Hong Kong hosts the Construction Innovation Expo for the first time
The Government has all along been encouraging the construction industry to proactively adopt innovation and technology in recent years. The first large-scale Construction Innovation Expo (CIExpo) held in Hong Kong earlier has attracted more than 23 800 visitors. The CIExpo featured four key themes with in-depth exploration of Offsite Construction, Robotics and Automation, Digital Solutions, as well as Advanced Technologies and Materials. This time, let me introduce the content of the CIExpo and invite the Construction Industry Council (CIC) and departmental colleagues to share their application of innovation and technology.
Over 23 800 visitors
The CIExpo was held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in the middle of last month. It was jointly organised by the Development Bureau and the CIC, and co-organised by the Centre of Science and Technology Industrial Development of the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development. Addressing the grand opening ceremony, the Chief Executive, Mrs LAM CHENG Yuet-ngor, Carrie, said Hong Kong is an ideal place for holding the CIExpo given its formidable strengths in infrastructure development, highlighting that Hong Kong's infrastructure development was ranked third by the World Economic Forum in its Global Competitiveness Report released earlier.
The four-day CIExpo has attracted a total of 228 construction-related participating organisations from 15 countries and regions. About 40 experts, academics, government officials and entrepreneurial founders from local and overseas engineering backgrounds spoke at various conferences on building information modelling (BIM) technology, modular integrated construction (MiC), design for manufacture and assembly, robotics and automation, as well as the Building Asia Forum. The CIExpo can be regarded as Hong Kong's biggest ever technology exhibition of the construction industry and has received good comments.
Keeping abreast of the times in adopting innovation and technology
To help the construction industry cope with the huge demand on construction works for housing, land, healthcare services and community infrastructure, the Government and the industry have collaborated to launch "Construction 2.0", focusing on innovation, professionalisation and revitalisation. Innovation and technology is a world trend. When attending the International Conference on MiC during the CIExpo, I shared with the industry that we must keep abreast of the times in adopting innovative construction technologies, for example the relatively new MiC, and work closely with the industry to make the best endeavour to catch up and enhance Hong Kong’s competitiveness, productivity and construction quality.
Departments and the industry showcasing their strengths in technology
At the CIExpo, Government departments and the construction industry all brought their specialties into play and showcased their strengths in technology. For example, colleagues of the Information Systems and Land Supply section of the Planning Department showcased the in-house 3D Planning and Design System (the System), which was developed by the section itself. The Director of Planning, Mr LEE Kai-wing, Raymond, put on a pair of HoloLens (i.e. a "mixed reality" headset that projects 3D holograms onto the lenses to view actual and virtual environment) to experience the visualization of 3D photo-realistic models in the System and its functions using the Mixed Reality technology. With the System, town planners can conduct a desktop review on the proposed design schemes from different angles, such as from indoor and outdoor perspectives, and assess the impact of the schemes on the surroundings.
Electrical Engineer/Building Information Modelling of the Water Supplies Department Mr HO Man-wai, Mackins, told us how the department applied BIM technology to the management of underground pipework. The department hopes to gradually set up BIM models for underground pipework so that works staff can visualise pipework data, including the alignment, dimensions, and examine materials and repair records of the pipes, on tablets without the need to open up a road section in the future. Not only will they facilitate the repairs of pipework and the implementation of works in the vicinity, they will also reduce the impacts on traffic and the inconvenience to pedestrians that come with the road opening works.
Disney castle – a combination of MiC and BIM technologies
Once you walked into the CIC’s booth, you would see a 1: 50 model of the “Castle of Magical Dreams”, a landmark structure that is being built in the Disneyland. According to General Manager of Innovation and Technology Development of the CIC Mr Thomas TONG, the MiC and BIM technologies that are vigorously promoted by the Government and the CIC at present have been applied to its towers and pinnacles of various heights. With the use of these two technologies, visitors will not be affected during construction and a shorter time is required to construct the new castle. To show us how innovation and technology could facilitate training, several Virtual Reality training models, such as mobile cranes and simulated construction sites, were set up at the CIC’s booth.
Showcasing local innovative construction
During the CIExpo, participants could join the technical tours specially arranged by the organisers to learn more about different local innovative construction projects, including the MiC Display Centre, the CIC- Zero Carbon Park, the CIC BIM Space, the Happy Valley Underground Stormwater Storage Scheme, the Hong Kong West Drainage Tunnel, urban redevelopment projects at Shanghai Street and Lee Tung Street, and the sludge treatment facility T·Park.
The CIExpo successfully showed advanced construction technologies to participants and at the same time provided a knowledge sharing and business matching platform for the industry. It is a general trend for all trades and industries to adopt innovation and technology in their operation, the construction industry is no exception. The Government will assume the role of a pioneer, aiming at setting a positive example for the industry and encouraging practitioners to move with the times, so that works projects of various scales that have a bearing on people’s livelihood and the future of Hong Kong will be implemented smoothly.
12 January, 2020