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The Rise of the Building Construction Sector in Hong Kong in 2013

Until this year, building construction work has been secondary to the massive amount of civil engineering infrastructure that has been awarded and started in Hong Kong.
However, government funded money, and private money is now also flowing into a range of building construction projects in Hong Kong – and of course the civil engineering projects are moving towards stages where massive railway projects have or are becoming enormous railway station fit out projects – sucking in thousands of M&E, ABWF, finishing & claims professionals!

The broader context of the building construction market (as outlined in this previous blog) is that buildings are going up and down in a constant cycle – no one seems to be surprised anymore when a building that was once standing is completely gone the following week.  However 2013 and beyond will be special years for the building sector in Hong Kong; and here’s why.

Special Unique Building Projects
As a UK or European expat in Hong Kong, finding work on a building project in Hong Kong until now has been more difficult than getting work on civil engineering construction projects. Size and scope of works obviously contribute to this fact, in that there are only a limited number of building projects that are particularly technically challenging that have higher profit margins and require specialist input. For example, key projects that have already made an impact for recruitment needs (for expats and locals) include the Midfield Terminal Building at Hong Kong Airport  and the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal Building which is now almost complete. The size of such projects dictates the need for greater project controls, risk management and management information run to international corporate standards, meaning more people with exceptional skills and experience are needed to come in and offer new insights and innovations. This also applies to many contracts awarded on the 5 major MTR rail projects currently ongoing.

Minor Hong Kong Building Construction Projects
On the flip side of the above challenging projects, there are of course building projects that are smaller in scale, with lower risks and complexity relating to their completion on time & to budget. Typical of this category would be government residential projects and minor redevelopment projects etc.  Local Hong Kong experience and language skills are valued highly and thus, local candidates are employed almost exclusively. The Hong Kong building market is by and large catered to the local contractors which handle government projects and public buildings such as the West Kowloon Law Courts Building and sport centres in Tseung Kwan O and Sha Tin.

Sustainability in Hong Kong
What is becoming clear as missing in the Hong Kong construction market, is the presence of people who have sustainable building knowledge and experience. Like every other modern city, companies are vying to be seen to be (or ideally actually be) “green”. This will inevitably require certified individuals with understanding of green schemes and criteria such as LEED and BEAM Pro. Hong Kong is a very health conscious place that is currently dedicating its efforts to building a sustainable future. Of course, sustainability is still a relatively new concept to the market in Hong Kong, whereas a lot of European countries have been favoring the model for some time. This is definitely a business opportunity for British and international companies and individuals to add value to the Hong Kong building construction built environment.  Please get in touch if you have these skills!

Buildings in Hong Kong 2013
In my opinion, the Hong Kong building construction sector has not been as attractive as it is now for nearly twenty years.  Taking a new engineering, project management or quantity surveying job in Hong Kong now (whether already here or moving here as an expat or returning HK local) offers some really great career prospects.  Choosing the right employer and project to work on, as ever is critical.  That is what Maxim Recruitment has been here to help with for over ten years now!  We look forward to hearing from you!

Donald Leung
Maxim Recruitment Hong Kong

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