Within the past 10 years in Hong Kong, the concentration of new construction projects being approved and constructed has been staggering. New infrastructure jobs in Hong Kong have included rail projects from MTRC, road and bridge projects from the Highways Department (Hong Kong Zhuhai Macau Bridge and Central-Wanchai Bypass) as well as crossing facilities managed by the Civil Engineering and Development Department.
The most recent addition to the 6 existing Hong Kong-Shenzhen border crossings, is the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point Project in the northern part of the New Territories, connecting Hong Kong and Shenzhen. With the abundance of new projects started within such a small time period, there is considerable pressure on Hong Kong construction budgets.
The Liantang Border Crossing Project: Project Details and Problems
The major civil engineering works for the Liantang Border Crossing Project is split into 4 separate contracts. They comprise the construction of major roads, interchanges and tunnels. There is further building work with administration and facility buildings as well. This mega project is already costing the Hong Kong government HK $16.25 billion. However, due to unforeseen construction costs (not to mention the already escalating costs of construction currently seen in HK), the Development Bureau has requested a further HK $8.5 billion to be added onto the approved total project budget. This will mean the project would cost near enough HK $25 billion to construct. Factors contributing to the revised cost include higher equipment prices, higher cost for manpower, future costs and complexities with ground conditions found at site investigation stage.
The tight timeframe for the project to be completed in (proposed end date is 2018) means that companies that are supplying construction labour for the project must account for overtime pay required by staff. Further money will also need to be set aside for contingency funds. This timeframe is one of the main problems Hong Kong is facing as a lot of construction projects are/will run simultaneously or very close together within the next 5 – 10 years.
The ‘Democratic Alliance for Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong’ asked the question “Why can’t the project be postponed?” It seems now the government is stuck between a rock and hard place – delaying the project will result in further cost increases, but also expediting the project runs the risk of driving costs higher still.
Are There the Skilled Professionals in Hong Kong to Deliver this Project?
At the end of the day, unforeseen circumstances are just that. Contractors, consultants and the government cannot predict the future in terms of the economic market or natural conditions. However, in saying that, the employment of certain disciplines of staff will be able to prevent or at least mitigate problems as they arise. As a lot of projects and contracts are newly awarded, what is clear is that the market requires professionals with pre-construction experience. Planners, estimators, claims analysts, change managers and the still relatively new sector of risk engineers are all required to build a solid cost and programme for any successful construction project.
Why are there still shortages of these skilled professionals? Within the booming South East Asian construction market, the competition for the services of the best talent is fierce. Without the right incentives, manpower of a good calibre is not easily found. This incentive usually comes in the form of higher salary figures.
The likes of Macau and Mainland China are attracting people for iconic building projects, whereas Hong Kong has an almost exclusive civil infrastructure order book at the current time although an increased number of major building projects is anticipated moving forward
With the number of projects currently on schedule to be completed by 2020, now really is the time to take full advantage of the booming Hong Kong construction market and contribute your skills to the booming construction industry here & be amply rewarded with generous salaries, packages & bonuses in a low tax environment. For more details on construction projects in Hong Kong, or to discuss current opportunities, please forward your CV & get in touch with the appropriate member of the Maxim Recruitment team!
Hong Kong & Asia Region