Back to Main

Issue 26 - December 2012


Table of Contents

1st International Conference on Performance-based and Life-cycle Structural Engineering

On 5-7 December 2012, an international conference on Performance-based and Life-cycle Structural Engineering (PLSE) was held at the Regal Kowloon Hotel. Co-organized by the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) and the Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development (RISUD), the conference is the first in a series on a new direction of structural engineering research and practice. The conference included about 240 presentations and attracted almost 300 people from 25 countries.

The opening ceremony was officiated by Ms Marjorie Mun-tak Yang, Council Chairman of PolyU, and Prof. Jin-Guang Teng, Dean of FCE and Director of RISUD. In her welcome address, Ms Yang spoke of FCE’s dynamic history in shaping the transformation of Hong Kong into a bustling metropolis. She pointed out the unique role that Hong Kong has in contributing to the development of sustainable cities in the Chinese mainland as well as the remarkable fit between the conference theme and the strategic focus of PolyU on urban sustainability. Praising the goal for a sustainable urban infrastructure as a noble and necessary one, she enthused about the establishment of RISUD earlier this year and its aspirations for becoming a world leader in this field.

The conference program included 9 keynote lectures, 35 invited presentations, 11 mini-symposia and 13 parallel sessions on specialized topics. Below are details of the keynote speakers and their lecture topics.

Name Affiliation Topic
Prof. Nick Buenfeld Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Imperial College London
United Kingdom
Challenges in Understanding and Predicting the Deterioration of Concrete Structures
Prof. Oral Buyukozturk Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
United States
Deterioration and Performance Modeling of Epoxy-concrete Interfaces in Structures
Prof. Gregory G. Deierlein Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Stanford University
United States
Performance-based Earthquake Engineering and Innovations for Seismically Resilient Buildings and Communities
Prof. Filip C. Filippou Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of California, Berkeley
United States
Developments in Nonlinear Analysis for Life-cycle Structural Engineering
Prof. Dan Frangopol Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Lehigh University
United States
Probabilistic Life-cycle Management of Civil and Marine Infrastructures: Emphasis on Fatigue and Corrosion
Prof. Koichi Maekawa Dept. of Civil Engineering
The University of Tokyo
Multi-scale and Multi-chemo-mechanistic Approach to the Life-cycle Performance Assessment of Structural Concrete
Prof. Jin-Ping Ou School of Civil Engineering
Dalian University of Technology
Some Advances and Challenging Issues of the Life-cycle Performance Monitoring, Evaluation and Design of Infrastructure
Prof. Frieder Seible Jacobs School of Engineering
University of California, San Diego
United States
Assessment of the Structural Performance of Our Physical Infrastructure Under Extreme Loads
Prof. Surendra P. Shah Dept. of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Northwestern University
United States
Application of Nanotechnology for Sustainable Infrastructure Materials

With the financial support of half a dozen leading organizations, such as the Croucher Foundation, Sun Hung Kai Properties Limited, Chun Wo Development Holdings Limited, Gammon Construction Limited, Paul Y. Engineering Group Limited, and Vantage International (Holdings) Limited, the conference was a great success in bringing together industry practitioners and engineering scholars for the exchange of ideas related to the theme of the conference. The presentation of nearly 240 papers was well received by those in attendance. Numerous discussions were generated. New friendships were made and old acquaintances renewed.


FCE Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme 2012/13

To attract outstanding PhD graduates for world-class research, the Faculty of Construction and Environment launched a Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme where candidates can apply to work on projects led by our academics in 2011/12. Half of funding required comes from FCE, while the other half comes from the relevant department. In this academic year, 5 projects have been selected for support. Below are their details:
Dept Principal Investigator Co-Investigator(s) PDF Candidate  Project Title Decision and Amount of Matching Funding


Prof. Albert CHAN

Dr Esther CHEUNG

Dr Binqing ZHAI
(Xian JTU)

Dr Irene WONG

Evaluating the Economic, Social, and Cultural Impacts
of Revitalizing Industrial Buildings in Hong Kong

BRE: $157,500
FCE: $157,500


Prof. J.L. NIU



Development of Advanced Thermal Energy Storage Technologies

BSE: $157,500
FCE: $157,500



Prof. Tao WANG

Prof. Scot T. MARTIN



Heterogeneous Production
of Atmospheric Secondary Aerosol in Subtropical Hong Kong

CEE: $157,500
FCE: $157,500


Prof. Y.L. XU


Dr Jia HE

Structural Health Monitoring and Damage Detection of Building Structures Subjected to Multiple Hazards Effects

CEE: $126,000
FCE: $126,000


Prof. X.D. LI


Dr Junjun ZHANG

Mercury Isotope Fractionation by Biological Transport in Aquatic Systems

CEE: $163,500
FCE: $163,500

Congratulations to them all.

Applications for the Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme are accepted all year round. Candidates must demonstrate a good track record in research and have received their PhD degrees within the last three years.

LSGI academic receives Early Career Award 2012/13

As part of its Early Career Scheme, the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (RGC) rewards promising scholars in the early stages of their careers. Launched in 2011, the scheme attracted more than 300 applicants. In its inaugural year, the Early Career Award was given to 19 scholars from local universities, who were honoured at a dinner on 12 December 2012 for their outstanding achievements. Among them was Dr George Zhizhao Liu, an Assistant Professor from the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics. The project that led to his award was entitled “Innovative Real-Time Cycle Slip Detection and Rectification for High Precision GPS Positioning” and proposed an innovative algorithm for processing Global Positioning Systems (GPS)/Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) to enhance the precision and reliability of GPS/GNSS solutions.

Dr George Zhizhao Liu (on right)

Since GPS/GNSS have become the dominant technologies for precise Positioning, Navigation, Velocity and Timing (PNaVT), they have been successfully used in solving many scientific and engineering problems such as earthquake monitoring, structure health monitoring, atmospheric water vapor observation, space weather ionosphere studies, aircraft navigation and precision landing, human and logistics navigation and tracking, among others. In addition, millions of consumers routinely use smart phones with GPS/GNSS and in-car navigation systems. Many applications demand GPS solutions with very high precision (millimeter level) and reliability. For instance, a probability of 99.99999% meeting the specified precision and reliability is often required in aircraft landing applications. However, the occurrence of cycle slips in GPS/GNSS precise carrier phase measurements has been constantly threatening the reliability and precision of GPS/GNSS solutions. By proposing the use of ionospheric total electron contents rate (TECR), a type of physical information often ignored in the past, to detect and rectify cycle slips in GPS/GNSS measurements, Dr Liu ensures the precision and reliability of GPS/GNSS PNaVT solutions. Kudos to Dr Liu for his award.

Faculty Awards for Outstanding Performance

On the afternoon of 14 December 2012, a presentation ceremony for the winners of the President’s Awards and Faculty/School Awards was held at the Jockey Club Auditorium of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. 5 academics and 1 non-academic staff from the Faculty of Construction and Environment were honored with Faculty Awards. For his excellent teaching, Dr Joseph Lai from the Department of Building Services Engineering was singled out for an individual award. Team teaching was also rewarded. The team who taught the subject “Construction Materials” enhanced students’ understanding with an online platform and animated videos. It was led by Prof. C. S. Poon of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Team members included Dr Kou Shicong, Ir Dr Wallace Wai Lok Lai, and Mr Wong King Hee. In the category for research, Dr Agachai Sumalee of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering was honoured for his prolific research and his scholarly activities worldwide. Congratulations to all the above winners.

CEE academic delivers lecture at HK Science Museum

On the afternoon of 8 December 2012, Dr Lam Ka-se of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering gave a public lecture in Cantonese on regional air pollution in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta area. Supported by the Research Grants Council, his lecture at the Hong Kong Science Museum is part of a series to inform the public about scientific issues. In particular, he summarized the research and developments related to the air quality problems in the region in the last two decades, drawing from basic scientific research to understand and address them. The important role that government policies in Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta region have played in controlling emissions was discussed. It is expected that roadside air quality will improve but the problems of smog and photochemical smog will deteriorate.

Dr Lam Ka-se

BRE academics lead technical seminar for contractors

On the morning of 1 December 2012, Dr Andy Wong and Dr Daniel Chan from the Department of Building and Real Estate led a technical seminar on the latest version of a new engineering contract that facilitates the implementation of sound project management principles and practices. Delivered at the invitation of the technical committee of the Hong Kong Federation of Electrical and Mechanical Contractors (HKFEMC), they shared their expertise with an audience of more than 120, including some senior government officials and representatives from the member organizations of HKFEMC. In particular, Dr Wong outlined (1) the rationale for this new contract, (2) its core clauses, optional clauses, and components, (3) the roles and duties of various contracting parties, and (4) compared its crucial provisions with the common standard forms of contracts in Hong Kong. Following his presentation, Dr Chan highlighted (1) the research findings on the benefits, difficulties, and factors for success in such contracts/ target cost contracting, (2) the management and assessment of their risks, (3) case studies of relevant projects in Hong Kong and the U.K., and (4) trends in their future development. Their seminar was well received by all who attended.

BRE academic in charge of Executive Development Programme in Shopping Mall Management

To meet the needs of executives in managing the city’s growing mall complexes, a new postgraduate programme in Shopping Mall Management has been jointly developed by PolyU’s Institute of Advanced Executive Education and the Link Management Limited (LML), a major employer of professionals in retail space management. The signing ceremony on the afternoon of 12 December 2012 was attended by Prof. Judy Tsui, PolyU’s Vice President for International and Executive Education, Prof. Eddie Hui of the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE), and George Hongchoy, CEO of LML, who is pleased to have partnered with PolyU in the launch of this development programme for working professionals.

Scheduled to commence in January 2013, the programme consists of eight subjects that can be completed in 2 years of part-time study on Saturdays.


Prof. Hui is responsible for the overall quality of the programme, which combines classroom learning with real life applications. The integration of theory and practice is especially appealing to LML, which is investing nearly HK$3,800,000 to support 70 of its employees in professional development by means of this innovative programme. Taught by industry practitioners as well as academics from BRE and the School of Accounting and Finance, students will sharpen their skills in corporate finance, managerial accounting, and real estate valuation.

LSGI visits the HK Police Force

On 6 December 2012, the academic staff of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics visited the headquarters of the Hong Kong Police Force in Wanchai to discuss ways that they can collaborate for mutual benefits. These include activities related to teaching, research, career paths for students, WIE etc. The opportunity to exchange information was appreciated by both parties.

Academic staff of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics


BRE alumnae beat competition in Students Project Competition 2012

Two alumnae from the Department of Building and Real Estate have won awards in the annual Students Project Competition organized by the Safety Specialist Committee of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE). Ms Choi Nga Yee, Tracy, staved off competition for the championship in the postgraduate category with her project investigating the application and future development of the Pay for Safety Scheme (PFSS) in the Hong Kong construction industry. She will be honored at the HKIE-SSC annual dinner and award presentation ceremony on 11 January 2013 at the YMCA Salisbury in Tsim Sha Tsui. She was a student of Dr Daniel Chan, who also had another former student, Ms Law Ka Man, receiving a certificate of merit for evaluating the feasibility of implementing the PFSS in local private sector building projects. Congratulations to all of them.

Invitation for Programme Admission 2013/14

Applications are now invited for the following taught postgraduate programmes.  Students with outstanding academic records may be considered for scholarships along with admission. The deadline to submit applications is 1 March 2013 for all 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)
High Performance Buildings 高效能建築
Project Management 項目管理
Sustainable Urban Development 可持續城市發展學

For programme details, please visit

Faculty Distinguished Lecture and Public Lecture

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

Prof. Robert F. Sawyer

FCE Distinguished Lecture
"The Science and Politics of California Air Pollution"

Prof. Robert F. Sawyer, Class of 1935 Professor of Energy Emeritus, University of California, Berkeley

Date: 6 December 2012 (Thursday) (Details)

Dr Jin Wen

FCE Public Lecture
"Research and Applications of Building Energy Modeling, Diagnosis and Occupant Behavior"

Dr Jin Wen, Associate Professor, Department of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering, Drexel University

Date: 11 December 2012 (Tuesday) (Details)

Forthcoming Events

Information Seminar on Postgraduate Scheme in Construction and Environment
Date & Time: 19 January 2013 (Saturday), 2:30 - 4:00 pm
Venue: Room AG710, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
For details and registration, please visit

FCE Public Lecture:
Nanostructured Electrodes for Solid Oxide Fuel Cells

Date & Time: 31 January 2013 (Thursday), 3:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Venue: Room M1603, Senate Room, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

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 Environmental Engineering Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics