LCQ5: Application of building information modelling technology

Following is a question by the Hon Tony Tse and a written reply by the Secretary for Development, Mr Paul Chan, in the Legislative Council today (January 30):


With the advancement of innovative technology and development of green architecture, the engineering profession may now employ building information modelling (BIM) technology to consolidate various project designs and working drawings through the three-dimensional information system, thus enhancing project coordination and resource utilisation, and reducing unnecessary wastages and losses, errors and omissions, as well as the need for remedial works in the projects. BIM technology may be applied to various kinds of infrastructural projects, as well as the construction, management and repair works of buildings. However, some members of the engineering profession have pointed out that while BIM technology has been widely adopted in many advanced countries and regions, the application of such technology in Hong Kong lags behind other places because the Government has not taken an active role in promoting and applying BIM technology. In this connection, will the Government inform this Council:

(a) whether BIM technology is applied in carrying out all the public works projects at present; if so, of the details of the guidelines provided by the authorities to government departments on how to design and apply BIM technology; if not, the reasons for that;

(b) whether it has included terms on the application of BIM technology in outsourced government works contracts; if so, of the number of contracts with such terms included so far, and among these contracts, the respective numbers and percentages of consultancy contracts and construction contracts;

(c) whether it will make mandatory in future the application of BIM technology in carrying out all the public works projects and outsourced government works projects; if so, of the specific requirements; if not, the reasons for that;

(d) whether it has conducted comprehensive assessment on the effectiveness of applying BIM technology in carrying out works projects; if it has, of the assessment result; if not, whether it will conduct such an assessment;

(e) whether the authorities have provided civil servants with training in applying BIM technology in carrying out public works projects; if they have, of the target trainees, the number of staff members trained and the annual expenditure incurred; and

(f) whether the authorities will step up their efforts in promoting the development and application of BIM technology, as well as launching public promotion and education campaigns to enable the community at large to understand BIM technology and the effectiveness of its application in carrying out works projects; if they will, of the details?



With the growing sophistication of BIM technology, it has been adopted in both public and private works projects in Hong Kong.  Many of these projects are building works projects whilst civil engineering projects are relatively less. With regard to public works projects, we will review our initial experience in its application and roll out more pilot projects of different types and scales for assessing its scope of application and cost-effectiveness in such projects in future. We will also consider formulating related guidelines, enhancing training and providing other appropriate complementary measures to facilitate its application in public works projects.

My reply to the six parts of the question is as follows:

(a) Public works projects cover a very wide range of works that vary in type and complexity. As understood, the benefits of BIM technology are more apparent in delivering relatively complex building works projects.  For those relatively simple works such as pipe laying, at-grade road construction and slope upgrading, the merits of adopting BIM technology are relatively less. Besides, BIM technology cannot completely substitute the whole workflow in delivering public works projects. A case in point is quantity taking-off. The existing off-the-shelf BIM application software cannot compute the quantity of various construction materials according to the standards adopted in public works projects. In view of the above, we do not require BIM technology to be adopted in carrying out all public works projects at present.

(b) There are a total of five public works contracts that have incorporated provisions on using BIM technology in the contracts. They include the "Central-Wan Chai Bypass - Tunnel (Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter Section)" project. Among the five contracts, construction contracts accounted for three (60% of the total) and consultancy contracts accounted for two (40% of the total).

(c) and (d) As noted in paragraph (a), the benefits of BIM technology are more apparent when it is applied to complex projects. Hence, we plan to select some such projects, including those at the design and construction stage, as pilots in order to assess the cost-effectiveness of the technology in public works projects. To facilitate a better understanding of the technology's practical application, some of the projects to be selected would be designed and with the construction contract managed by in-house staff of works departments. The scope of assessment includes the merits of BIM technology in terms of design quality, works safety and coordination among project stakeholders (e.g. consultants and contractors). In the light of the assessment results and the technology's latest developments, we will further consider the strategies for applying BIM technology in public works projects.

(e) In 2012, about 200 civil servants in works departments have received training related to BIM technology. The trained civil servants are mainly professional and technical staff of roughly equal number from each of them.  Training in respect of BIM technology cost about $60,000 in 2012. With the increase in the number of pilot projects applying BIM technology, we will provide more civil servants with appropriate training, and help them gain more in-depth understanding of the technology through practical application and training courses.

(f) We plan to share our experience in the pilot projects with industry stakeholders through such means as seminars to promote the public's understanding of BIM technology and the effectiveness of its application. The Construction Industry Council (CIC) has set up a working group to mainly discuss the strategies for promoting BIM technology in the industry. We will work with the CIC to promote the application and benefits of BIM technology to the industry.

Ends/Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Issued at HKT 12:42