Today is Mother’s Day. First of all, I would like to wish all great mothers a Happy Mother’s Day! Last week, I shared with you the story of a Geotechnical Engineer. This week, I would like to introduce another colleague and a good mother, Ms LAM Sze-mei, Janet. As a Senior Electrical and Mechanical Engineer of the Electrical and Mechanical Services Department (EMSD), she is responsible for leading more than 200 colleagues of Hong Kong Island to carry out maintenance and repair of electrical and mechanical (E&M) facilities in government buildings. She also performs standby duty around the clock to handle emergency incidents. She is going to share with us her daily work and her own feelings as a working mum.
Maintenance for “Ventilation, Fire, Water and Electricity”
Janet joined the EMSD as an Engineering Graduate in 1997 and has served the department for more than 20 years. Currently, she is responsible for leading her colleagues to maintain and repair the E&M facilities that are commonly known as facilities of “Ventilation, Fire, Water and Electricity”, i.e. the air-conditioning system, fire service installations, water supply system and electrical systems, inside government buildings on Hong Kong Island. For example, they provide routine repair services, carry out periodic inspection and testing, follow up on malfunction and complaint cases, and implement improvement and enhancement works. The buildings under their purview include the Central Government Offices at Tamar, the Justice Place in Central, the Hong Kong Court of Final Appeal and the three buildings at the Wan Chai Government Offices Compound, etc.
Operation of real-time remote monitoring system
Janet says that in recent years, the EMSD has strived to introduce advanced technology to optimise the performance of E&M systems in government buildings so as to enhance the efficiency of repair and maintenance works. One example is the implementation of a pilot project by installing the integrated Building Management System for E&M facilities of different government departments, which enables the integration of electrical, mechanical, air-conditioning and building services systems into a single platform. This allows colleagues of the EMSD to be able to remotely monitor the operation of E&M facilities in real time anywhere through an online platform. In case if any deviation from the design parameters and particular circumstances is identified, staff will be immediately deployed to follow up so as to ensure predictive maintenance is accomplished at an early stage to prevent potential failure.
Enhancing energy efficiency
Besides, Janet says that the above system can also work with the Building Energy Management System to collect and store building energy data, such as the efficiency, electricity consumption and carbon emission of E&M facilities. In this manner, colleagues can analyse and assist various departments to formulate the most appropriate energy optimisation strategies to save energy costs and attain the targets of energy saving and emission reduction. Recently, the department has undertaken related work at the North Point Government Offices, resulting in reduction of the electricity consumption of the building by 3 to 5%. To further enhance energy efficiency, the EMSD plans to install relevant systems to the E&M facilities of more than 400 major government buildings under the Electrical and Mechanical Services Trading Fund – The 2nd 5-year Strategic Plan (i.e., from 2018/19 to 2022/23).
Unforgettable experience: Typhoon Mangkhut hitting Hong Kong
Talking about unforgettable experiences in her career, Janet recalls what happened when Typhoon Mangkhut hit Hong Kong last year. Although her team had taken proper precautionary measures for E&M facilities in government buildings beforehand, the typhoon was so fierce that her mobile phone became inundated with group chat messages from frontline staff deployed at different locations, all reporting emergency situations to her during the typhoon. Janet describes that she felt like fighting a battle of one versus one hundred when dealing with those phone messages. While worrying about the safety of her workmates, she had to make immediate decisions to handle unexpected incidents.
According to Janet, strong waves flooded the switch room in the Government Logistics Centre near Heng Fa Chuen at that time. With the series of contingency measures, such as pre-checking of circuit diagram information for emergency repairs, emergency preparations made with the power company, and backup power arrangement, having been drawn up by her team beforehand, the building was able to resume 90% of its operations immediately after the typhoon had passed. After Mangkhut, the department, in collaboration with the Architectural Services Department, identified another location as the entrance/exit of the switch room to prevent similar flooding incidents in the future. Besides, a remote monitoring system for the switch room and a remote switch control system for the emergency generator are in the pipeline.
Teaching daughter to pursue dreams
Janet feels the pressure of being a working mother because of her hectic work life. She also feels sorry for her daughter who has just entered secondary school. Therefore, she tries her best to spend the weekends with her daughter and travels with her family during long holidays so that they can enjoy family life together. She smilingly says that she has certain expectations for her daughter, but luckily she is not much of a “tiger mom” in her daughter’s eyes. As her daughter has had many dreams ever since an early age, Janet hopes to focus her parenting on teaching her daughter about the pursuit of dreams, so that she can find her path to happiness, enjoy learning and foster good character.
Janet says that her daughter had always wanted to learn horse riding, so she arranged a riding course for her two years ago. Sometimes she is heartbroken to see her daughter fall off from the horseback, but she is pleased that her daughter is able to get up after a fall and ride back on, knowing that she can overcome difficulties and pain all by herself. No matter what her daughter does in the future, Janet hopes that she will have the courage to overcome any obstacles, look afar and jump even further.
For two weeks in a row, I have shared with you the work of two colleagues and their feelings as working mothers. I hope that you now know a little more about the work of government departments. As today is Mother’s Day, I would also like to express my respect and care for all mothers.
12 May, 2019Back