Search Result: 27
Winner of The Ombudsman’s Awards 2021 for Officers of Public Organisations“Proactive communication and people-focused” Mr Chu Ka Kit, Caleb, Senior Maintenance Engineer/ Kowloon East of Highways Department “Earlier, road pavement maintenance was carried out outside a busy market in Kowloon City Road and part of the project needed to take place in front of some shops. As we could not implement the work during the day nor block the entire pavement, we had to split the maintenance work into different sections. As such, advance communication with the shop owners became very important. By knowing the business hours of the concerned shops, we could then arrange the maintenance works after the shops’ closing, so as to reduce the impact on the shop owners.” (The video is in Cantonese) For more details of The Ombudsman’s Awards 2021, please visit the website of the Office of The Ombudsman.
In 2021, two tropical cyclones, Lionrock and Kompasu, hit Hong Kong one after another. As we know, with heavy rainfall always comes a bigger risk of landslides. In 1972, the catastrophic landslide at Po Shan Road in the Mid-Levels shattered a number of buildings, including the 12-storey Kotewall Court, and took away 67 lives. Afterwards, the Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO) under the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) implemented a series of landslip prevention and mitigation works in the Po Shan area, among which was the Po Shan Drainage Tunnel. Completed in 2009, the Po Shan Drainage Tunnel reduces the risk of major landslides by controlling the groundwater levels with innovative technology and becomes one of the most iconic landslip prevention and mitigation projects in Hong Kong. Besides, to convey the importance of slope safety to the public, the Landslide Sci-Tech Chamber has been set up by the GEO in the tunnel. Innovative groundwater regulation systemGiven that the Po Shan area was prone to high groundwater levels, making it susceptible to landslides, the GEO designed and built the Po Shan Drainage Tunnel in 2009, it uses an innovative and sustainable groundwater regulation system to control the groundwater levels, replacing the ageing horizontal drains installed in the 1980s. Geotechnical Engineering Graduate of the GEO, Miss Ip Ching-tung, Gloria, tells us that the Po Shan Drainage Tunnel comprises a pair of drainage tunnels (3.5m in diameter and 500m in total length) and 172 sub-vertical drains (with the longest being 100m) installed with the technique of “up-the-hole hammering” inside the narrow tunnels. It is also equipped with an automatic real-time groundwater monitoring system. When the groundwater reaches a relatively high level in times of intense rainfall, the system will alert colleagues with text messages and automatically regulate the switches to keep the groundwater levels within a specified range, thereby improving the stability of the hillside against large-scale landslides to safeguard public safety.Retractable Tunnel Boring MachineMiss Gloria Ip says that, apart from adopting the “up-the-hole hammering” technique for the first time in Hong Kong, project staff introduced a Retractable Tunnel Boring Machine (TBM) for boring the two drainage tunnels. After boring one of the tunnels, the TBM retracted to its original position to bore the other tunnel. A receiving shaft at the tunnel end to retrieve the boring machine was no longer needed. The adoption of this innovative technique shortened the time required to bore the tunnels to four months and also greatly reduced the environmental impact of the project.Landslide Sci-Tech ChamberThe GEO has set up the Landslide Sci-Tech Chamber in the uniquely designed Po Shan Drainage Tunnel, with guided tours to educate the public on the importance of slope safety. The chamber is divided into galleries of different themes, e.g. the Po Shan Memorial Gallery, which exhibits historical photos and records of the Po Shan Road landslide incident, reminding the public of the tragedy and the lesson learned; the Climate Change Impression Gallery, which illustrates how global warming has led to more extreme rainstorms, and explains the importance of sustained effort to ensure slope safety under extreme weather. Incorporating STEM education elementsAssistant Geotechnical Engineer of the GEO, Mr Fung Yat-fan, Dominic, adds that STEM education and interactive elements are incorporated into the chamber to make the guided activities more fun. For example, the Landslide Wisdom Gallery makes use of video clips to help participants revisit the history of landslides in Hong Kong of more than a century as well as the development of the Hong Kong Slope Safety System; the Drainage Tunnel Expression Gallery utilises Augmented Reality (AR) to visualise the operation of sub-vertical drains and introduce the innovative technology of the groundwater regulation system.Booking a guided tourTwo students who have earlier taken part in the guided tour describe their feelings about the visit to the Landslide Sci-Tech Chamber, remarking that it has been quite a new experience, such as seeing first-hand how the system works to monitor the groundwater levels in real time and to lower the levels automatically and manually. They also got a close look at the “robotic dog” and learned how the GEO mitigates the risks of landslides using innovative technology. The Landslide Sci-Tech Chamber is now open to the public, schools and organisations for guided tours; reservations can be made through the GEO’s Hong Kong Slope Safety website. For those of you who are interested, don’t miss this out! Stay alert to landslide risksClimate change gives rise to extreme weather, making landslide prevention and mitigation even more challenging. As Head of GEO, Dr Cheung Wai-man, Raymond, says, they hope that the guided tours can educate the younger generation on the history of landslides in Hong Kong, keeping them alert to the risks, and that the public can better understand how colleagues in the GEO eagerly utilise technology to manage the risks of landslides. Certainly, the public should stay away from slopes during a rainstorm or when a landslip warning is in force; and it is the responsibility of owners to carry out timely maintenance of private slopes and retaining walls as prevention. (The video is in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)
In order to mitigate flood risks in Yuen Long town centre, the Drainage Services Department (DSD) constructed a “canal”, Yuen Long Bypass Floodway. Constructed with quite a number of improvement designs and engineering technologies, this man-made channel has beautified the environment and provided a new habitat for numerous plant and animal species while minimising flood risks at the town centre.Intercepting 40% of the runoff in the Yuen Long CatchmentYuen Long Plain is a low-lying area with significant flood risks in the past. In 2006, the DSD completed the construction of Yuen Long Bypass Floodway at the south of Yuen Long Town. This 3.8 kilometres long and over 20 metres wide man-made channel can intercept 40 percent of the runoff in the Yuen Long catchment, which is diverted straight to Kam Tin River and then discharged to the sea without passing the nullah at the town centre. To control the water level of the Bypass Floodway and to prevent water downstream from flowing back into the channel, a system of dry weather flow pumping station and inflatable dam was built at the downstream end of the Bypass Floodway and ahead of its intersection with Kam Tin River. At times of heavy rainfall, the dam will automatically deflate and lower to allow flood water upstream to flow into Kam Tin River to reduce flood risks. Adopting a series of eco-friendly designsAccording to Engineer of the DSD, Mr Ng Yat-fei, while proactively enhancing the level of flood protection, the DSD has also strived to introduce the concept of river revitalisation. Various eco-friendly elements have been specifically incorporated into the design of Yuen Long Bypass Floodway to beautify the channel and promote eco-conservation. For example, its flow is directed to pass through different regimes to slow down the speed for providing a natural habitat for plants and animals. Besides, the DSD has also created spaces to artificially encourage plant growth at the bottom and slope of the Bypass Floodway. “Grasscrete” paving adopted downstream is an example. Cavities throughout the concrete surface at the bottom of this man-made channel are filled with soil for plants to grow, enhancing the channel’s aesthetic value with thriving greenery. Engineered wetland as large as 10 full-size football pitchesThe DSD has also engineered a piece of wetland in the downstream area of Yuen Long Bypass Floodway. With its 7 hectares area, the wetland is as large as 10 full-size football pitches. Various plant species are grown in this wetland, forming a favourable wetland habitat for birds, amphibians (such as frogs), bats, dragonflies, etc., which in turn enhances biodiversity. In addition, the dry weather flow of the Bypass Floodway will first pass through the oyster shell pond, crushed bricks and reed bed in the wetland for natural filtration and purification, reducing nutrients in the water to prevent red tides.According to results of continuous monitoring, over 130 plant species grow in the wetland and 115 species of birds were once recorded to have settled there. Since its completion, Yuen Long Bypass Floodway has not only been an upgrade of drainage capacity but also a great improvement to the overall habitat of the area. Disseminating information on river conservationConservation of river channels forms part of the work of the DSD, which has been disseminating relevant information through different means. One of the examples, says Mr Ng Yat-fei, is the guided tours of Yuen Long Bypass Floodway and the engineered wetland, which have been rather popular. Schools or organisations may enrol on the tours through the DSD’s website. With guidance and explanation from the docents, participants are able to get on-site knowledge about flood prevention works and biodiversity conservation. The DSD has set up the Nam Sang Wai River Education Trail that begins at Castle Peak Road in Yuen Long and winds around Nam Sang Wai. It takes about 2 hours to complete the entire trail of 5.5 kilometres long. Along the trail, there are information panels explaining the river training works and ecological aspects. You can also check out the “DSD Facilities Online Tour” on the DSD’s website to explore the DSD’s work on flood prevention and environmental protection through the 360-degree panoramic photos and albums of high-definition photos. (The video is in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)
Historical records of the Hong Kong’s quarrying industry date back to 1841. In the 1940s, illegal mining was quite rampant in Hong Kong. In response, the Mines Section was established under the Labour Department in 1951 to regulate local mining operations. Subsequently, after a number of restructuring and renaming, the Mines Section was placed under the Civil Engineering and Development Department (the then Civil Engineering Services Department) in 1991 and is now called the Mines Division.Rock Extraction – from manual stone breaking to rock blastingMr Cheng Wai-shun, Wilson, Geotechnical Engineer of the Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO), says that quarrying in the early days mainly relied on workers to use hammers, chisels and wedges to break stones off the rock mass, and then crush them one by one with a hammer, a process known as “stone breaking”. Later, the industry has adopted “controlled blasting” for quarrying, a reliable method to blast natural rocks with explosives, which can enhance efficiency. The blasted rocks will then be carried to rock crushers for further crushing, screening and sorting into aggregates for various construction uses, including the production of concrete and asphalt. From “mountain cutting and rock breaking” to fireworks displays In the course of the blasting work of “mountain cutting and rock breaking”, the safety of the public, workers and surrounding facilities must be ensured. In the early 60’s, the then Mines Department (previously known as the Mines Section) started to regulate the use of explosives on land pursuant to the Dangerous Goods Ordinance. Nowadays, apart from managing the operation and safety of quarries, as well as reviewing the strategy of local aggregate supply, the Mines Division is also responsible for the regulatory control of Category 1 Dangerous Goods, and the operation of the Government Explosives Depots in Kau Shat Wan on Lantau Island and Sha Tin Heights. As fireworks also fall under the category of dangerous goods, colleagues from the Mines Division are present at every fireworks display to provide technical support all along to ensure it goes smoothly and safely. Safety is the top priority in blasting proceduresBlasting is necessary for many works projects in Hong Kong. Take the relocation of the Sha Tin Sewage Treatment Works to caverns in Nui Po Shan of A Kung Kok as an example, blasting has to be carried out in conjunction with other construction methods in both the excavation of caverns and access tunnels.Senior Explosives Officer of the GEO, Mr Ng Siu-ming, says that site operators are required to apply for and obtain approval from the Mines Division before each blast. The Mines Division is also responsible for the regulatory control of storage, conveyance, installation and detonation of explosives to ensure safety. For example, adequate protective measures such as the setting up of blast doors, blast cages and vertical screens have to be implemented at the site, so that flyrock will not be ejected from the blast locations and fall onto other areas. He shares with us that the control of explosives is of utmost importance to the safety of the public and, for this reason, safety regulations must be strictly adhered to and enforced to ensure that safety is the top priority in every step of a blasting operation. Outlook of local quarry industryThe quarry industry has a long history in Hong Kong. Deputy Head of the GEO, Mr Thomas Hui, says that local quarries mainly serve Hong Kong’s construction industry in two aspects. First, they provide a local supply of aggregates - maintaining an appropriate level of local production to avoid over-reliance on imported aggregates and providing stockpile for contingency. Second, surplus rocks generated from works projects can be recycled in quarries for production of aggregates, turning waste into resources. After the end of quarrying business and completion of the required rehabilitation works, a quarry site will release a large piece of land to meet various socio-economic needs of Hong Kong. Recent examples are Anderson Road Quarry, Jordan Valley Quarry and Shek O Quarry.At present, the Lam Tei Quarry is the only existing quarry operating in Hong Kong. To sustain the production of local aggregates, the Government is in the process of undertaking feasibility studies on development of new surface quarry sites with a view to dovetailing with the closure of Lam Tei Quarry. In addition, studies are being undertaken to assess the feasibility of developing underground quarrying-cum-cavern development as a new initiative for the quarry industry. (The video is in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)
The Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO) under the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) recently held the “Innotech Forum on Geotechnology”, providing a platform for industry practitioners to exchange views on the application of innovation and technology in geotechnical engineering. Held via video conferencing due to the epidemic, the forum got the attention of about 1 000 participants including technology personnel, academics and industry practitioners from around the world. This time, some of the staff members of the GEO tell us about the forum and share with us how to adopt innovation and technology to enhance slope safety management for landslip prevention and mitigation.Highlight of the forum – Artificial IntelligenceAfter the “Innotech Forum on Geotechnology” in 2018 and 2019, the Government organised the forum for the third time this year. Deputy Head of GEO (Island), Mr Cheung Ping-yip, says that the forum aimed at encouraging wider adoption of innovation and technology in the geotechnical engineering industry so as to enhance productivity, uplift quality and efficiency and improve practitioners’ safety. One of the highlights of the forum was artificial intelligence (AI). As big data is the main driving force behind AI, the scale and speed of data release are crucial for Hong Kong’s development into a smart city. The GEO has already released 17 sets of spatial data for public use, including 3-dimensional (3D) laser remote sensing survey data, and data on registered man-made slopes and historical landslide catchments. Hot topic at the Forum – Robot dogAnother hot topic at the forum was the GEO’s recent introduction of the robot dog developed by Boston Dynamics. Mr Cheung Ping-yip says that according to the presentation by the responsible officer of the IT company at the forum, special training in mobility is provided to the robot dog with AI to enable it to recognise the surroundings and avoid trees and other obstacles. With such functions, the robot dog can go deep into landslip sites or terrains not accessible to works staff to conduct surveys at rugged hillsides or under harsh environments. The robot dog is equipped with data collection equipment. Coupled with 5G transmission technology, the equipment can send real-time images taken onsite to engineers to facilitate data analysis so that they can assess the risks of the slopes more quickly and formulate mitigation measures. Digital rock joint surveysBesides, through this forum, the GEO hopes to encourage the industry to use digital technology as its commonly used tool to carry out rock joint (i.e. gaps on rock slopes) surveys and analysis. According to Geotechnical Engineer of the GEO, Mr Leung Wai-kin, if a survey is conducted in a traditional approach, i.e. placing a compass close to a rock joint, vegetation on the rock slope needs to be cleared and temporary scaffolding needs to be erected before the survey can be carried out. Apart from the time and money that have to be spent, there are also safety concerns. Currently, there are many advanced remote sensing technologies that can be used to collect topographic data and provide information such as dip orientation and dip angle of rock joints. For example, by scanning with a handheld laser scanner or combining hundreds to thousands of photos through photogrammetry, a 3D digital model can be formed, with which a computer can be used to analyse the stability of a rock slope. This approach is more effective than the traditional survey method and can be done day or night, rain or shine. Automation of slope engineering designRegarding engineering design, Geotechnical Engineer of the GEO, Mr Cheung Ka-chun, Billy, says that the GEO proactively adopts Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology to enhance the accuracy, flexibility and efficiency of planning and design. Quoting a rigid debris-resisting barrier at Shek Pai Wan of Aberdeen as an example, he says that engineers can utilise a digital topographical model and geological data at the design stage to effectively carry out landslide risk assessment and landslide debris mobility analysis. Meanwhile, the GEO has developed a set of computer scripts to optimise the design layout and reduce the amount of earthwork automatically so as to minimise the environmental and visual impacts induced by the barrier. Mr Billy Cheung says that the digital and automatic design workflows can facilitate the understanding of the 3D site environment in advance. When design changes are needed during construction, such workflows, coupled with the Digital Twin technology, will enable engineers to revise the design quickly so as to achieve the objectives of optimising the design, improving the construction workflows, enhancing cost-effectiveness, etc.Adopting technology to enhance project efficiencyThe rainy season generally starts in April in Hong Kong; the Government will not underestimate the devastating effects of rainstorms and will continue to adopt innovation and technology to enhance the quality and economic efficiency of the design of landslip prevention and mitigation works. Meanwhile, private slope owners have the responsibility to maintain their slopes or retaining walls on a regular basis to keep hazards at bay. (The video is in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)
When taking forward projects in new development areas, the Government will attach importance to environmental and nature conservation to provide a green and quality living space to people in these areas. The Kwu Tung North (KTN) and Fanling North (FLN) New Development Area (NDA) forms a core part of the multi-pronged land supply strategy in the medium and long term, and the construction of the Long Valley Nature Park is part and parcel of the KTN/FLN NDA project. Staff members from the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) and the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department (AFCD) will tell us about the project details regarding conserving and enhancing the ecological environment of Long Valley. A representative of the Conservancy Association, the advisor of the project, will also share her suggestions on conservation in Long Valley.Project expected to be completed in 2023Located between the Sheung Yue River and Shek Sheung River in Sheung Shui, Long Valley is currently the largest contiguous freshwater wetland of high ecological value in Hong Kong. The CEDD commenced the construction works in late 2019 with a view to developing some 37 hectares of land at the core area of Long Valley into a nature park for conserving and enhancing the ecologically important environment as well as for compensating the loss of wetland due to the NDA development. Meanwhile, the department is going to enhance the environment there through the works to make the park a major green space for the NDA. The project is making good progress and is expected to be completed in 2023. Preservation and enhancement of the ecological value of Long ValleyWhile the construction of the Long Valley Nature Park is undertaken by the CEDD, its future management rests with the AFCD. Nature Park Officer of the AFCD, Dr Ho King-yan, Kevin, says Long Valley has various habitats including wet and dry agricultural land, pools, paddy fields, fishponds, swamps, etc. with rich biodiversity. The Government hopes to, through the construction of the Long Valley Nature Park, further conserve and enhance the ecological value of the Long Valley wetland to provide more areas for different species to forage, inhabit and reproduce. It also hopes to preserve traditional farming methods, thereby achieving agro-ecological symbiosis. During the construction period, the AFCD and the CEDD work closely to exchange views on conservation, restoration and management of habitats as well as on the planning and design of the park. A park with three zonesEngineer of the CEDD, Mr Chau Ha-lo, Ryan, says the park will be divided into three zones, including the Biodiversity Zone of about 21 hectares, the Agriculture Zone of about 11 hectares and the Visitor Zone of about five hectares. The Biodiversity Zone is designated for maintaining the biodiversity of Long Valley through the cultivation of specified crops and habitat management. The Agriculture Zone will enable farmers to adopt eco-friendly farming practices while the Visitor Zone will provide visitors’ facilities to facilitate public understanding and appreciation of the wetland ecology of Long Valley and promote public awareness of nature conservation.Restoration of dry and abandoned agricultural landFurthermore, the wetland area of the whole Long Valley will increase by about eight hectares as the CEDD will convert some dry and abandoned agricultural land into wetland habitats. Paddy fields are an important stop-over site for yellow-breasted buntings during their migration. In the middle of last year, collaborating with the Conservancy Association, the Hong Kong Bird Watching Society and farmers in Long Valley, the CEDD successfully established about 10 patches of paddy fields before the bird migration season in October for serving as a rest stop for birds in Long Valley during their migration journey. Under the guidance of farmers in Long Valley, five water flea ponds were restored to breed water fleas and red worms for the birds to feed on; as a result, many birds particularly water birds were attracted to forage in the ponds. Enhancing the agricultural environment of Long ValleyTo meet the irrigation demand of the farmland in Long Valley in future, the CEDD will also enhance the irrigation channels in Long Valley and construct a water treatment wetland to improve the irrigation water quality at the park through sedimentation, plant filtration, and sterilisation by sunlight. Storage sheds will also be provided at various locations across the park for farmers to store basic farming tools and equipment.Exploring the natural environmentBesides, to allow the public to explore the freshwater wetlands in a natural environment and have a better understanding of the close relationship between crops and living creatures, timber boardwalks, bird hide and outdoor classrooms will be built in the Visitor Zone of the park. The CEDD will also construct a visitor centre near the park to provide a comfortable space for the public to understand the importance of Long Valley in terms of ecology and agriculture. Striving to protect the natural environmentMr Ryan Chau points out that the CEDD needs to handle each process with special care and avoid using heavy machinery throughout the construction of the Long Valley Nature Park in order to protect the natural environment of Long Valley and reduce the impact on its ecology. Although these challenges pose difficulties to the project, the project team feels that it is well worth their effort when seeing the birds roost and feed in the restored wetlands. Mr Chau gives his special thanks to the Conservancy Association for acting as the advisor and giving a lot of valuable advice on the project. Gratitude for the advice of Conservancy AssociationConservation Manager of the Conservancy Association, Ms Kami Hui, shares with us that a large piece of contiguous agricultural freshwater wetland in Long Valley is precious for farmers to continue farming. Therefore, it is hoped that the principle of conserving Long Valley will be adhered to when carrying out the project details so as to minimise the impact on ecology. During construction, they will remind the project team to pay particular attention to sites with a higher ecological value and avoid having works vehicles pass through the related road sections. Citing another example, when yellow-breasted buntings flew to Hong Kong between October and December last year, the Conservancy Association particularly reminded the project team to exclude the rice paddies from their scope of works so that the birds could forage in the rice paddies. The Government has been committed to striking the right balance between development and conservation with a view to providing a large green space in a new town to create a quality living environment. There is no doubt that the works for Long Valley Nature Park need to be conducted in line with the conservation principle in order to minimise the impact on the wetlands. (The video is in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)
Rock cavern development is one of the Government’s multi-pronged strategies to increase land supply and is of great importance to Hong Kong’s long-term development. The Drainage Services Department (DSD) has commenced relocating the Sha Tin Sewage Treatment Works (STW), which is currently located at the mouth of Shing Mun River, to the cavern site at Nui Po Shan of A Kung Kok at the opposite bank. The relocation will release the existing site for uses beneficial to people’s livelihood and improve the local living environment. It is currently the largest cavern development project in progress in Hong Kong. Staff members from the DSD are here to introduce the details of the works and explain how to enhance works efficiency by adopting new technologies.Releasing 28 hectares of land after relocationOccupying 28 hectares of land and handling about 250 000 cubic metres of sewage per day, the existing Sha Tin STW is the largest secondary sewage treatment works in the territory. The relocation can release the existing plant site for other development uses. The new Sha Tin Cavern STW will occupy 14 hectares of land, which is 15 times the size of the Stanley STW housed in caverns, and will be the largest of its kind in Hong Kong. Even with a smaller footprint, the new plant will have the same treatment capacity as the existing one, with the adoption of advanced sewage treatment technologies to meet the demands of the local population and to improve services for residents. Three stages of the relocation projectGeotechnical Engineer of the DSD, Mr Ko Ming-yuen, Elton, said the relocation project will be taken forward in three stages. Stage 1 works mainly include site formation works at the cavern portal area and main access tunnel construction; Stage 2 works cover the main caverns construction and upstream sewerage works; the remaining works comprise mainly the construction of sewage treatment facilities in the new caverns, and demolition of the existing Sha Tin STW. Stage 1 works commenced in February 2019 and the construction of the main access tunnel by drill and blast method is underway. The works are progressing on schedule and are expected to be completed by 2022 as planned. Construction of a temporary flyover to minimise traffic burdenRegarding the design, the caverns serve as natural barriers fully enclosing the sewage treatment facilities while maintaining the natural scenery of the hilly landscape. The DSD will also adopt odour control measures to further reduce the impact of the odour on the community to improve its environment. Besides, as explained by Engineer of the DSD, Mr Poon Sze-lim, Kenneth, the construction and demolition (C&D) materials generated from the tunnel blasting works needs to be removed by construction vehicles. To minimise the impact on the nearby traffic, particularly given that A Kung Kok Street is one of the traffic arteries in Ma On Shan, the project team has purposely built a temporary flyover across A Kung Kok Street. Using the flyover, construction vehicles can travel in and out of the construction site without using A Kung Kok Street and the pressure imposed by the works on the nearby traffic can be reduced. New technologies to enhance construction efficiencyThe project team has also adopted various new technologies, such as Building Information Modelling (BIM) and Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA), to enhance the efficiency of the construction of the temporary flyover.BIM technology can present the works design and site environment in a three-dimensional (3-D) format, enabling the project team to grasp the details accurately and to identify and handle all sorts of potential problems more easily so as to facilitate amendments. Simulated exercises can also be conducted to improve the construction programme and the temporary road closure arrangement. With DfMA, the team is able to build the viaduct piers and foundation of the flyover at the site while components of the flyover are being prefabricated at the factory, thereby significantly shortening the construction time. With both technologies at play, night-time lifting and installation works were completed in two nights instead of six nights as originally planned, reducing the impact on traffic caused by late-night road closures. Close liaison with the communityBesides, to enable the public to gain a better understanding of the relocation project, the project team has always maintained close liaison with members of the community and took the initiative to share the work progress with them. A community liaison centre is set up by the roadside of Mui Tsz Lam Road near the construction site so that residents can enquire about details of the works project.The hilly terrain with strong rocks in Hong Kong is highly suitable for developing rock caverns, particularly on the urban fringe. We can use such “hidden” land resources as caverns to support the relocation of suitable public facilities so that surface sites can be released to provide more land for Hong Kong’s sustainable development. The above-mentioned relocation of the STW to caverns can bring multiple benefits. Other than improving the environment of the current STW site and the surrounding area, it will also release land for other uses beneficial to people’s livelihood at the same time. (The video is in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)
The Tung Chung New Town Extension (TCNTE) is the first trial project for developing a smart low-carbon community on Lantau Island, adopting city concepts that are smart, green and resilient to the environment and climate. Under the project, the Tung Chung East reclamation works are being carried out on schedule. The Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) has adopted over 30 innovative technologies in various aspects of works, such as the Internet of Things (IoT), cloud systems, Artificial Intelligence (AI), satellite navigation and smart safety measures, to usher in smart city development. Staff members from the CEDD will take us to the Innovation Hub of the Tung Chung East reclamation works (InnoTCE) to explain how the project team utilises innovative technologies to enhance site management and operation efficiency as well as to further improve site safety.The “brain” of the InnoTCE – digitalised management platformInside the InnoTCE, there is a room with computer screens of varying sizes, which acts as its “brain” - a digitalised management platform. Mr Yan Chun-ho, Geotechnical Engineer of the CEDD, says that the platform utilises the latest Digital Twin technology to collect and consolidate various kinds of site construction data and records through IoT sensors. Such data and records are then sent to a smart platform adopting Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology to simulate the operation of the construction site, creating a real-time “digital twin” of the site in the virtual space. This enables the project team to monitor the entire construction site in real time, allowing quick and accurate decision-making, as well as facilitating day-to-day site management and collaboration in the project team. Introducing AI technologyEnsuring site safety is a matter of utmost importance. Mr Chung Wing-wah, Geotechnical Engineer of the CEDD, says that the project team is using AI technology to monitor high-risk tasks, so as to enhance safety performance and effectiveness. Among the technologies used are the AI cameras installed on the construction site. Equipped with analytical and machine-learning technologies, the cameras are able to monitor the main vehicular access and some restricted areas with potential risks within the site in a round-the-clock manner. An example is the intelligent vessel intruder warning system designed for offshore works. The system is able to differentiate between construction and non-construction vessels; if the latter are spotted within the warning zone, the system will alert the monitoring staff immediately to request and instruct the vessels to leave.Real-time tracking and monitoring system for dump trucksFurthermore, to manage the environment of the construction site more effectively, the project team also utilises AI cameras to analyse and monitor the cleanliness of construction vehicles leaving the site, reducing the possibility of carrying the mud and debris to the nearby streets by the vehicles. The TCNTE is the first public works project adopting a real-time tracking and monitoring system for dump trucks. By recording and monitoring the trucks’ locations and travel routes, the system aims to deter illegal dumping of construction waste which is a cause of pollution. Dump trucks are installed with tilting sensors and AI cameras so that if any of them is suspected to be dumping waste at a non-designated location, the system will immediately notify monitoring staff for follow-up. Real-time monitoring of ground settlement of reclamationThe application of technologies can also save manpower and enhance works efficiency. According to Mr Chung Wing-wah, ground settlement monitoring is an important part of reclamation works. In the past, survey officers had to go to every monitoring point to measure data manually. As reclamation sites covered extensive areas, the manpower and amount of time required were therefore enormous. The Tung Chung East reclamation project has adopted a technology called the Global Navigation Satellite System to monitor the extent of ground settlement of the reclamation in real time by connecting the monitoring points to satellites and making use of cloud computing, which can help enhance construction efficiency and quality. Frontline workers in support of the use of innovative technologiesBesides, the InnoTCE has set up a number of training zones equipped with a Virtual Reality (VR) system that combines digital imaging with a real-life operation for workers to learn in a safe environment. Frontline worker Mr Cheng Cho-Wai shares with us that, in the past, the design and construction of building projects were illustrated in drawings, which made it very difficult for workers to understand the complicated procedures involved. With VR training, workers feel as if they are in a real work environment and will have a deeper impression of the construction work plan. Also, it will make them more alert to the potential dangers of various construction procedures. Incubation platform for technologiesApart from providing digitalisation of site management, the InnoTCE is also an “incubation platform for technologies”. Mr Yan Chun-ho tells us that the project team has been proactively collaborating with the industry, academics, and the scientific research sector to research and develop construction technology that can upgrade engineering techniques and quality. The Passive Radiative Cooling Coating is the latest example and the InnoTCE is the first field trial site for the coating in Hong Kong. Unlike traditional cooling systems, the Passive Radiative Cooling Coating is an energy-free cooling technology that requires no refrigerant. Applying this coating to a building’s roof or external walls can reduce the surface temperature, thereby saving the energy needed for air-conditioning. Meanwhile, the project team is also working with scientific research institutes to test a technology that can promptly dry wetted inert construction waste to facilitate its quicker reuse. (The video is in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)
Winner of The Ombudsman’s Awards 2020 for Officers of Public OrganisationsCheng Chun Wai, Michael, Engineer/Kowloon of Drainage Services Department““Provide quality service to the public with a customer-oriented mindset and proactive communication.” (The video is broadcasted in Cantonese) "In January 2019, a defective sewer laid six metres underground on Bulkeley Street caused an incident of sewage backflow. Before and during the repair works, my team and I approached several members of the Kowloon City District Council and reported the work progress to the residents and shop owners affected by the incident. We were grateful for the understanding shown by all parties concerned, even though half of the Bulkeley Street had to be enclosed for the repair works, which were sometimes carried out in the small hours. The repair works were completed smoothly, and the effort of my team was commended by local District Council members." For more details of The Ombudsman’s Awards 2020, please visit the Office of The Ombudsman website.
The Tung Chung New Town Extension (TCNTE) is the first new town project via reclamation since 2003, following the completion of the last phase of reclamation of the new town development projects in Tseung Kwan O and Tung Chung. The project has adopted the latest environmentally-friendly reclamation technology – the non-dredged “Deep Cement Mixing” (DCM) method, which reduces the impact on water quality and marine ecology nearby and takes a time shorter than the traditional reclamation method would have taken to complete the works. The Under Secretary for Development, Mr Liu Chun-san, paid a visit to the reclamation site in Tung Chung and was briefed by colleagues from the Sustainable Lantau Office (SLO) on the details of the new reclamation technology and the eco-friendly construction approach.Forming 130 hectares of landThe TCNTE project covers the areas on the eastern and western flanks of the existing Tung Chung New Town. Reclamation is mainly carried out in Tung Chung East, forming 130 hectares of land, which is equivalent to the size of about six Victoria Parks. According to Chief Engineer of the SLO, Mr Wong Kwok-fai, Alfred, the reclamation works, commencing at the end of December 2017, are in good progress. The first parcel of land formed by reclamation was handed over to the Housing Department for housing development in March 2020, a process which took less than 30 months to complete, for construction of about 10 000 public housing units. Besides, an eco-shoreline design will first be adopted along the 4.9-kilometre-long seawall in the project to improve the coastal ecosystem and enhance biodiversity. The whole reclamation project is expected to be accomplished in 2023. Non-dredged reclamation methodTung Chung East reclamation is the first public works project using the DCM method for reclamation where no dredging or removal of marine mud on the seabed is involved.The Contractor’s Senior Resident Engineer, Mr Cheung Kin-wai, Chris explains that the DCM method involves the injection of cement slurry from works vessels into marine mud by “mixing” them together. Each works vessel can carry up to 480 tonnes of cement. In the course of the mixing process, three sets of mixing shafts on the works vessel auger into the marine mud layer, mixing the cement slurry with the soft marine mud while rotating. The marine mud will be solidified to form a strong and hard cement mixing column. These cement mixing columns will form a DCM treatment zone in the seabed to support the seawall to be constructed above and fill materials to be deposited. Reducing the environmental impact of the worksSenior Geotechnical Engineer of the SLO, Mr Cheung Kin-tak, Henry, says in comparison with the traditional dredged reclamation method, the DCM method does not involve the removal and transport of marine mud, and whereby can reduce the dispersion of suspended particles in water and effectively lower the impact on the water quality and marine ecology in the nearby waters. In addition, since no sea transport is required for dumping of marine mud, it helps reduce carbon emissions. Taking the works in Tung Chung East as an example, it eliminates dumping of marine mud by 4.4 million cubic metres and marine traffic by 17 600 vessel-trips. Turning construction waste into land resourcesThe reclamation project in Tung Chung East includes a recycling element as well. Inert construction waste from construction works is used as reclamation filling materials, turning waste intended for disposal into valuable land resources. The so-called inert construction waste refers to the construction and demolition materials generated from excavation and demolition procedures during construction, such as concrete, asphalt, stones, etc., which are collectively known as public fill. Currently, the whole reclamation project is about halfway to completion. Regarding the mix of fill materials, 60 percent of the materials are inert construction waste while the remaining 40 percent are manufactured sand. When the reclamation is completed, the final figure is expected to be about 70 percent of the fill materials being inert construction waste with the rest being manufactured sand. Implementing various mitigation measuresOne of the challenges of this reclamation project is how to conduct monitoring and quality management in the reclamation area. Mr Chris Cheung says that to ensure there will be no environmental impact from the works, the project team has implemented various mitigation measures, including setting up vertical steel barriers and silt curtains along the periphery of the reclamation site to prevent the outflow of silt particles and to minimise the impact on water quality. The project team has also put in place the Environmental Team and Independent Environmental Checker to conduct seawater sampling and testing regularly for monitoring the water quality. This will ensure that the marine ecology will not be affected. Other mitigation measures include using quality powered mechanical equipment and protective noise barriers to keep the noise generated from the works under control.The TCNTE project is one of the major initiatives of the Government's multi-pronged approach to increase land supply in the medium to long term. It will also allow Tung Chung to further develop into a comprehensively-planned new town with a large population capacity and adequate local and regional community facilities. During the course of construction, the project team has been actively communicating with relevant stakeholders, local community and residents, concern groups and green groups with a view to striking a balance between development and conservation for achieving sustainable development. (The video is in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)
Sea-faring on sea-going vessels is a specialised field requiring professional nautical knowledge and professional qualifications. One can gain extensive practical knowledge and visit different countries to broaden his/her horizons by working on board a sea-going vessel.Take container vessels as an example. Each container vessel requires approximately 18 to 24 crew members. The Captain is the head of the vessel who takes charge of both the deck and engineering departments.ProspectThe seafaring career carries a clear progression pathway and good remuneration. Having accumulated sufficient sea-going experience, seafarers may also turn to the shored-based professional maritime services sector, including maritime law and arbitration, ship management, ship finance, marine insurance and shipbroking, for further career development. These sectors have a great demand for talent with sea-going experience. Entry Requirement To become a Marine Engineer Officer, one must first complete recognised maritime programmes and the specified pre-sea training, and serve as a cadet in the engineering department to receive training on board a sea-going vessel. Having completed the 1-year integrated workshop skills training and obtained sufficient sea-going experience, the cadet may apply for the examination for a Certificate of Competency (Marine Engineer Officer) (Sea-going) Class 3. Upon passing the examination, the cadet will be eligible to serve as a third engineer or fourth engineer. The subsequent examinations for Certificate of Competencies (Marine Engineer Officer) Classes 2 and 1 require additional sea-going experience of 12 months and 24 months respectively. After obtaining the Class 1 certificate, the officer is eligible to serve as a chief engineer.The video below introduces the entry requirements, work environment, career prospects and career pathway of the Marine Engineer Officers of seagoing vessels. For more details, please visit the website of Hong Kong Maritime and Port Board.
The Government has been encouraging the works departments to better utilise innovation and technology to boost productivity, improve built quality and enhance site safety. As early as 2015, the Drainage Services Department (DSD) started applying Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology to works projects to enhance the design and construction process. In 2018, the DSD set up the BiM@D Technology and Training Centre to further promote digital technology. In the paragraphs below an engineer of the DSD will introduce how the centre facilities can help review and improve project planning and design so as to deliver higher-quality wastewater treatment and stormwater drainage services to the public.Introducing BIM technologyIn recent years, the DSD has proactively promoted and employed BIM technology and related information technology for the planning, design and implementation of works projects. Electrical and Mechanical Engineer of the DSD, Mr Ian Leung, says that when compared with hand-drawn or computer-aided two-dimensional (2-D) plans, the BIM technology can present the design of the whole project in a three-dimensional (3-D) format, which is particularly important to drainage facilities that generally involve the design of more complex building structures and mechanical and electrical installations, BIM enables the project team to grasp every project detail more accurately.Overcoming graphical limitations and time-space constraintsBesides, BIM technology can accurately present the construction methods and workflows in sequential order, giving project staff a better understanding of the construction plans. Currently, several sewage treatment plants of the DSD are undergoing in-situ renovation. Staff members are adopting BIM technology to examine various structures of the buildings to check if there are any incompatibilities in the construction processes, monitor if the projects are implemented as scheduled and change the construction sequence if needed. Various professionals – architects, engineers and construction workers can overcome graphical limitations and time-space constraints by coming together in the same virtual space to discuss project design and construction details in a coordinated manner, so as to achieve an early resolution of all types of issues and raise the construction quality and efficiency. Advanced Virtual Reality CAVELocated in the Revenue Tower in Wan Chai, the DSD’s BiM@D is equipped with a Cave Automatic Virtual Environment (CAVE) system. The system, together with BIM technology, can present project design and construction site environment in a 3-D format, providing a highly realistic and vivid 3-D visual space that takes users virtually to the site. More importantly, the system allows the project team to grasp all sorts of information of the works project and surrounding environment more easily and accurately. Furthermore, as multiple users are allowed to “enter” the virtual environment at the same time, communication with the stakeholders can be enhanced.Point Cloud Technology for 3-D Scanning and SurveyingMr Ian Leung also introduces to us the use of the innovative Point Cloud technology to help with the planning and design of drainage projects. As he explains, the Point Cloud data acquired by colleagues of the Survey Section with 3-D laser equipment for scanning and photogrammetric surveying seem like a group of white dots at first glance when presented in CAVE. However, with specially made eyeglasses and the use of the BIM model, the site and its surroundings can be reproduced in detail accurately, which can help the project team plan the locations and alignment of the drainage pipes. This technology is vital to the planning of the village sewerage system since some areas in villages are rather narrow and the construction sites are very close to the residential areas. The application of Point Cloud technology can reduce the need for surveying and speed up construction progress.Application of the Internet of ThingsIn recent years, the DSD has also adopted the technology of the Internet of Things (IoT). In 2019, the Flood Control Section of the DSD and the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD) jointly launched a trial scheme to develop a Smart Drainage – Flood Monitoring System in Sha Tin and Tai Po with the application of the Government-wide Internet of Things (IOT) Network (GWIN). The result has been very good. The department has decided to further extend the system to 10 locations that are susceptible to storm surges and overtopping waves.Innovation and technology will continue to develop and make progress in the future. The works departments will continue to proactively explore the application of innovation and technology at different levels and works stages, so as to help different experts grasp real-time data of the construction sites and related facilities more accurately to enhance construction quality and manage works projects more effectively, thereby benefiting members of the public. (The video is in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)
With its unique environment, Lantau has a wealth of natural and cultural resources. The Government promulgated the Sustainable Lantau Blueprint in 2017 with “Development in the North; Conservation for the South” as the principle to promote sustainable development of Lantau. In the paragraphs below staff members from the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) will talk about the planning and promotion of green living in Lantau. The Chairperson of the Lantau Conservation Fund (LCF) Advisory Committee, Prof. Leung Mei-yee, Kenneth, will also talk about the support provided under the LCF for promoting conservation and minor local improvement works in the hope of raising awareness of conservation of Lantau and encouraging participation from members of the public, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and the local communities.Green city with sustainable developmentEngineer of the Sustainable Lantau Office (SLO) of the CEDD, Ms Wong Tsz-wai, Kristy, says that in order to realise the vision of a green city with sustainable development in Lantau, the SLO is proactively carrying out work in various aspects. Taking the Tung Chung East Extension area as an example, land will be reserved for a waterfront promenade approximately 4.9 kilometres in length and eco-shorelines will also be adopted to enhance biodiversity by providing a suitable habitat for marine species. In future, a river park will be built at the Tung Chung Stream to improve the local environment and promote water-friendly culture and ecological education, with a view to fostering a quality living environment. The Lantau Conservation and Recreation MasterplanIn addition, under the principle of “Development in the North; Conservation for the South” and according to the characteristics of different areas of Lantau, the SLO has formulated the Lantau Conservation and Recreation Masterplan (the Masterplan) to provide a guiding framework for conservation and recreation initiatives. For example, there used to be a cluster of old villages in Northwest Lantau. To preserve the cultural setting of the area, the Office is commissioning studies by phases to understand the cultural and historical elements of the rural villages in Lantau. Besides, for the South Lantau coast, with abundant green and blue assets such as the Pui O wetland, Shui Hau sandflat and beaches along the coastline, its eco-recreation potential can be further enhanced. In accordance with the Masterplan, various attractions, activities and event bases will be linked up by hiking trails, bike trail network as well as water and road transport. The 100-kilometre Round-the-Lantau RouteAccording to Mr Lam Kwun-wang, Henry, Engineer of the SLO, the SLO hopes to develop Lantau into a place that offers a good variety of eco-recreation outlets, so that it will become a getaway popular with the public. For example, the expansion of the network of mountain bike trails (MBTs) in Mui Wo, the construction of a practice ground in Mui Wo, and the expansion of the network of MBTs in Chi Ma Wan have been substantially completed, with a view to enhancing the existing South Lantau MBTs. Meanwhile, the SLO has commenced a study on the improvement of Lantau’s hiking trails and trail network, with the aim of integrating the existing and to-be-built hiking trails in Lantau into a Round-the-Lantau Route with a total length of about 100 kilometres. Lantau Conservation FundIt was announced in The Chief Executive’s 2018 Policy Address that a $1 billion LCF would be set up to support projects that would contribute to the overall conservation of Lantau. The Chairperson of the LCF Advisory Committee, Prof. Kenneth Leung, explains that the LCF consists of two parts: $500 million for minor local improvement works and $500 million for conservation and related projects. The former will be spent on various minor local improvement works to be carried out by the Government on government land in Lantau, with a view to conserving or enhancing the Lantau environment, such as enhancing the accessibility to rural areas, and enhancement and rehabilitation of the natural environment, habitats and buildings. The first batch of minor local improvement works will be carried out in the first half of this year (2021) at the earliest. (The video is in Cantonese) Funding for conservation and related projectsConservation and related projects cover the natural environment, ecology, culture, history, rural character, landscape, geomorphology and other relevant elements. Prof. Kenneth Leung says that quite a lot of land of ecological significance in Lantau is privately owned. In order to enhance the effectiveness of conservation, the LCF encourages collaboration among NGOs, the community and landowners to carry out projects in areas such as nature conservation, cultural conservation or village revitalisation; undertake conservation-related scientific research, or culture and local history research; and implement conservation-related activities for community involvement, education and promotion.Application for the first round of conservation and related projects began in December 2020. Vetting results are expected to be announced by the third quarter of 2021. Institutions or organisations interested in applying for funding can visit LCF’s website.
Innovation and technology development is a dominant global trend. The Government has been encouraging the construction industry to adopt new technologies. Under the ongoing implementation of the Kai Tak Development (KTD), the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) is now constructing a pedestrian subway linking Shing Kai Road and Choi Hung Estate to facilitate pedestrian access between Kai Tak and its neighbourhood. The project has introduced the Rectangular Tunnel Boring Machine (RTBM) technology for the first time to enhance works safety and efficiency. The boring works have been successfully completed and here colleagues of the CEDD will share with us this new technology and how to use it to overcome various challenges of the project.The project is challengingThe pedestrian subway has a total length of 140 metres, with a height of 2.8 metres and a width of 3.9 metres. Project Manager of the East Development Office of the CEDD, Mr LEUNG Chung-lap, Michael, says the subway passes through the busiest traffic routes in East Kowloon, such as the flyover of the Kwun Tong Bypass and Prince Edward Road East. It also has to weave around the piles of the flyover without affecting its foundation structure, and pass closely through major underground utilities, including large-scale stormwater box culverts, district cooling system pipes, large diameter sewers and fresh water pipes, as well as high voltage power lines. The project is, therefore, full of challenges. Introduction of the first RTBMMr Michael LEUNG says the conventional tunnelling method of installing temporary support while excavating on-site is associated with relatively high risks. After detailed consideration, the CEDD has decided to introduce the first RTBM to Hong Kong for the project. The new technology is wholly operated by mechanical means to eliminate manual digging, enhance works safety and improve the working environment while it can also reduce the impacts of excavation works on surrounding facilities. Besides, since the tunnel segments are prefabricated off-site, it not only enhances the quality and efficiency but also saves the construction time needed. 90-tonne cutterhead to bore into the subwayRegarding the subway boring process, the CEDD’s Senior Engineer, Mr CHU Chi-hong, Keith, says the workers are to first construct a launching shaft for the installation of hydraulic jacks, a cradle and the RTBM. After that, the prefabricated tunnel segments are hoisted individually into the launching shaft and placed on the cradle therein. The hydraulic jacks would then push each segment forward until it is up against the previous one already in place in the boring machine. Meanwhile, the cutterhead of about 90 tonnes, which is equivalent to the total weight of about four fully loaded double-decked buses, started to operate and bore forward. This procedure repeats until the cutterhead has reached the receiving shaft at the other end of the tunnel. Computerised Auto-control SystemMr Keith CHU tells us that the whole tunnelling system is equipped with a computerised control system. The system monitors the speed of the RTBM’s main cutter disk and four auxiliary cutter disks, the propulsion speed of the hydraulic jacks, as well as directional positioning and earth pressure balance on a real-time basis throughout the process, thereby preventing ground loss and seepage during excavation to ensure the surrounding facilities are not affected by the works. The entire subway is formed by 92 segments, each weighing about 30 tonnes. These tunnel segments are prefabricated at the yard set up by the CEDD at Muk On Street adjacent to the site for easier transportation, better productivity and enhanced quality. Linking the past with the futureFollowing the successful excavation works, the entire subway is scheduled for completion in the middle of 2021. It is really encouraging to know that the next project, a pedestrian subway linking the KTD to Kowloon City, will also apply the RTBM technology. Construction has also begun already. The experience gained from this first use of the RTBM will serve as good reference for the new project. (The video is broadcasted in Cantonese)
(The photo is provided by Information Services Department) The Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Link Northern Connection opened to traffic on 27 December 2020. With the Southern Connection which has been commissioned since 2018, it forms a strategic route connecting the Northwest New Territories with the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge Hong Kong Port as well as the Hong Kong International Airport and North Lantau. The 5.5km Northern Connection comprises a 5km Tuen Mun-Chek Lap Kok Tunnel stretching from Tuen Mun South to the Hong Kong Port. It will shorten the travel distance between Tuen Mun South and the airport by around 22km and the journey time by around 20 minutes. Hong Kong’s longest tunnelThe tunnel is the longest and deepest subsea road tunnel in Hong Kong. Excavating a tunnel with a diameter of a six-storey building was the Government’s biggest challenge. The team used innovative methods and techniques to overcome a number of difficulties when constructing the tunnel. Engineer Ken Cheng was assigned to handle the mega project right after he joined the Highways Department. “I am honoured to be a part of the construction team. It was a challenge and good opportunity for me as this is the largest project I have ever handled in my career.” What impressed him the most was being able to use massive tunnel boring machines (TBMs). (The photo is provided by Information Services Department) This is the first time Hong Kong deployed large-diameter TBMs for tunnel excavation beneath the seabed. One of the TBMs the team deployed was the world’s largest, with a diameter of 17.6m. Equipped with a rotating steel cutterhead at the front, the machine is designed to pass through different types of soil or rock. It can also excavate under pressurised condition. He said as compared to the traditional immersed tube method, the use of TBMs for the subsea tunnel construction greatly reduced the dredging and disposal of around 11 million cu m of marine sediment - an amount equivalent to the size of around 4,900 standard-size swimming pools. Innovative techniqueThe adoption of TBMs also saved the need to divert the power cables which are now serving the airport and greatly lessened the impact of construction on the environment. The tunnel’s deepest section is about 60m below sea level. When boring underneath the seabed, specialist hyperbaric workers had to carry out daily maintenance works and overcome an atmospheric pressure nearly six times greater than that at the surface. Nevertheless, workers’ safety had been ensured and the risk of decompression illness greatly lowered, thanks to the provision of special habitats. Ken explained that pressurised living chambers were available to accommodate the workers’ 28-day work cycle. Workers were transferred by pressurised shuttles to the excavation chamber to conduct their work and transferred back to the ground surface after working hours. They were also able to eat and rest inside the pressurised living chambers. The tunnel is also the first in Hong Kong to include a service gallery underneath its carriageway. The service gallery houses utilities which comprise drainage pipes, the fire services system, power supplies and signal control systems. (The photo is provided by Information Services Department) Highways Department Senior Engineer Liz Li pointed out that this arrangement allows more flexibility for regular maintenance. “It enables part of the daily maintenance work of utilities to be carried out at the same time the tunnel is in operation. The tunnel does not need to close even if there are emergency repairs. Hence, it minimises disruptions to the public," added Liz. Momentous milestone in lifeLiz has been working for the Government for 10 years and said this is the largest project she has ever worked on. She also faced challenges during the process that she described as an unforgettable experience. “Due to the outbreak of COVID-19 this year, the supply chain of construction materials and the installation had been affected and the number of workers had also been reduced. “We had to work closely with the project team to solve the problems, such as sourcing alternative materials in order to minimise the impact on the project," she recalled. Both Liz and Ken are pleased to see the construction of the tunnel finished and looking forward to celebrating its official opening on 27 December 2020. (The photo is provided by Information Services Department) Ken is eager to take his family on a tour of the tunnel. “I feel very proud that I took part in this project as it will bring convenience to the public and benefits to Hong Kong. I believe my kids will be proud of me when they know their father participated in this mega project," said Ken.
In case of highly imaginative architectural designs, the Structural Architect will, through precise mechanics calculations, ensure compliance with safety standards and retain aesthetic value. For example, owing to the large-span curved roof and column-free design of the Ma On Shan indoor sports centre, coupled with other environmental constraints, it finally took a series of design adjustments to fix the problems. To be a Structural Architect, one should not only be well versed in physics and mathematics, but also have meticulous logical thinking ability. What’s most important is the determination to solve problems. Organisation chart
The design and maintenance of the necessities of life in a modernised building, such as daily provision of water and electricity, elevator and air-conditioning services, as well as emergency fire and security systems, are the responsibilities of the Building Services Engineer. To meet today’s requirements, it is also necessary for the Building Services Engineer to address the need for environmental protection. While saving money on water and electricity bills, however, he or she must also try to minimise inconveniences to the users. Building Services Engineers have also begun using energy-saving light bulbs, solar and wind power generating facilities, etc., to fulfil the needs of both modern living and environmental protection. Since it is a Building Services Engineer’s job to design the right equipment for a building, he or she should have strong organisational skills, a logical mind, and profound knowledge in science to properly evaluate various requirements, for example, the electrical system requirements. He or she should also have the drive for innovation to satisfy the needs of modern living. Organisation chart
The Government has earlier put forward a Pier Improvement Programme (PIP) to improve the facilities of public piers in remote areas to facilitate the public and tourists to access outing destinations and natural heritage sites, and to respond to local requests for meeting the basic needs of villagers that rely on boats as their main transport mode and supporting fishermen’s operation. 10 pier improvement projects in the first phaseAt present, there are more than 100 public piers in Hong Kong. Although the Government has been carrying out regular inspections and maintenance to ensure structural integrity of these piers, some of them require the soonest improvement as they are starting to age after being in service for years, or because they are unable to cope with the current operational needs. Apart from enhancing the structural integrity of the piers in phases, the PIP will also improve existing facilities and provide ancillary facilities. The first phase covers 10 remote public piers in the New Territories and outlying islands, including those located within the Hong Kong UNESCO Global Geopark at Tung Ping Chau, Lai Chi Wo, Sham Chung, Lai Chi Chong, High Island, etc.The CEDD has already carried out technical feasibility studies and preliminary designs for the pier improvement projects under the first phase of the PIP. Environmental impact assessments are in progress for some projects located within environmentally sensitive areas like marine parks. Reconstruction of Pak Kok Pier on Lamma IslandThe Pak Kok Pier is located at the northern part of Lamma Island. The pier was first built by villagers and reconstructed in the 1970s and 1990s. Now used by around 400 ferry passengers daily, the pier does not allow for a gangplank to be placed due to its primitive design. Instead, boats can only berth head-on for passengers to embark and disembark at the bow, leaving the boats susceptible to rough sea conditions. The berthing situation is unsatisfactory and reconstruction is called for an improvement.According to the engineer of the CEDD Ms Eunice HUI, the existing Pak Kok Pier will maintain normal operation during reconstruction. Upon commissioning, the new pier will not only provide more berthing spaces but also allow boats to berth side-on, making boarding and alighting easier and safer. Besides, the new pier will come with new design and ancillary facilities, such as a roof cover, a ramp, seats, WiFi, a drinking fountain, etc.Striving to advance the implementation of the second phaseThe CEDD has consulted local communities and stakeholders on the first phase of the PIP. The public have shown welcome and support to the PIP, and some have suggested expanding its scale and accelerating its implementation. Villagers expecting the works to commence soonThe indigenous inhabitant representative, Mr CHOW Hing-fook, who has been living in Pak Kok San Tsuen for more than 75 years, says the Pak Kok Pier is rather dilapidated after years of usage and villagers are looking forward to its reconstruction. In his opinion, as the new pier is designed by professionals, its facilities will provide convenient access for old villagers, while wheelchair users can wheel up to the side of a boat to get aboard. Trusting that the new pier will be very useful to villagers, he hopes the works will commence as soon as possible.Hong Kong is home to the world-famous Geopark, marine parks, historical heritage, and eco-tourism attractions, which are well-received among tourists. Some of the piers after improvement can not only facilitate residents in remote areas to travel, but also support green tourism advocated by the Government, including cultural tourism, geo-tourism and eco-tourism, so as to enhance the public’s understanding and appreciation of the outing destinations and natural heritage. (The video is broadcasted in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)
Colleagues from the Mines Division of the Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO) of the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) will take us to Lam Tei Quarry in Tuen Mun, which is the only existing quarry operating in Hong Kong, to appreciate the quarry operation and the work of the Mines Division in supervising the use of explosives for “mountain cutting and rock breaking” (rock blasting and breaking) in the quarry.Lam Tei Quarry was established in the 1960’s and has operated under contract since 1982. The quarry is located about 3 km north of Tuen Mun New Town, covering an area of about 30 hectares. According to the Senior Geotechnical Engineer of the Mines Division, Mr HUNG Kin-chung, Roy, the quarry has been operating for about 40 years, presently accounting for 5% of the total supply of rock products used in Hong Kong. Operation of Lam Tei Quarry is scheduled for completion in 2023, when the site will be released for development use.Quarry not only to produce rock productsA quarry can produce about 70,000 tonnes of rock products each month. Following drilling and blasting of a rock mass, the blasted rock will be carried by trucks/conveyors from the blast location to rock crushers for crushing, screening and sorting into aggregates or other rock products in different sizes for construction uses, including production of concrete and asphalt.Aggregates are essential for the production of concrete and asphalt. Integrating the production lines of concrete and asphalt with quarrying as a one-stop operation in a quarry can achieve a better efficiency in handling/moving of rock aggregates for processing to the concrete or asphalt. It also saves time, lowers costs and reduces carbon emissions. Besides, quarries can also help to receive the surplus rock generated from local construction projects and recycling it into useful aggregates and other rock products. From manual stone breaking to rock blastingQuarrying in old days was labour intensive. Workers would have to manually break up a large rock blocks, using hammers, chisels and steel wedges, into aggregates in different sizes for use, the process of which is called “stone breaking”. At that time, limited considerations were given to the safety and health of workers, as well as the environmental impact of the quarry operations. However, the situation has improved since the 1960s when the Government enacted new regulations to better control the use of explosives and the workplace safety in quarries.Stone breaking is no longer used in quarrying. Nowadays, “controlled blasting” will be used for rock extraction from a rock mass. According to the Explosives Officer 1 of Mines Division, Mr TSE Wai-tong, the current blasting techniques have been well developed to make blasting safe and efficient. Nevertheless, quarry operators are required to apply for and obtain approval from Mines Division for blasting to ensure that the blast design, arrangement and monitoring plan are in line with the safety and environmental standards prior to the proposed blast.Mr TSE Wai-tong also pointed out that no matter how big a blast is, its impact cannot be ignored and safety issues should never be discarded. Protective measures such as blasting cages and vertical screens would have to be provided at the blast locations, with a view to protecting against flyrock (projected rock fragments) affecting workers and adjacent facilities.Mitigation of environmental impactsAccording to Senior Explosives Officer of the Mines Division, Mr LEUNG Pak-ming, before the cartridge explosives and detonators are placed in predrilled blast holes at the blast location, the Mines Division will deliver the required explosives from the Government Explosives Depots to the site at the contractor’s request. In order to minimise the environmental impacts of vibration, air overpressure and noise due to blasting, delayed firing at each blast hole can be carried out using detonators suitably arranged at different time delays.According to Mr LEUNG Pak-ming, blasting is required for rock excavation in many infrastructure projects involving site formation works, tunneling, etc. In order to facilitate blasting by early morning, colleagues may have to start work in the early hours after midnight. Regarding the working environment, they may have to work underground (e.g. in deep excavations or tunnels) where the environment is hot and stuffy. The discomfort, particularly when carrying heavy equipment, is beyond description.Whether the Anderson Road Quarry, which has just accomplished its historical mission, or Lam Tei Quarry, being the only quarry still operating, many workers have taken part in the activities of “mountain cutting and rock breaking”. (The video is broadcasted in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)
"My grandpa and uncle are engineers. As a kid, they nurtured my interest in this area. Back then, whenever I saw tunnels, I found them so remarkable. I was always wondering why a tunnel would not collapse." Geotechnical Engineer, Civil Engineering and Development Department, Fung Ka-wing told us."Hong Kong has lots of mountains and little flat land, and the population density is high. Every year, the Geotechnical Engineering Office receives about 300 reports on landslides." "Once, I arrived at a landslide site and I received a message at the same time that Super Typhoon Mangkhut would approach Hong Kong soon. I urged the villagers to move out temporarily as it was very dangerous. At first, the villagers did not listen to my recommendation. But I explained the situation to them patiently. Finally, they accepted it."He said, "Our top priority is to ensure the safety of the general public. We believe that they can feel it too." Hong Kong has a land area of about 1,100 km2. Around 60% of the land area consists of relatively steep natural terrain. During the rainy season, landslides occur frequently, with an average of 300 reported landslides in Hong Kong each year.The Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO) of the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) has a slope safety management system in place to protect the general public from landslide hazards.When the Hong Kong Observatory issues a Landslide Warning or typhoon signal no. 8 or above, the Emergency Control Centre of the Geotechnical Engineering Office will be in operation.Over ten geotechnical engineers and technical officers will be on duty to provide geotechnical advice to government departments on handling landslide emergencies.Upon receiving landslide reports, geotechnical engineers will carry out site inspections and give advice to government departments to restore services and facilities disrupted by landslides.Geotechnical Engineer, Civil Engineering and Development Department, Ting Sui-man said, "Our top priority is to ensure the safety of the general public. If rescue work is required, we will collaborate with the Fire Services Department and provide advice to the Police on the areas to be cordoned off. We will also contact responsible works departments to carry out emergency slope works. It includes promptly covering the slopes with tarpaulin to prevent rainwater infiltration which may cause further landslides."When more serious landslides occur, the work of the geotechnical engineers will be even more hectic. In the evening of 29 August 2018, a massive landslide hit a road section of Fan Kam Road near Ta Shek Wu Tsuen. Both lanes of Fan Kam Road were closed due to inundation of debris and muddy water on the road.Geotechnical Engineer, Civil Engineering and Development Department, Fung Ka-wing said, "When I arrived at the site, the landslide debris from the hillside covered the entire road. The debris was up to knee level. I urged the villagers to move out temporarily."Resident, Angelina Yeung said, "I heard a “boom” and all of a sudden the debris rushed to near my house, and a van was bumped in. The Geotechnical Engineering Office used concrete blocks to build a barrier around the slope, covered the slope surface with tarpaulin and shotcrete the landslide scar."Angelina Yeung continued, "A lot of elderly people live here. They (CEDD) did a lot of works, some beyond their scope. They have been really helpful. And we are so grateful to them."The day after the landslide, staff of the Geotechnical Engineering Office and Survey Division visited the site again.They used drones and handheld laser scanners to quickly conduct landslide risk assessment. Detailed geographical data of the nearby natural terrain were collected, providing useful information for the design of emergency works.Geotechnical Engineer, Civil Engineering and Development Department, Choi Wai-kwok, Michael explained, "The data collected on site, i.e. the three-dimensional image, enabled our engineers to carry out landslide hazard study and to assess whether there is any immediate or long term landslide risk. Based on the estimated size and volume of potential further landslides, suitable engineering works would be carried out accordingly, such as the installation of soil nails and flexible barrier to protect Fan Kam Road at slope toe."Fan Kam Road is the main road connecting Fanling and Kam Tin. The landslide took place just before the school re-opening in September. To restore the road service as quickly as possible and to minimise disruption to the residents, the Geotechnical Engineering Office worked closely with the Highways Department. Immediate action was taken to mobilise the contractors to carry out emergency repair work at the critical location.Geotechnical Engineer, Civil Engineering and Development Department, Lo Ho-pong said, "Most of the landslide debris was accumulated at the mid-level of the hillside, posing subsequent landslide danger. The biggest challenge was how to deal with these debris. Our target was to re-open at least one lane of the road to cope with the traffic on the first day of school."He continued, "We discussed with our contractors and engineers on how to optimise the design to ensure that the construction works could be completed by 10 p.m. that night."Immediately after completion of Stage 1 emergency works, Stage 2 works was also successfully completed within the next two weeks. All these emergency works were essential for preventing more severe landslides from happening when Super Typhoon Mangkhut hit Hong Kong.Actually, there are some other works of the Geotechnical Engineering Office that are closely related to the daily life of the general public.Geotechnical Engineer, Civil Engineering and Development Department, Chu Kei-hong said, "CEDD operates 90 raingauges in Hong Kong, which account for the majority amongst all government departments. The rainfall data collected by these raingauges enable us to have a clear picture of the rainfall condition of Hong Kong. This facilitates our joint decision with the Hong Kong Observatory on the issue or cancellation of a Landslide Warning."Chief Geotechnical Engineer, Civil Engineering and Development Department, Yeung Fei, Jenny said, "We are now facing the challenge of extreme rainfall events caused by global warming. We must stay alert, and cannot slack off. We will keep striving our best to serve the public, and to protect their lives and properties from the threats of landslides." (For more details, please visit Sevice Excellence Website)
There are more than 4500 kilometres of underground stormwater drains and sewers across Hong Kong. Many of those in the old districts have been in use for over 30 years. The sewers, in particular, are more prone to ageing and deterioration due to prolonged exposure to corrosive gases brought by sewage. Drainage Services Department (DSD) has gradually rehabilitated the high-risk underground pipes by adopting a pipe repair method that requires no excavation of pipe trenches or road surfaces in order to alleviate inconvenience caused to the public during the works. Gradual rehabilitation of old pipesSerious wear and tear will cause pipe collapse and road subsidence, bringing adverse impact on traffic, environment and public safety. Since 2017, the DSD has initiated comprehensive planning for the phased investigation and rehabilitation of pipes that have been assessed to be of high risk and formulated a territory-wide replacement and rehabilitation programme. However, we have to face a number of challenges in carrying out drainage improvement works in urban areas. Hong Kong is congested not only with people and vehicles, but also with various underground utilities such as gas pipes, communication facilities and water pipes. The traditional “open trench” rehabilitation technology may inevitably affect traffic and residents. The benefit of the new trenchless technology introduced by the DSD in recent years is that pipes can be replaced and rehabilitated without the need to open up an entire road section. Only a temporary shaft is neededAccording to Engineer of the Project Management Division of the DSD, Mr CHEN Ka-yin, the trenchless pipe rehabilitation works only need to excavate a temporary shaft at an individual location to facilitate the insertion of new pipe material into an old pipe to form a new pipe. Under this method, the excavation requires less open space and a shorter duration of works, allowing traffic to resume quickly after the completion of works to minimise impacts to the public. Currently, subject to the damage of the pipes and on-site situations, the DSD mainly employs three trenchless technologies, namely cured-in-place-pipe (CIPP) lining, spirally-wound lining and slip-lining. CIPP lining technologyAccording to Mr CHEN Ka-yin, under the CIPP lining technology (that is commonly referred to as the “insertion into pig intestines” in Chinese), a soft polyester liner with a thickness of 10 to 40 millimetres is pulled into the host pipe through a “launch shaft”. The liner is then expanded and cured by steam or hot water until it hardens and forms a new pipe. This technology can be used on pipes under dry condition. In rehabilitating trunk sewers that still has water flow, we have to employ the spirally-wound lining technology instead. In this technique, a special winding machine is placed inside the pipeline to helically wind steel-reinforced polyethylene strips into circular shape to form a new pipe in the original pipe. Alternatively, the slip-lining method can also be used. As both methods are designed for the rehabilitation of running pipes, no interception is required. Slip-lining methodStanding at the construction site on Bailey Street in To Kwa Wan, Mr CHEN Ka-yin introduces the use of the slip-lining method at the site. First, a temporary shaft will be set up at an appropriate location. Part of the old pipeline will then be cut and exposed. After cleaning and inspection of the pipe, a 1.5-metre long fibreglass plastic liner will be pushed into the old or damaged pipe section by section. Then, with cement slurry filling the gap between the new and the old pipelines, a new pipe is formed. He points out that although a fibreglass plastic liner looks relatively thin, its structural strength is equal to that of a concrete pipe and its lifespan is up to 40 to 50 years. Planning for stage 2 worksAs the rehabilitation works of all stormwater drains and sewers in Hong Kong involves 18 districts, over the course of four months, colleagues of the DSD visited each of the districts to consult the relevant District Council committees and explain project details to stakeholders, so as to give an early start to the projects. Stage 1 works had begun and are scheduled for completion in 2022. Stage 2 works are scheduled to start in 2020 to conduct condition survey and rehabilitation of stormwater drains and sewers in six districts, including Tsuen Wan, Sham Shui Po and Yau Tsim Mong. (The video is broadcasted in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)
In Hong Kong, the rainy season generally starts in April. In order to further reduce flood risks during rainstorms, the Drainage Services Department (DSD) has introduced the “just-in-time clearance” arrangement this year. It has also adopted new technologies in using a new remote-controlled desilting robot for silt clearing works at box culverts to enhance the efficiency of desilting works. Preventing silt accumulation from affecting the drainage capacityHong Kong faces an average rainfall of about 2 400 millimetres a year, one of the highest among cities in the Pacific Rim. According to Mr POON Tin-yau, an engineer of the DSD, when stormwater is discharged into the sea through box culverts, the washed-off sand, stones and dust will accumulate gradually at the drains to form silt, which will in turn affect the drainage capacity and may lead to flooding in the most serious cases. To avoid the above situation, the department inspects the box culverts on a regular basis and arranges the desilting works if necessary to ensure that the drains are functioning properly. Operating as a vacuum cleanerEarly this year, a new remote-controlled desilting robot was introduced into the DSD. The DSD conducted a pilot test on the use of the robot for desilting works at the box culverts in Sham Shui Po and Tsuen Wan with its functions monitored. The robot will be lifted up with a crane and sent into the box culvert concerned through its opening. With the help of closed-circuit television and sonic survey, the operator can then observe the conditions inside the box culvert and remotely operate the robot for desilting from his workstation. Mr POON Tin-yau says that the robot, measuring approximately 3 metres in length, and 1.5 metres in both width and height, works similarly to a vacuum cleaner. Once the silt is sucked by the robot, it will be pumped to a temporary silt container on the ground through a tube connected to the robot. The silt will be transported to a landfill only after dewatering. Enhancing work safetyAccording to the traditional desilting method, workers need to go into the box culverts for installation and operation of desilting devices. Given that box culverts are confined spaces, workers working inside will face certain safety risks. The traditional method also requires interception of water flow in the culverts to allow workers to work in an environment without water flowing through, which means the work is limited mostly to dry seasons. On the contrary, the remote-controlled desilting robot can take over diving tasks to spare workers from going into confined and submerged space of the box culverts. Apart from enhancing work safety, the use of the robot allows desilting works in rainy seasons, which in turn will expedite the progress of such works, lower the costs and significantly improve the desilting efficiency. Implementation of the “just-in-time clearance” arrangementFurthermore, the DSD had analysed more than 200 flooding cases between 2017 and 2019, finding that more than 60 percent of them were due to blockage of drains by litter, fallen leaves or other washouts carried by surface runoff. This year, the department will implement the “just-in-time clearance” arrangement. Before the onset of a rainstorm, staff will be deployed to inspect about 200 drain locations in the territory which are susceptible to blockage by litter, fallen leaves or the like, and will immediately arrange for clearance if necessary. The department will also send staff to inspect and clear all major drainage intakes and river channels to prevent blockage after a rainstorm or when a typhoon signal is about to be lowered so as to prepare for the challenges of further rainstorms. Constructing more underground stormwater storage tanksApart from strengthening the responsive management measures before and after rainstorms, the DSD will continue to press ahead with its flood prevention strategy, which includes constructing more underground stormwater storage tanks to collect and temporarily store excessive rainwater during rainstorms, thus reducing the loading at downstream drains and the consequential flood risks. At present, six locations are under planning, including Shek Kip Mei Park, Tai Hang Tung Recreation Ground (extension), the Urban Council Centenary Garden in Tsim Sha Tsui, as well as Sau Nga Road Playground, Kwun Tong Ferry Pier Square and Hoi Bun Road Park in Kwun Tong District. (The video is broadcasted in Cantonese) (The video is provided by Development Bureau)
A Shift Charge Engineer is mainly deployed on assisting a Chief Engineer/Senior Engineer in supervising the operation and maintenance of engineering plants in hospital, workshops, sewage treatment facilities or other engineering plants in the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department or in other departments. Organisation chart
Aircraft Engineer of Government Flying Service, Wing, "The most important quality of an Aircraft Engineer of Government Flying Service is a calm and sophisticated mind. We are always faced with unexpected challenges and aircraft breakdowns, which require us to make quick and precise decisions based on thoughtful judgements." Please watch the video for more information about job duties, career path etc. of Aircraft Engineer of Government Flying Service. Organisation chartOfficial recruitment page
Owing to its mountainous terrain, Hong Kong is predisposed to flooding and landslides. Protecting our citizens from these natural hazards is the job of not only the disciplinary forces, but also the geotechnical engineers, who are responsible for monitoring every landslide black spot to make high-precision assessment of landslides. Striving to protect the lives of local citizens, Jenny Yeung demonstrates how women can equal men in their fearless performance as geotechnical engineers in the face of the dangers of natural disasters. Organisation chartOfficial recruitment page
To many, being an engineer simply requires an aptitude for making complex calculations and wholehearted commitment to construction site work. However, Sunny Sun, a civil engineer at the Civil Engineering and Development Department, will tell you that his job involves not only working on construction sites, but also reaching out to the public, so that in the planning process he can contribute to building our city with a human touch. Organisation chartOfficial recruitment page
"If I work as a structural engineer in a private consultancy firm, my everyday routines would be full of numbers, building plans and site inspections. However, in the Buildings Department, I am responsible for the entire life cycle of a private building - from construction to completion." T K, Structural Engineer of Buildings Department. Please watch our video to find out more information about the work of Structural Engineer of Buildings Department and its career prospect. Organisation chartOfficial recruitment page