The construction industry in Hong Kong shares a spirit of unity. We leave no stone unturned as long as it should be done. The industry organised 5 Construction Industry COVID-19 Testing Days and successfully uncovered infected cases. Percentage of confirmed cases has dropped to less than 0.1% on the last Testing Day compared to the highest 1.8%, effectively cutting the chain of transmission. The second stage of the Vaccine Pass Arrangement at Construction Sites will be implemented on 14th April. By then, all construction workers and site personnel are required to have received at least two doses of COVID-19 vaccine to enter construction sites. Except for specified premises, construction industry is the first industry to implement Vaccine Pass Arrangement at sites, hoping to take the lead among other industries.
In view of Hong Kong’s fifth wave of COVID-19 pandemic, the Construction Industry Council allocated HK$123million to the “Construction Industry Caring Campaign” and extended the campaign into its 2.0 phase with the support of the Development Bureau, to continue aiding construction workers who are infected with COVID-19 or undergo compulsory quarantine, with a maximum allowance of HK$3,500 and HK$2,100 respectively.
I am impressed by the "Lion Rock Spirit" and the concerted effort made by construction industry during the fifth wave of COVID-19. To achieve the goals in time, property developers lent their private lots for free, suppliers and contractors adopted advanced technologies and experience, frontline workers worked around the clock, and the SAR Government departments collaborated effectively with various parties.
By adopting the concept of “factory assembly followed by on-site installation”, Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) shifts part of the construction processes to factories. On top of a much shorter construction time, construction safety, sustainability, quality and productivity can be improved. In 2020, the industry utilized MiC to build several anti-epidemic facilities. Once again, MiC should be credited for its contribution to in this wave of COVID-19.
With support from the Mainland, the Government commissioned China State Construction International Holdings Limited (CSCI) to construct the eight community isolation facilities (CIF). Part of them are built on land lent by Sun Hung Kai Properties, the Henderson and New World Development. With the application of prefabricated modular housing and MiC, construction teams raced against the clock and completed the Tsing Yi CIF project in 7 days, a miracle in Hong Kong’s construction industry. Six CIF projects with 20,000 beds for isolation started operation in March while the facilities in Penny's Bay and Kai Tak will be completed in May, demonstrating the high quality and efficiency of MiC.
Construction of hospital for emergency use in the Lok Ma Chau Loop was at full speed since late February. Water, electricity and gas supply had to be completed as soon as possible. The Hong Kong and China Gas Company Limited assembled a team of 200 to work around-the-clock to install new gas pipelines with a total length of 1.5 kilometres. The task was completed in a record-breaking time of four days.
Despite the extremely tight schedule, CLP Power Hong Kong Limited laid around 8 kilometres of cables from the CLP Power Mai Po substation in the shortest possible time to provide power supply to the Lok Ma Chau Loop. The team managed to connect power in only 10 days, shortest time in history.
Hysan Development has teamed up with Chinachem Group to offer their joint site at Caroline Hill Road to the Government to set up a vaccination centre. After taking over the site, Gammon Construction immediately commenced advance works of construction and connect with suppliers on designing and producing MiC pre-fabricated modules, with the E&M facilities assembled in the factory. Installation of the 13 pre-fabricated modules completed in just two days and the site was handed over to the Government on 24th March. With concerted effort from all parties and the application of MiC, the project was completed in less than three weeks.
If such spirits and dedication can be put in housing development, with the adoption of MiC, the construction period will be shortened by at least one year. The average waiting time for public housing can be much shorter if Housing Authority is able to increase the housing supply from 20,000 to 40,000.
The 2022-23 Budget proposed to increase the concession of floor area from the current 6 per cent to 10 per cent, to encourage private developers to adopt MiC in construction. Projects in Tonkin Street and Fuk Wing Street by Chinachem Group will be the first residential project built with concrete MiC method. Carbon emission, construction waste, noise nuisance to the surrounding environment will be massively reduced.
Urban Renewal Authority’s projects in Ash Street, Tai Kok Tsui assigned to Chun Wo Construction Holdings is the first to use “Wall Connection Technology” which greatly reduce the thickness of walls and increase the indoor useable area.
In collaboration with China Road and Bridge Corporation and Dragages Hong Kong, the CIC donated refitted containers to provide accommodation to staff at Haven of Hope Christian Service, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Tseung Kwan O Elderly Services Building and Tung Lam Monastery respectively, hoping to support frontline medical practitioners and elderly home staff amid the pandemic.
The raging coronavirus pandemic posed unprecedented impact on manpower, resource and capital supply in construction industry. Development Bureau has granted extension of project time to government works contracts and the building covenant period under land leases of private development projects, for up to a maximum period of six months, to alleviate pressure in the construction sector. In response to the exclusion of construction sector in the new round of the Employment Support Scheme launched by the Government, the CIC is proactively putting forward our views to the Government with construction associations and trade unions, hoping to have support to the industry in Employment Support Scheme!
Thanks for the generous support and visionary advice from different parties to the construction industry. Dr. Stephen Wong, legislative council members and Deputy Executive Director of Our Hong Kong Foundation published a report on land and housing policy. In the aspect of boosting the construction volume, it is highlighted that new and young talents are crucial for industry development. Increasing the incentives to adopt advanced technology such as BIM, MiC and DfMA will be the way-out for the Government to embrace the HK$300 billion of construction expenditure in the coming 10 years.
The above suggestion echoes perfectly with the highlights of our works in recent years. As the Chairman of the CIC, I will do my utmost to lead the industry in expanding manpower, advancing technically and improving construction safety. I believe MiC is the future of our industry. The earlier MiC is widely adopted, the shorter the construction period will be and the greater benefits to our citizens.
Last Updated: 2022-04-01 10:06:15