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Hong Kong’s Next Construction Boom – Major Projects for 2016 Onward

Construction markets are usually driven by new projects and investment from both private and public sectors. There will often be isolated periods of peak construction followed by a lull in construction output. Hong Kong's most recent construction boom was driven by 5 major MTR extensions most of which are now in the final stage of construction or fully completed, and we are now experiencing a quiet period during which there have been fewer new project awards and downsizing of construction companies throughout Hong Kong.

As we look towards the next boom period in Hong Kong let's take a look at the projects for 2016 and onwards that can help create this.

Three Runway System - Hong Kong International Airport

To cope with future air traffic growth, the Airport Authority (AA) has been planning to expand Hong Kong International Airport into a three-runway system (3RS) since 2008. The 3RS will involve 7 significant construction works:

  • Reclamation of approximately 650 hectares of land north of the existing airport island.
  • Building a new passenger concourse with more than 280,000m2 of floor area.
  • Building a 3,800m long new runway and its supporting taxiway systems.
  • Building a 2,600m long new Automated People Mover (APM) system connecting Terminal 2 with the new passenger concourse.
  • Building a new Baggage Handling System (BHS) linking Terminal 2 with the new passenger concourse.
  • Expansion of the existing Terminal 2 into a full-service processing terminal and construction of an associated road network.
  • Construction of other associated airport support infrastructure, facilities and utilities for 3RS operation.

The scale of the new 3RS project is virtually as big as building an entirely new airport next to the existing one. The total estimated construction cost is approximately HK$150 billion and is expected to take 8 years to complete. We are already seeing the award of the initial dredging, seabed stabilization and reclamation contracts some of which have already began construction. With more major contracts due to be awarded later this year and in 2017, this project will not doubt be a major contributing factor in the next construction boom.

Central Kowloon Route (CKR) Highway

Another major infrastructure project planned for Hong Kong is the Central Kowloon Route (CKR). The Central Kowloon Route (CKR) is a planned highway project in Kowloon which includes a 4.7 km long dual 3-lane trunk road connecting the West Kowloon reclamation and the proposed Kai Tak Development area, including a tunnel of about 3.9km long.

The CKR will help relieve congestion along the existing major east-west corridors, enhancing linkages between districts and underpinning various developments in Kowloon. The CKR project consists of 4 major sections of work. These include:

  • Yau Ma Tei Section
  • King's Park, Ho Man Tin and Ma Tau Wai Section
  • Ma Tau Kok and Kowloon Bay Section
  • Kai Tak Section

The latest cost estimate for construction is now estimated to be over HK$40 billion. A start date for construction has not yet been determined however it is believed that work is scheduled to start this year, and will take approximately over 7 years to complete.

Kai Tak Development (KTD)

Kai Tak Development (KTD) is a huge and highly complex development project spanning a total planning area of over 320 hectares covering the ex-airport site together with the adjoining districts of Kowloon City, Wong Tai Sin and Kwun Tong. A major part of the development includes the Kai Tak Stadium complex which comprises a 50,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof, a 5,000-seat sports ground and a 4,000-seat indoor sports center. The estimated cost is at least HK$19 billion.

As a whole the Kai Tak Development (KTD) area has seen massive changes over the last decade and further large scale construction works will continue in the coming years. Some of the large scale construction elements still to be completed include:

  •          Multi-purpose Sports Complex
  •          Kai Tak River
  •          Two Primary Schools
  •          Kai Tak Cruise Terminal second berth
  •          Metro Park (24 hectares)
  •          Center of Excellence in Pediatrics
  •          Kwun Tong Promenade Stage 2
  •          Route 6 in KTD (Central Kowloon Route and Trunk Road T2)
  •          Shatin to Central Link MTR projects ongoing
  •          District Cooling System (remaining)
  •          Road works, pedestrian links, water supplies, drainage and sewerage systems

This new development should provide a steady flow of work for commercial, engineering and construction professionals and help strengthen the construction market jobs outlook in Hong Kong.

MTR – Future Projects

MTR extension projects have been a major a factor in creating a strong construction market in Hong Kong, and as the most recent extension projects come to an end there are already plans in place to develop the MTR lines further. These plans include 7 new projects:

  1. Northern Link and Kwu Tung Station — A major regional line formed by linking Kam Sheung Road Station on the West Rail Line to a new station at Kwu Tung on the Lok Ma Chau Spur Line.
  2. Hung Shui Kiu Station — A new station on the West Rail Line between the existing Tin Shui Wai Station and Siu Hong Station.
  3. Tung Chung West Extension — A new line formed by extending the Tung Chung Line westward with a new station at Tung Chung West.
  4. Tuen Mun South Extension — A new line formed by extending the West Rail Line southward from Tuen Mun Station to a new station at Tuen Mun South.
  5. East Kowloon Line — A new line running in the northern East Kowloon area connecting Diamond Hill Station on the Kwun Tong Line (and the future Shatin to Central Link) and Po Lam Station on the Tseung Kwan O Line.
  6. South Island Line (West) — A new line linking the South Island Line (East) to the West Island Line.
  7. North Island Line — A new railway line on the northern shore of Hong Kong Island formed by extending the Tung Chung Line eastward and the Tseung Kwan O Line westward.

Should construction of these new lines go ahead, the coverage of the new railway network would increase to 75% of Hong Kong’s homes.

Government Departments

Along with the major projects already mentioned there are a number of Government Departments with ongoing and future projects which will help maintain the construction market in Hong Kong in the coming years. These include:

  • Highways Department (HYD)
  • Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD)
  • Hong Kong Housing Authority (HA)
  • Architectural Services Department (ArchSD)

With a number of major projects on the horizon Hong Kong looks set of another construction boom. If you’re interested to learn more about future projects or current job opportunities in Hong Kong please get in touch. We’d love to hear from you if you’re looking to work on a new major MTR, Airport expansion, large scale infrastructure, or other major project in Hong Kong. We have opportunities for both expatriate and local Cantonese candidates alike.

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Tim Cole
Senior Recruitment Consultant – Hong Kong & Asia

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