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Land Reclamation in Hong Kong

Land reclamation accounts for around 25% of Hong Kong Island.  The need to reclaim land in Hong Kong is largely due to the topography of the region being a mountainous one. Flat and urban areas have had to be constructed by reclaiming land in order for extra land to be established to accommodate Hong Kong’s population growth and economic expansion. The most prominent examples of land reclamation include the massive completed construction projects of the Disneyland resort on the North-Eastern tip of Lantau Island, and the world renowned Hong Kong International Airport. Reclaiming land to establish an Island can be a very risky and expensive business, but looking back now, the vision to relocate Hong Kong airport to a site largely reclaimed from the sea is little short of visionary.

New Projects in Hong Kong:
The six sites the government put forward for reclamation in the second stage of its consultation earlier in 2013 include sites off Lung Kwu Tan at Tuen Mun, Ma Liu Shui in Sha Tin and Siu Ho Wan on Lantau as well as the southwestern side of Tsing Yi and Sunny Bay. The reclamations would range from 30 hectares to 300 hectares and will produce extensive new contracts for the construction industry.  The most prestigious proposal is for an artificial island between 1,400 hectares and 2,400 hectares in size to be reclaimed and built upon between Lantau and Hong Kong Island.

What is Land Reclamation?
Land reclamation, usually known as reclamation, is the procedure of forming new land from oceans, riverbeds, or lakes. Historically, Hong Kong land reclamation dates back to centuries before the common era (BCE) and the early Western Han dynasty, though to a much smaller scale. This method is enforced for a wide variety of reasons: ranging from over-population and the necessity for extra land mass to construct new build or commercial developments, to the flamboyant and indulgent need for prestige. The former is more evident in Hong Kong, with a population of around 7 million (2010), with the latter appealing more to the United Arab Emirates, in particular, Dubai. Projects such as the Palm Islands, the World Islands, the Dubai Marina, and the Burj Al Arab have made Dubai a luxurious destination to live and work in the construction industry for engineers, quantity surveyors and commercial managers. 

Famous Land Reclamation Projects in Hong Kong & Macau:
The Praya Reclamation Scheme: Historically, the first large scale land reclamation in Hong Kong was one of the worlds earliest and was the Hong Kong colonial era’s most famous projects which added 50-60 acres of land in 1890, during it’s second phase of construction. 

Cotai Strip, Macau: This land reclamation project has successfully led to the massive influx of construction opportunities available to work in Macau. Casino developers, contractors and sub-contractors have secured contracts to build enormous casinos to rival even Las Vegas. Building Services, Fit Out and E&M Engineers should apply on the Maxim website if interested to work in Macau.

Hong Kong International Airport: As mentioned above, this project was a necessity for the Hong Kong government to create a safer and significantly larger airport.  The project was a great success and is now being expanded with the construction of the Midfield Terminal Project on previously reclaimed land.

The Central Reclamation Phase III (CRIII) Project: This is the final phase of planned waterfront reclamation in the Central District of Hong Kong Island. Significantly affected by the introduction of the 1997 Protection of the Harbour Ordinance the scope of the project was diminished from 32 hectares to 18 and has led to an extended delay. Such projects are attracting well educated, experienced and employable civil engineers, tunnelling engineers, piling engineers to Hong Kong after successfully applying through the Maxim Recruitment website. 

What Does the Future hold for Hong Kong and Reclaimed Land?
Land reclamation projects such as at Tsing Yi and also Sunny Bay on Lantau Island are evidence that the Hong Kong government remains committed to increasing land area suitable for construction. With over 3,000 proposed hectares of land to be reclaimed in the future, projects and contractors will be vying to secure the works to both reclaim territory from the sea and to provide the building and infrastructure needed to make it viable for human habitation.

One thing is certain though; the amount of working opportunities available to local and expatriate civil engineers and quantity surveyors (to name but a few in demand construction skill sets) is only going to continue increasing for some time to come. 

If you are interested in a job move to Hong Kong or a new construction job within Hong Kong, please get in touch or apply with your CV through the Maxim website. 

Dan Kirk
Recruitment Consultant
Maxim Recruitment Hong Kong

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