Government works projects win BIM awards
To enhance productivity and cost-effectiveness of the construction industry, the Government has been proactively promoting innovative construction methods and application of advanced technology. In the past few years, more than 40 Government pilot projects adopted the Building Information Modeling (BIM) technology. One of them, the advance works project for the expansion of Shek Wu Hui sewage treatment works conducted by the Drainage Services Department (DSD), recently won an industry award in recognition of its efforts in adopting innovative technologies in building design. So, what are the benefits of BIM technology to the construction industry? I have invited a young engineer to share with us the adoption of BIM technology in works projects.
Earlier, the Under Secretary for Development, Mr LIU Chun-san, and I attended an award presentation ceremony and a forum on the application of BIM respectively. We are glad to see the active participation and the support of the construction sector. BIM is a new technology that allows construction professionals to carry out design and construction works in a virtual environment. By adopting this technology, changes in the construction process can be avoided and risks can be reduced, meaning project costs for various stages can be projected with more accuracy. BIM is not just a 3D drawing tool but a new tool to holistically manage the whole project life cycle, from planning and design to construction, and all the way to operation and maintenance at a later stage. It enables the professionals participating in the same project, such as architects, engineers and members of the construction industry, to communicate with each other, make co-ordinations, adjust construction processes, and resolve problems on the same digital platform.
At the forum, the Chairman of the Hong Kong Institute of Building Information Modeling (HKIBIM), Dr CHAN Kang-yuen, Neo, said that there are many new developments and opportunities for Hong Kong after the introduction of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao “Greater Bay Area” and China’s “belt and road” initiative. BIM technology will have more development potential for works projects in the Asia-Pacific region. He also announced the official launch of the E-badge Program for HKIBIM members to allow employers to identify members and have a better understanding of the system of BIM and professional qualifications.
More accurate information to improve construction efficiency
Here, let me introduce the DSD team that has just received the award. The Shek Wu Hui Sewage Treatment Works, located in New Territories North, Hong Kong, commenced operation in 1984. As the facility was utilised near to capacity, the Government decided in 2015 to expand and upgrade the original sewage treatment works in-situ. An Engineer of the DSD’s Sewerage Projects Division, Mr. LEUNG Ho-kwun, Michael, said that in order to provide a clearer picture of the building structure and the electrical and mechanical (E&M) equipment of the treatment works, the team used BIM to extend the limits of 2D drawings and visualise in detail the complex internal structure and the E&M components in 3D and 4D formats with more accurate information on locations and construction sequence, thus improving construction efficiency. It can also help identify and correct design and construction errors in the early phases to avoid delays and extra costs.
Apart from the design and construction stages, the project team also expanded BIM’s functions for future management and maintenance of the facility, including the simulation of future operations and maintenance to provide comprehensive records and technical information. Based on its successful application in the project, the team believes BIM has been proven viable for large scale infrastructure projects in Hong Kong. The project has given rise to new ideas on BIM application as well.
Encouraging the industry to follow
The wider use of BIM in the design and construction stages of construction projects can enhance cross-disciplinary co-ordination and reduce waste arising from future construction work, thereby improving productivity. I understand that BIM technology is sufficiently known in the local construction industry and actively adopted in various projects. Starting from 2018, the Government will adopt BIM technology in the design and construction of major capital works projects, and encourage its use for private works projects.
The Government will, as always, heed the concerns of the industry on the adoption of this technology, and collaborate with the Construction Industry Council to provide facilities and support in various aspects, including the provision of training courses, formulation of BIM technical standards, and establishment of the BIM Innovation and Development Centre for the industry.
The world has entered the digital era and the construction industry is no exception. Related enterprises and personnel should keep pace with the times to prepare for the adoption of BIM technology as early as possible. Let us work together to promote the continuous development of the construction industry, so that we can elevate Hong Kong to a new level and a new stage in the areas of project design, project management, construction safety and environmental protection, and provide favourable conditions for Hong Kong to develop into a competitive smart city.
26 November, 2017