Brief

Crews used 3,726 prefabricated concrete modular units to cut nine months off the construction time for an apartment building in Hong Kong, according to study at the University of Hong Kong. Building authorities in Hong Kong hope to use the method for additional projects, but some engineers say it reduces the amount of usable floor space, makes the building heavier and necessitates a stronger and more expensive foundation.

 

Insight

A new fire services staff quarters complex in Hong Kong has showcased the advantages of a construction method using factory-made modular units.

The complex at Pak Shing Kok in Tseung Kwan O, in the New Territories, has five blocks of 16 and 17 storeys with a total of 648 three-bedroom flats. Each 540 sq ft flat cost about HK$1.8 million (US$230,770) to build.

The HK$1.63 billion project was completed in 2½ years, nine months sooner than it would have taken if conventional construction methods were used, according to a study by researchers from the Centre for Innovation in Construction and Infrastructure Development at the University of Hong Kong (HKU).

The towers were built by stacking 3,726 prefabricated concrete modular units made in a factory in Huizhou, Guangdong province, and transported to the site to be assembled and installed.Industry professionals in the government said this method, called modular integrated construction (MiC), was ideal for land-starved Hong Kong.

“The building standard is much higher, because the boxes are made in factories, so there shouldn’t be much variation in terms of quality. On a construction site, workers have to deal with adverse weather and build everything there,” said Lam Sai-hung, permanent secretary for development (works).

 

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