To cope with another potential wave of the epidemic, the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) Government, with the support of the Central Government, has been working to set up an additional community treatment facility in the AsiaWorld-Expo (AWE) and a temporary hospital next to it that will provide more than 800 negative pressure beds and medical related facilities. I would like to express my gratitude again to the Central Government, the Guangdong Provincial Government and the Shenzhen Municipal Government for assisting in the implementation of the two projects. Following the completion of the community treatment facility in early October, the construction of the temporary hospital is also making good progress. It is expected to be topped out by the end of this month and completed in January next year.
Nearly 45% of the overall project completed
Last Tuesday, the Secretary for Food and Health, Professor CHAN Siu-chee, Sophia, the Chief Executive of the Hospital Authority (HA), Dr KO Pat-sing, Tony, the Director of Architectural Services, Mrs LAM YU Ka-wai, Sylvia, and I together went to inspect the construction progress of the temporary hospital. Located at the former car park in the southwest part of the AWE, and occupying an site area of more than 29 000 square metres with a construction floor area of about 43 000 square metres, the project comprises six Ward Blocks, a Central Medical Block, an E&M Block and other ancillary facilities. The construction commenced on 19 September and nearly 45% of the works has been completed so far.
Adoption of Modular Integrated Construction technology
Constructed using the Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) technology, the temporary hospital is designed and built according to the standards of the general public hospitals in Hong Kong generally. Although the temporary hospital will not have accident and emergency department and operating theatres, it will include other basic ancillary facilities to support the hospital operation such as nurse stations, pharmacies, laboratories, medical wards, pathology laboratories and medical gas plant rooms. More than 520 MiC units are used in the project, and the steel structure and majority of the internal furnishing (including building services installations) of the MiC units will be fabricated in the mainland factory before transporting to the site in Hong Kong for installation. As at today, almost half of the MiC units have been completed and delivered to the construction site and the rest are expected for arrival and installation within this month.
10 cranes and more than 2 000 workers
During the visit at the site, we saw the construction in full swing. A representative of the contractor says that the biggest difficulty of the project is to complete the construction within an extremely short time. Whereas a general hospital takes two years to plan and design and three to four years to construct, the temporary hospital project is only given four months’ time to complete. Due to the tight schedule, there are more than 10 cranes operating at the same time with over 2 000 people working in three shifts round the clock at the site. Meanwhile, the Mainland factory is continually producing and assembling MiC modules to compete with time.
Architectural Services Department’s coordination and technical support
Another major challenge in the temporary hospital project is the involvement and coordination with different departments and stakeholders. According to Chief Technical Adviser (Central Management Division) of the Architectural Services Department, Mr YEUNG King-on, Ben, to shorten the time needed for vetting and approval of the submission plans so that construction can start as soon as possible, the department has spared no efforts in facilitating seamless and smooth coordination and communication with various parties including the HA, Airport Authority (AA), AWE, Fire Services Department (FSD), Buildings Department, Electrical and Mechanical Services Department, Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD), Water Supplies Department, Drainage Services Department, Transport Department (TD) and Environmental Protection Department.
Citing an example, he says that to ensure that the design would comply with the fire safety standard, discussion was made with the FSD at a very early stage regarding the design requirements for fire service installations and rescue facilities so as to shorten the time needed for the approval of the general building plans. For another example, since the site of the temporary hospital will include the only vehicular exit of the adjacent bus terminus, coordination meetings were held in August to discuss with the TD, the AA and representatives of the bus companies on the road diversion proposal. With assistance from the CEDD, the road diversion works were completed by the end of September, which has significantly facilitated the construction of the temporary hospital in the days to follow.
Introducing various intelligent systems
To overcome the time challenge, the project team has introduced various intelligent systems to aid the design and construction process, including the use of the Building Information Modelling (BIM) technology to guide project design and construction to facilitate remote monitoring and subsequent repairs; the use of the Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) and MiC technology to enhance design quality and construction efficiency; the use of the Virtual Reality (VR) technology to enhance design; and the use of the Augmented Reality (AR) technology to facilitate on-site installation and inspection.
Stringent standards for ward design
Furthermore, the design of the isolation bedrooms in the temporary hospital has to comply with the user’s requirements and engineering standards in terms of infection control and hygiene in general hospitals. In particular, each patient block is equipped with separate patient lifts so that patient on beds can be easily transferred between upper and lower floors; each patient block is divided into three zones, i.e. clean zone, warm zone and hot zone, according to levels of infection control and hygiene to avoid cross contamination between medical staff and patients. Each isolation bedroom is designed, constructed, tested and commissioned in strict accordance with the design standards and specifications.
Although nobody wants to see a new wave of epidemic, we have to be well-prepared in case the outbreak situation changes, and grasp the time to build more quarantine and treatment facilities. I am very grateful for the Central Government’s support in helping Hong Kong fight the virus. Amid the epidemic, I would also like to appeal to members of the public to continue to stay vigilant and comply with various social distancing measures. Please maintain personal and environmental hygiene at all times to reduce the risk of the spread of the virus.
15 November, 2020Back