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Construction Market Outlook Hong Kong – Q1 2014

Construction work in Hong Kong has hit a feverish pace and shows no sign of easing off in the coming years. This was further demonstrated by the investment in new construction projects in the first quarter of 2014. 

Government projects have been fundamental to this and have kept the construction market at a healthy level in Hong Kong. In February of this year alone over HK$5 billion of new construction works were awarded – the Highways Department accounted for the majority by awarding 4 separate contracts worth a total of HK$4.3 billion. The biggest contract being a section of works on the Central – Wan Chai Bypass project including tunnel buildings, systems and fittings and works associated with tunnel commissioning which was awarded at a value of circa HK$3.2 billion, whilst other projects including new highways structures and existing highway maintenance term contacts. The outlook certainly seems bright, and with 2 recently awarded mega projects on the Tuen Mun – Chek Lap Kok Link projects awarded on a sub-sea tunnel and viaduct section there is more than enough construction work to keep local and international construction contractors busy. 

Elsewhere things appear relatively quiet, for example at the Housing Authority, who builds public rental and subsidised housing projects, who awarded only two minor contracts during the month worth a combined total of HK$380 million. However private housing projects further boosted the construction market in the first quarter with some 8000 apartments under construction in the first quarter – the highest number since the government began recording the data in 2004. Approximately 2,900 apartments were completed in the period, and the 8,000 flats being built already match the total completed in 2008. Even more apartments are due to be constructed in Hong Kong amid active land sales by the government over the past three years. The number of flats under construction this year could reach 17,600, compared with a record 18,600 in 2012. About 72,000 private apartments may be built in Hong Kong in the next three to four years, the government said. 

In contrast the railway operator MTRC (part owned by the government) kept up its stable rate of construction investment in Hong Kong with a steady pace of contract awards in 2014 Q1, in particular 2 large E&M contracts awarded for the Shatin to Central Link rail project totalling HK$455 million. Clearly once these projects move into the peak construction phase the requirement for E&M Quantity Surveyors and E&M Engineers will begin to show and there will be excellent job opportunities in these areas for professionals with relevant experience.

Further buoyancy in the market was shown by a proposal to invest an extra HK$8.2 billion of public money on the Liatang – Heung Yuen Wai border crossing, a 50% increase on the projects original budget of HK$16.25 billion. The government cited rising construction costs and poor ground conditions as the reasons for the budget overrun. Although initial clearance has been given to this proposal it must still be scrutinised by the public works subcommittee before final approval is given. However other mega projects have run over budget/time and so this is not unusual in a busy construction market, the projects include the West Kowloon Cultural District, the Central-Wan Chai bypass and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau bridge.

With a number of new construction projects already awarded across difference sectors, and a number of previously awarded mega projects still yet to move into the peak construction phase, the outlook for job seeking construction professional in Hong Kong is bright! 

So if you’re looking to make your next career move in Hong Kong please get in contact and we can discuss the opportunities available on the numerous ongoing construction projects. We have excellent opportunities for Quantity Surveyors/Commercial Managers and Engineering professionals with a wide range of clients, contractors and consultancy companies in Hong Kong. We’d be happy to discuss you’re next move.

Tim Cole
Maxim Recruitment
Hong Kong & Asia Region 

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