With traditional explosives ruled out, the project team instead used aluminum powder to generate high-pressure heat for ‘blasting’. This method delivered the same rock-shattering results as explosives while reducing vibration by half. The use of a fogging system to suppress dust minimised the environmental impact of levelling work yet further. As the site has a record of groundwater flooding, the engineers also installed IoT sensors to constantly monitor water levels and alert workers to carry out regular sludge treatments.
As electric-powered equipment is now common at construction sites, a large number of batteries require recharging every day, creating another source of potential risk. In response, the project team at the Queen Mary Hospital site restricts all recharging to fire-resistant stations equipped with air conditioning and firefighting equipment. Smart locks were installed on the site’s distribution boards so that power switches may only be activated by designated and registered electrical workers.
Workers A variety of building technology and safety measures are used to keep frontline workers informed of areas of special attention on a daily basis so as to raise their safety awareness. The project team used BIM to create a 4D animation of the actual site environment, and integrated the model into the VR CAVE. Workers walked
through this immersive environment to gain a greater understanding of potential site risks. This has greatly enhanced the effectiveness of safety training. Another thoughtful initiative was the installation of a dispenser to provide workers with hot, cold and even sparkling water. This extra amenity allows workers to chill out during breaktimes.
During the pandemic, the Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) method aided in the swift completion of a number of Hong Kong’s community isolation facilities. MiC was also adopted for the Queen Mary Hospital project, with new features such as the two-level negative pressure isolation wards and the positive pressure bathroom beneath them being prefabricated at a factory. Other building features such as toilets and even some core areas and staircases were also prefabricated, ensuring building quality while accelerating construction.
Ar Edward TSE Cheong-wo, Director of Architectural Services, explained that when the project commenced, many of the technologies used were still new to the construction industry. He appreciated the project team’s and leadership’s courage and resourcefulness in overcoming the challenges of implementing such innovations. While the project has already won several safety awards, he encouraged the team to keep up the good work and set ‘zero accidents’ as target. Ir Thomas HO, Chairman of the CIC, also thanked the project team for their efforts, and remarked that the project’s applications of innovative technologies not only enhanced safety, but also may reduce the project duration. He stated his belief that future projects would take this as an example for their own applications of new technologies. He hoped that continuous innovation would raise Hong Kong’s competitiveness and ability to cope with the forecasted hundreds of billions dollars of annual construction output, leading the industry to excellence.
The Tung Chung New Town Extension(TCNTE) project is currently underway and it will create more than 130 hectares of land through reclamation. Ir CHENG Ting-ning, Albert, Executive Director of the Construction Industry Council, together with CIC’s staffs visited the TCNTE reclamation site in early July, to get a better understanding on how the project teams employed different technologies to balance conservations and developments, and using digital management methods to uplift productivity and safety standard. TCNTE is the first new town project via reclamation since 2003. The project covers the areas on the eastern and western flanks of the existing Tung Chung New Town. It will provide approximately 62,100 residential flats for a population of about 184,000. It will also provide about more than 877,000 square metres of gross floor area for office, retail and hotel use, hence creating 40,000 employment opportunities. The reclamation works for about 130 ha of land were commenced at the end of December 2017. The project is making good progress and is expected to finish in 2023. The first two parcels of land formed by reclamation were handed over to the Housing Department in March and October 2020 for the development of public housing units. Since then, more parcels of land were delivered for the purposes of housing, commercial and integrated development.
There is always a debate on the coexistence of development and conservation, while the TCNTE project team has adopted advanced environmental-friendly technologies to ensure that balance can be striked. Different from the traditional method of dredging or removing the marine mud which would easily cause pollution, the TCNTE project team employed the non-dredged “Deep Cement Mixing” (DCM) method, which involves the inection of cement slurry from mixing shafts on the works vessel into marine mud, mixing them with the soft marine mud while rotating. The marine mud will then be solidified to form a strong cement mixing column, which will form a DCM treatment zone in the seabed to support the seawall to be constructed above. Compared to the conventional method, the use of DCM is able to lessen the impact of reclamation on water quality and marine ecology nearby, and carbon emission is also reduced as no sea transport is required for dumping the marine mud.
In order to mimic the physical properties of the natural inter-tidal zone, the TCNTE project team will set up three types of eco-shorelines of total length about 3.8km along the new shoreline, namely mangrove eco-shoreline, rocky eco-shoreline and vertical eco-shoreline. In common practice, artificial shorelines mainly consist of vertical seawalls or rubble mound seawalls, which are not suitable for organic matters and micro-organisms to attach and grow, whereas the eco-shorelines will provide favourable conditions to improve biodiversity. During the visit, representatives from CIC took a boat trip to the trial site at Siu Ho Wan, where the TCNTE project team gathers data and information to refine the eco-shoreline design. Up till now, more than 20 species, including Lunella coronata granulata, Uca acuta and Periophthalmus modestus, are found to have settled on the eco-shorelines.
The TCNTE project is expanding on a massive scale with more than 800 workers working on different frontlines, it is a must to employ innovative technologies to assist in management. An Innovation Hub called “InnoTCE” was set up as a result. The team utilised the Digital Twin technology to collect and consolidate different construction data and records through IoT sensors. These data and records are then simulated and projected as a real-time “digital twin” of the site in the virtual space with the help of BIM technology. This enables the project team to monitor the entire construction site in real time, allowing precise decision-making which would in turn enhance productivity and safety performance. More than 30 innovative technologies were introduced in various aspects of works, as the sites are close to the neighbourhoods, the team has to sought solutions to minimise the adverse impacts of the works. The TCNTE project is the first public works project to adopt a real-time tracking and monitoring system for dump trucks to deter illegal dumping. As tilting sensors and AI cameras were installed on trucks, the team could then monitor their locations and travelling routes, if any of them is suspected to be dumping waste at a non-designated location, the system would immediately notify the monitoring staff.
Data utilisation is crucial to the future of the construction industry, Ir Albert Cheng appreciated the close collaboration within the team to adopt digitalisation and create a “Smart Management Site" as he commented that “The team makes use of a digitalised system to monitor different aspects of the site like safety performances, quality, work progress and sustainability, as well as tirelessly seeking improvements with the help of the digital platforms. CIC is happy to see more sites to follow suit in employing innovative technologies, and wish that we can work together to improve the qualities, progress and safety performances of different sites across Hong Kong.”
Despite construction and property management occupying different stages of the building life cycle, their scopes of work are interrelated. Both sectors also share common agendas and challenges, such as the need to raise safety levels. Their shared interests led to a recent example of cross-industry collaboration, the “Handling Scaffolding Works” Code of Conduct and related Best Practice Guide were released and published in the government gazette, the result of a collaborative effort by the Construction Industry Council (CIC) and Property Management Services Authority (PMSA). Another recent development was a visit by Mr. Tony TSE, PMSA Chairperson and Legislative Council member, to the CIC's Hong Kong Construction Industry Trade Testing Centre (HKCITTC), where he learned about the latest technological developments in truss-out bamboo scaffolds (aka “flying scaffolds”).
Ir Thomas HO, Chairman of the CIC, appreciated the PMSA’s efforts to develop the “Handling Scaffolding Works” Code of Conduct and related Best Practice Guide. He was also pleased with the adoption of CIC recommendations for truss-out bamboo scaffolding works, which enabled the Code and related Guide to closely address industry needs and subsequently prevent future accidents. The CIC’s recommendations included:
The recommendations gained strong support from the property management sector, leading to a collaborative effort to improve the safety performance of truss-out bamboo scaffolding works. Mr. Tony TSE, PMSA Chairperson, thanked the CIC for its valuable advice while noting that the main cause of construction accidents is due to negligence among frontline staff in applying safety measures. He emphasised that worker safety is the property management industry’s top priority, and that the PMSA strives to create safe work environments for all stakeholders while at the same time enhancing the industry’s level of professionalism.
As an industry leader, the CIC encourages all stakeholders to take responsibility for construction safety. When erecting truss-out bamboo scaffolds for tasks such as air-conditioning installation and water pipe replacement, the CIC has suggested the following nine safety measures:
During the processes, property management staff may offer professional advice to ensure safety at work.
Both parties also discussed about the insurance issues. The CIC has included the insurance details in the contactor’s notification form to Labour Department and hope that the contractor that accredited under OSH Star Enterprise Schemes of Occupational Safety and Health Council could receive a premium discounts which would encourage the contractors to implement sufficient safety measures. It was noted that during the recent site visits by CIC’s safety department the new recommendations has been implemented at a number of scalable housing estates in Hong Kong. In addition, the Labour Department was intended to inspect the scaffolding works for safety upon receiving the notification form. This shows that the initiative is gradually paying off.
One of the key safety measures for working at height is to attach the full body safety harness worn by the worker to a fixed anchor device (aka eye bolt), and this safety measure can save lives if implemented properly. During the major building maintenance and renovation works the contactor usually will install relevant anchor devices for working at height safety. Ir Thomas HO, Chairman of the CIC, suggests to stepping up the standards and to include the eye bolts as a permanent feature of new buildings at the design stage. This would enable engineers to take into account the waterproofing and structural requirements in advance and provide suitable anchor devices for future maintenance work, benefiting both landlords and construction workers.
Ir Albert CHENG, Executive Director of the CIC, has shared news that the Council has reformed and enhanced the skill training course, assessment and testing, and supervision for truss-out scaffolding. The CIC's HKCITTC acts as the industry's examination authority for providing independent, fair and creditable trade testing services and establishing industry skill standards and competency levels. Soon, the HKCITTC will launch a stringent " truss-out bamboo scaffolder skill assessment". Candidates will be required to build a truss-out bamboo scaffold within a specified timeframe, with any objects dropped during the process resulting in test failure. In addition to a practical test, candidates will also be required to take a written test on relevant ordinances, codes of conduct, safety knowledge, professional ethics and more. Candidate will only be qualified upon passing both tests. In future, the CIC hopes that every truss-out scaffolding worker will receive its training and obtain a certificate issued by the Council. This would ensure that all truss-out scaffolding workers possess professional skills, and would provide certain guarantees in terms of construction quality and safety awareness.
Apart from the cooperation on truss-out scaffolding, the construction and property management industries will continue collaboration on issues regarding working at height. The Council believes that stakeholders, regardless of their industry, should take an extra step to realise “Life First, Say NO to Danger”. Safety is everyone’s responsibility, all should collaborate to reduce construction risks and progress towards the goal of “Zero Accidents”.
In a densely populated city like Hong Kong, building a sweet home is never an easy task. The adoption of Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) is widely recognized as safe, efficient and eco-friendly, therefore has attracted increasing interest from private developers.
Chinachem Group started the Tonkin Street Redevelopment Project once awarded the contract by the Urban Renewal Authority, and they are set to become Hong Kong’s first private developers to apply concrete MiC on private residential project. In recent years, MiC has been commonly used in public works projects. When it comes to private sector, the project team does not only aim for efficiency and safety, but also seeks to bring liveability to residents and the community.
The site is at the junction of Tonkin Street and Fuk Wing Street, covering 1,070 square meters. The site will be built into a 6-storey podium and 22-storey tower. On each residential floor, there will be nine units ranging from one-bedroom to three-bedrooms with curtain wall and air conditioner platform.
Each unit will also be installed with balcony by MiC, marking the first time in private residential sector. The anticipated fabrication cycle of MiC will be four days. As a result, it will only take 88 days to complete MiC fabrication on site, shortening the construction period by two months. Ir Thomas HO On-sing, Chairman of the Construction Industry Council and Ir Albert CHENG Ting-ning, Executive Director of the CIC, visited the MiC module mockup last week. They were both impressed by the level of efficiency and workmanship achieved by MiC.
MiC also ensures quality as components of modules are pre-fabricated in factory. According to the project team, two water tightness tests will be done in factory. Once the module has been completed, it will be transported to the site for workers to install spandrels on curtain walls. They will then carry out another water test to enhance protection.
In project team’s eyes, MiC has no limitations. They applied the concept of light well while designing the modules. Natural lighting can therefore be brought into the living room through balcony and different windows. It also ensures cross ventilation for fresh air. To further enhance liveability, there is one removable non-structural wall in the living room, which provides flexibility for interior design.
The CIC has been promoting Building Information Modeling (BIM) for years. From design to production, the project team has been using BIM 360 to connect workflows and facilitate design and allocation of module components. As seen in the MiC mockup, the air conditioner platform is accessible from the balcony without affecting the view and air quality. What impressed Ir Thomas HO most is its safety concept.
Ronald Lu & Partners (RLP) is responsible for the project design. Matt NG, director and architect of RLP, added that maintenance safety was given high priority when the project kicked off, “Early at design stage, we foresaw the needs of repairing air-con in the future. Therefore, AC platform is built with a view to avoiding the chance of scaffolding. We also took future gondola operation into consideration at design stage.”
The Tonkin Street Redevelopment Project is located at the heart of West Kowloon. MiC therefore plays a vital role in minimizing construction waste and nuisance to the community. The project team also makes effort to improve sustainability and livability. Space is reserved for planting four trees. After completion, pedestrians walking alongside the building can enjoy the greenery and pavement with five-meter width on Tonkin Street. There will also be a multi-functional outdoor area for busking and different kinds of art performances, providing leisure and recreational spaces for the community to relax.
The project received the Grand Award by 2021 Green Building Award 2021. Matt Ng said they also set a sight on proving the potential of MiC and leading the industry to think out of the box. Donald CHOI, CEO of Chinachem Group, added that the team hopes to present the energy and aesthetics of MiC. Ir Thomas HO thanked the project team for their efforts on striving livability. He also appreciated their innovative ideas. “Regardless of private or public projects, the use of technology will definitely benefit the industry and the community,” he said.
Last Updated: 2022-10-06 13:46:31