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Issue 16 - February 2012


Table of Contents

FCE Alumni Associations' Ball

The five alumni associations of the Faculty of Construction and Environment threw a ball at Hotel ICON for the 75th Anniversary of The Hong Kong Polytechnic University on 18 February 2012. About 280 guests celebrated with them, including many alumni, staff, industry partners, and government officials.

After welcoming remarks from the Council Chairman, the Hon. Marjorie Yang Mun-tak, the President of PolyU, Prof. Timothy Tong, our Faculty Dean, Prof. Jin-Guang Teng, and the Chairman of the Organizing Committee, Ir Prof. Johnny Fan, the ball was started with a cake-cutting ceremony.

Those in attendance enjoyed themselves immensely. There were special performances, dancing, and a lucky draw after dinner. Many thanks to Ir Tsui Tack-kong for being the major sponsor of the event and to its organizing committee, which included Ir Prof. Albert Chan, Prof. Barnabas Chung, Ms Juliana Lo, Ir Prof. Fred Ng, Prof. Kenneth Pang, Dr Simon Siu, Mr Tsang Cheong-chuen, Mr Paul Tsui, Ir Thomas Wan, Ir Tommy Wong, and Ir Stephen Wong.

Cake-cutting ceremony Ir Tsui Tack-kong (left) receiving a certificate
of appreciation from PolyU's President
Dancing at the ball

Projects funded by the NSFC / RGC Joint Research Scheme

Prof. Jian-lei NIU of the Department of Building Services Engineering and Prof. Xiang-dong LI of the Department of Civil & Structural Engineering have recently been awarded funding by the NSFC / RGC Joint Research Scheme, which is a highly competitive grant. For 2011/2012, 21 projects from 6 local universities were funded. Out of these, 2 came from PolyU and both were from our Faculty.

Prof. NIU is working with Prof. ZHANG Lizhi of the South China University of Technology to investigate heat and mass transfer mechanisms in a novel total heat exchanger that can recover both heat and moisture. Heat recovery is a key technology for reducing the energy used in the treatment of fresh air by making use of waste heat in the exhaust air from buildings. To recover heat, heat exchangers are employed to transfer heat from exhaust air streams to fresh air. Since the effectiveness of a heat exchange mainly depends on its material and structure, the novel total heat exchanger will have a newly developed membrane with very high vapour permeability and a novel channel structure with high convective heat and mass transfer coefficients. Prof. NIU and Prof. ZHANG will conduct numerical and experimental studies of heat and mass transfer mechanisms in the novel heat exchanger. It is expected that applications of the novel total heat exchangers in Guangdong province alone will save about 10.5 billion kWh electricity per year.

Prof. LI is collaborating with Dr ZHANG Gan of the Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry in the Chinese Academy of Sciences. They are studying the air-surface exchange of persistent organic pollutants and heavy metals in peri-urban agricultural ecosystems of the Pearl River Delta (PRD), which is a region with highly developed industrial operations. Using a combination of innovative field sampling programmes and laboratory modelling experiments, they will investigate the geochemical cycling of persistent organic pollutants in paddy fields for three years. The outcome of their research will contribute to a better understanding of the biogeochemical processes and dynamics of persistent organic and metal pollutants in peri-urban paddy ecosystems of a subtropical region, as well as their potential impact on the global fate of these chemicals. The important issues of regional soil quality and food safety will also be illuminated by their work. We look forward to the day when the results from these worthy projects will benefit our lives.

Projects supported by CII-HK/ PolyU Innovation Fund

To support innovative research projects related to the construction process and/ or construction management, the Construction Industry Institute – Hong Kong (CII-HK)/ PolyU Innovation Fund was set up in 2009 with a HK$ 4 million donation from CII-HK and a matching amount from PolyU. For 2010/11, it is supporting, wholly or in part, the following 8 projects:

  1. Project Title:
    Measuring the Impact of Prefabrication in the Construction Industry in Hong Kong

    Prof. Geoffrey SHEN, BRE
    Dr XUE Xiaolong, Harbin Institute of Technology
    Prof. Alshawi MUSTAFA, University of Salford

    This research aims at measuring the economic, social, and environmental impact of implementation of prefabrication in the construction industry in Hong Kong, and contributing knowledge to support decision-making in the process of implementation of prefabrication. It will:

    • Identify potential impact and sub-factors affected by the implementation of prefabrication;
    • Map casual relationships among these factors; and
    • Develop a measurement framework, including metrics, indicators and a systematic approach to evaluate the impact of prefabrication on the construction industry in Hong Kong.
  1. Project Title:
    Assessment of a Fire Model in Simulating Combustion for Construction Projects with Fire Engineering Approach

    Prof. Wan-ki CHOW, BSE
    Dr FONG Nai-kong, BSE

    The objectives of this project are to assess the degree of importance of the combustion process within the set of fire development stages as well as select results already compiled on gasoline and diesel pool fires for justifying predictions by Fire Dynamics Simulator (FDS). It will further validate the model predicted results by full-scale burning tests of wood and polyu (methyl methacrylate) PMMA and investigate how the model can be applied in a fire engineering approach.

  1. Project Title:
    Construction Guidelines for Green Roof Systems in Highly Urbanized Areas in Hong Kong

    Prof. Onyx WAI, CSE
    Prof. C.W. LI, CSE
    Dr Eddie LAM, CSE

    This project aims to develop a set of green roof planning and design guidelines for Hong Kong from the engineering and environmental aspects, taking into consideration the unique building environment, structural capacity of unoccupied and wasted rooftops, and climatic and meteorological conditions.

  1. Project Title:
    Improving Construction Precision and Safety of Skyscrapers through Real-time Monitoring and Stage Analysis

    Dr XIA Yong, CSE
    Prof. NI Yi-qing, CSE

    This project will develop a real-time framework integrating field monitoring, numerical analysis and condition assessment to improve the construction accuracy and safety of super-tall structures.

  1. Project Title:
    Improving the GPS Surveying Productivity in Construction by Modeling the Localized Errors in the GPS Network
    - Case Study with Hong Kong's SatRef Network

    Dr George Zhizhao LIU, LSGI
    Prof. XL Ding, LSGI
    Prof. CHEN Wu, LSGI

    This project aims to enhance the GPS surveying productivity in Hong Kong by improving SatRef's real-time GPS surveying accuracy. It will systematically investigate the characteristics of the localized error sources in Hong Kong SatRef network as well as develop new models to correct the localized errors and further improve the SatRef's GPS positioning accuracy. It will also develop an approach to model localized GPS errors for GPS reference networks.

  1. Project Title:
    An Interactive Virtual Environment for Training and Evaluating Construction Safety

    Prof. Heng LI, BRE
    Dr Hong Qin FAN, BRE
    Mr CHAN King Chun, BRE
    Dr HUANG Ting, BRE

    With a matching fund of $500,000 from Gammon, this project aims to develop an innovative and virtual platform for construction safety training, namely SimSafety.
    It will provide a virtual environment to integrate sufficient information needed for construction safety training and accidents prediction as well as visualize construction process by 4D simulation. The feasibility of construction processes would also be evaluated.

  1. Project Title:
    Research on Air Quality Impact Assessment and Mitigation Measures Associated with Building Maintenance
    Work in Public Areas

    Prof. S.C. LEE, CSE
    Prof. J.L. Niu, BSE
    Prof. C.S. POON, CSE

    This project will investigate potential air quality problems arising from execution of certain common maintenance works and advise on the possible health effects on tenants and contractors' workers by referring to or comparing with the most suitable health standards. It will recommend possible improvements in the maintenance works process so as to lower the pollutants concentrations and harmful emissions to acceptable levels. It will also develop highly efficient airborne pollutants control products/machines by combining photocatalysis technique with the dust removal technique via collaboration with LIFA AIR company, which has contributed $300,000 for the research.

  1. Project Title:
    Development and Verification of an Innovative Optical Fibre Sensing Technique for Measuring the Length
    and Quality of Soil Nails

    Prof. YIN Jianhua, CSE

    This project will develop, verify and apply an innovative BOTDA optical fiber sensing technology with a new data analysis method and required accessories for assessment of length and quality of soil nails through laboratory testing, field trials and evaluation, as well as comparison with results from TDR testing.

Another round of applications is due 16 March 2012. This time, HK$2.9 million is available for allocation.


Hong Kong Scholars Program attracts postdocs to FCE

In a cross-border initiative to attract mainland scholars to pursue postdoctoral research in Hong Kong, mainland authorities and the Society of Hong Kong Scholars jointly launched the Hong Kong Scholars Program in December 2010. From about 500 applications, 50 outstanding mainland PhD graduates were selected and matched with academics at UGC-funded universities in Hong Kong. PolyU has attracted 13 such scholars, the most out of all the local universities. Our Faculty is honored that 3 of them are supervised by 3 of our academic staff. The names of the scholars and their supervisors in FCE are listed below:
Postdoc Fellow Dept. Supervisor Project Title

Dr Ronggang Zhou
BRE Dr Patrick Fong A knowledge-based network competence evaluation framework for the performance measurement system in the HK construction industry

Dr Liang Pu
BSE Prof. Jianlei Niu Optimized design of phase change material (PCM) based thermal energy storage systems

Dr Fei Qi
CSE Prof. Wei Chu Degradation of refractory chemical in water by using an advanced oxidation process

The mainland scholars have been recommended by the Chinese Postdoctoral Council. Dr ZHOU is currently an Associate Professor at the School of Economics and Management, Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics (北京航空航天大学经济管理学院). Dr Pu is a Lecturer at the School of Energy and Power Engineering in Xian’s Jiao Tong University, and Dr Qi is an Associate Professor in Environmental Engineering at Beijing Forestry University. They will be working in Hong Kong for 2 years and their salaries will be equally borne by the Hong Kong supervisors / institutions and the Chinese government.

For the second year of the Hong Kong Scholars Program, 12 academics from the Faculty of Construction and Environment have qualified to be supervisors of the mainland scholars. Let’s hope they will all find suitable candidates to work with.

HKIS funds books to be written by BRE academics

As part of its book-writing sponsorship initiative for reference textbooks that are more relevant to local practice for the surveying profession and students, the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (HKIS) has agreed to donate $100,000 to fund the publication of 2 books to be written by academics from the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE). Half of that amount will go to Mr Stephen D. Mau, Lecturer, who will write the second edition of Hong Kong Legal Principles: Important Topics for Students and Professions. The other half is for Prof. Albert Chan and his coauthor, Dr Esther Cheung, who will pen a book entitled Public Private Partnerships in International Construction: Learning from Case Studies. The publication of these books within the next 2 years is eagerly anticipated.

Leighton Fellowship Programme grooms 2 BRE students for future employment

In the first ever Leighton Fellowship Programme, two students from the Department of Building and Real Estate, Lam Wing Ching, Jois, and Ma Wai Ki, Kimmy, were each selected for a Fellowship worth HK$25,000. Exclusively for 2011/12 graduates studying quantity surveying, the Fellowship began with an internship last summer to foster a deeper understanding of the culture and projects at Leighton Contractors (Asia) Ltd. Students were chosen based on their academic results and participation in extra-curricular activities.

During the 3-month summer internship, our students were exposed to various stages of the tender process in the express railway link project. They both gained practical experience from the training offered by the company and thought that it was a good start for their professional careers. The Fellowship Programme commits Jois and Kimmy to a 3-year employment period with Leighton after graduation.

Although still pursuing their education, our students have also been invited to various internal events, such as the inauguration dinner of the Young Professional Club as well as the company's annual dinner. Such activities were conducive to their being 'a part of the family,' serving as substantiation and linkage of their summer's practical training to their future career at Leighton. Way to go, Jois and Kimmy!


Kimmy and Jois
(from left to right)

PolyU hosts outstanding high school students from Wuhan

On the morning of 16 January 2012, 29 outstanding high school students from Wuhan visited PolyU for a preview of university life. They were warmly welcomed by our Faculty Dean, Prof. Jin-Guang Teng, and a representative from the Chinese Mainland Affairs Office, who introduced our university as well as the range of subjects that are available for study here. Funded by PYI Corporation Ltd., a company in the construction industry, the tour aims to inspire students to set their sights on higher education after finishing high school. Current mainland students in our taught postgraduate programmes were on hand to share their experience of studying at PolyU. It was indeed a fruitful trip for the participating students, who all look forward to continuing their studies in Hong Kong.


PhD candidate shares results of her research

Since the launch of China's first lunar probe in 2007, the moon has renewed its allure for a new generation, including Jian GUO, a PhD candidate in the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics, who gave a presentation on the integration of Chang'E-1 imagery and laser altimetry data for precise lunar topographic modeling on 10 February 2012. Lunar orbital imagery and laser altimeter data provide vital information for lunar exploration missions and lunar scientific investigations.

In her presentation, Jian talked about the aims and methodology of integrating Chang'E-1 Imagery and Laser Altimetry data. With a combined adjustment model that takes into consideration the laser altimeter points, image exterior orientation (EO) parameters, and tie points collected from the stereo images, the image EO parameters and laser ground points are refined. Experimental results using the Chang'E-1 data from the Apollo 15 and 16 landing site areas show that the proposed combined adjustment approach can reduce the mis-registrations between the imagery and the laser altimeter data by a maximum of 1- 18 pixels in image space.

Following the presentation, Jian answered a few questions from the audience, which included Prof. CHEN and Prof. KING. On the whole, the seminar was a good way for them to exchange ideas.


PolyU Micro Fund organizes visits to promote entrepreneurship

On 11 February 2012, a group of PolyU students and alumni, including half a dozen or so from the Faculty of Construction and Environment, visited the Hong Kong Cyberport, where they learnt about the Cyberport Creative Micro Fund (CCMF) and Incubation Programme. The PolyU Micro Fund Scheme is a new knowledge transfer initiative that aims to cultivate an innovative and entrepreneurial spirit in the PolyU community, nurture socially responsible youngsters to "Do well and Do good" with actual hands-on entrepreneurial endeavours, and facilitate knowledge transfer of PolyU's innovations and technologies.

During the visit, the group was told the weather forecasts broadcasts always use the facilities at Cyberport to sharpen their images. Next time you watch the CCTV weather forecast, pay close attention to the blue background. The blue screen (see picture) technique is commonly used for weather forecast broadcasts, wherein the


news presenter appears to be standing in front of a large map during live television newscasts, though in actuality it is just a large blue or green background. Presenters would normally avoid wearing blue clothes to avoid blending into the background. A blue screen is usually used in China, but a green one is used in the US. The group also visited other advanced facilities, e.g. the remote sensing set, offices and activity rooms there.

Besides Hong Kong Cyberport, visits to the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks as well as the InnoCentre at the Hong Kong Design Centre were also arranged for 18 February and 25 February respectively.

Faculty Public Lectures

The Faculty of Construction and Environment was honoured to have the following speakers giving public lectures at PolyU:

Prof. José L. Torero

"September 11th, 2001 – September 11th, 2011: 10 Years-10 Lessons on Sustainable Infrastructure"

Prof. José L. Torero, BRE Trust/ RAEng Professor of Fire Safety Engineering, Director of the BRE Centre for Fire Safety Engineering, The University of Edinburgh.

Date: 9 February 2012 (Thu) (Details)


Prof. Qingyuan Zhang

"Weather Database on Air-conditioning Design for Chinese Locations"

Prof. Qingyuan Zhang, Professor, Department of Industrial Information, Tsukuba University of Technology.

Date: 17 February 2012 (Fri) (Details)


Prof. Dongping Fang

"Safety Culture and BBS in Construction - from Research to Practice, from Practice to Research"

Prof. Dongping Fang, Professor and Head at Department of Construction Management, School of Civil Engineering, Tsinghua University.

Date: 21 February 2012 (Tue) (Details)


Invitation for Programme Admission 2012/13

Applications are now invited for the following taught postgraduate programmes.

Master of Science (MSc)/Postgraduate Diploma (PgD)

Building Services Engineering 屋宇設備工程學

Civil Engineering 土木工程學

Construction and Real Estate 建築及房地產學

Construction Law and Dispute Resolution 建築法及爭議解決學

Environmental Management and Engineering 環境管理及工程學

Facility Management 設施管理

Fire and Safety Engineering 消防及安全工程學

Geomatics (Geographic Information Systems) 測繪及地理資訊學(地理資訊)

Geomatics (Surveying) 測繪及地理資訊學(測量)

Project Management 項目管理

Sustainable Urban Development 可持續城市發展學

For programme details, please visit


Forthcoming Events

First International Conference on Performance-based and Life-Cycle Structural Engineering (PLSE 2012)
Date: 5-7 December 2012
Venue: Regal Kowloon Hotel, 71 Mody Road, Tsimshatsui, Hong Kong

The 5th International Symposium on Transportation Network Reliability (INSTR)
Date: 18-19 December 2012, Hong Kong
Venue: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Programme Admission for 2012/13 - Postgraduate Scheme in Construction and Environment PLSE 2012 Academic Vacancies - FCE HKPolyUFCE

Copyright © 2012 Faculty of Construction and Environment, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University. All rights reserved.

Faculty of Construction and Environment Department of Building and Real Estate Department of Building Services Engineering Department of Civil and Structural Engineering Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics