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Issue 29 - March 2013

 

Table of Contents

Ir Prof. Johnny Fan recognized as Outstanding PolyU Alumnus

Accolades for Ir Prof. Johnny Fan have followed one after another. Since receiving the 2012 Outstanding Alumni Award from the Departments of Building and Real Estate as well as Civil and Environmental Engineering, he has been selected as one of PolyU’s Outstanding Alumni, who will be honored in an award ceremony on 18 April 2013.

Jointly organized by PolyU and the Federation of PolyU Alumni Associations since late 1996, this biennial award aims to recognize the accomplishments and contributions made by former students of PolyU and its predecessors. Ir Prof. Johnny Fan has certainly distinguished himself with an impressive record of serving the community and giving back to society since graduating from the former Hong Kong Technical College in 1972 with a Higher Diploma in Structural Engineering. With foresight and a pioneering spirit, he launched the first precast concrete façade factory and set up the first steel pipe factory in Hong Kong. Currently the Director of WMKY Architects & Engineers, he is credited for introducing a number of new technologies to the Hong Kong construction market, including the Daido concrete piling system from Japan and YTONG blocks and panels from Germany.

With an illustrious career spanning over 40 years, he has accumulated a wealth of experience, which he drew upon in his service to many professional organizations. His commitment to the growth of his alma mater earned him a University Fellowship from PolyU in 2009. Congratulations to Ir Prof. Johnny Fan for another well deserved honor.

 
Ir Prof. Johnny Fan

PolyU academic serves as reviewer for Swedish Research Council

In the first ever appointment of an academic from Hong Kong to serve on Formas, a Swedish governmental agency that supports basic and applied research on the environment, agricultural sciences, and spatial planning, Prof. Albert Chan of the Faculty of Construction and Environment has been invited to serve as a review panel member for one year from March 2013. There are currently eight research panels of Formas, with a total of about 150 panel members, who are chosen by a rigorous peer review system. Congratulations to Prof. Chan, who will be visiting Stockholm in May 2013 as part of his official engagement.

 
Prof. Albert Chan

Fire safety a top concern of BSE researchers

Scholars at the Research Centre for Fire Engineering recently disseminated their findings from a HK$1.2 million project that began in 2009. Led by Prof. Chow Wan Ki, Head of the Department of Building Services Engineering, they demonstrated the phenomenon of an “internal fire swirl” that is formed when the flow of air at the scene of a fire accelerates, which could be deadly in tall buildings. Together with the presence of interior walls, drafts of rising hot flames create conditions that facilitate the formation of “tornadoes,” causing the fire to spread upwards three to four times more quickly. Funded by the Research Grants Council, the study aims to understand the characteristic effects of an internal fire swirl, and to find effective means to control it, which Prof. Chow hopes his team will be able to accomplish in the next two years. Their findings are expected to greatly upgrade fire safety in vertical shafts like elevator shafts and stairwells.

 
Prof. Chow Wan Ki

The Research Centre for Fire Engineering also conducts research on fire safety with respect to supertall buildings, subway stations built deep underground, long tunnels, large buildings, and green buildings. It has collaborated with universities in places like Harbin and Chengdu, besides jointly establishing a Research Centre for Fire Safety and Technology for Large Buildings with the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei. Prof. Chow added they have been fortunate to have participated in evaluating fire safety design of monuments like the Bird’s Nest and the Water Cube in Beijing for the Olympics since 2003. “With the rapid development of cities in the mainland, space and resources have become available for putting theory into practice, making our research more relevant to the real world.” 

With more than 30 years of research experience in fire engineering, Prof. Chow believes that standardizing the fire safety of supertall buildings is a future direction for researchers in this part of the world. Even though Hong Kong has high-rises that are over 300 metres, like the 118-storey International Commerce Centre and the 88-storey International Finance Centre, there are no special rules and guidelines on fire safety for these supertall buildings. More comprehensive measures for improvement in this regard still await further research.

HK PhD Fellowships 2013/14

The Faculty of Construction and Environment is pleased that 8* incoming postgraduates in the 2013/14 academic year will be supported in their studies by the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship Scheme, which was launched in 2009 by the Research Grants Council to attract talented students without regard to their race or nationality to study for their PhDs in a local tertiary institution. Awarded based on academic merit, the Fellowship provides a monthly stipend of HK$20,000 (approximately US$2,600) and an annual travel allowance of HK$10,000 (approximately US$1,300). Tuition fees are also waived for the awardees. Below are their names, their proposed research projects, and their supervisors.

GAO Ran

GUO Shan

MOK Ka Yan

WU Yan

HU Rongpan

WANG Jiji

XIE Xiao Guang

ABBAS Sawaid

Dept

Name of Awardee

Name of Supervisor

Title of proposed research

BRE

GAO Ran

Prof. Albert Chan

Relationship between Internationalization and corporate performance of Chinese construction enterprises

BRE

GUO Shan

Prof. Geoffrey Shen

Low-carbon building: A systems evaluation framework based on multi-scale input-output analysis

BRE MOK Ka Yan Prof. Geoffrey Shen Analysing stakeholder-organization relationships in mega construction projects: a social network approach
BSE WU Yan Prof. J.L. Niu Numerical study on the dynamics of human wake and its influence on indoor contaminant transport and inhaled air quality
CEE HU Rongpan Prof. Y.L. Xu Structural health monitoring for long-span suspension bridge
CEE WANG Jiji Prof. J.G. Teng Elliptical FRP-confined steel-reinforced concrete columns subjected to eccentric compression
CEE XIE Xiao Guang Prof. J.G. Teng Elliptical FRP tube-confined reinforced concrete columns subjected to seismic loading
LSGI ABBAS Sawaid Prof. J. Nichol Agro-pastoral ecosystem dynamics in context of climate variability and grazing practices in upper Indus basin

*One has declined the offer due to a prior acceptance of another scholarship.

BRE Lecturer featured in video series for good teaching practices

With the growing number of old structures and new building projects in Hong Kong, the challenge of developing professionals with a strong sense of social responsibility has never been more pressing in the construction industry. Dr Sandy Tang, a Lecturer in the Department of Building and Real Estate and coordinator of the BSc (Hons) programme in Surveying, recently shared her wisdom on how to nurture graduates with a commitment to serve society in a 12-minute video produced by the Educational Development Centre of PolyU. In addition to traditional lectures to inspire her students to be concerned about the current issues around them, she would invite experts to share their ideas and experience in the Integrated Project course that she teaches. There would also be debates on interesting topics in tutorials, such as whether to demolish unauthorized structures, reinstitute the home ownership scheme etc., as well as open-ended quiz questions to provide opportunities for students to reflect and engage in critical thinking. Her teaching methods have been well received by her students, whose awareness of multiple perspectives has increased as a result. They learnt to start thinking as ethical professionals, providing practical solutions to difficult problems. Many thanks to Dr Tang for sowing the seeds of social responsibility in our budding professionals.

Video: http://edc.polyu.edu.hk/honouring-videos-sandy.htm

 

One-year Top-up Studentship Scheme benefits 10 postgraduates

The Faculty of Construction and Environment established the One-year Top-up Studentship Scheme in 2010 to encourage colleagues to admit strong PhD students using their external research grants. Between May 2012 and Feb. 2013, we have supported the following students, who are either in their first year of studies or will be beginning their studies later this year. Below are their names and their supervisors.

Name of Applicant

Degree

Dept

Supervisor

Status

Mr Ho Cheuk Yei

PhD

BSE

Prof. SK Tang

Supported and allocated $93,850 from FCE

Mr Jia Jie

PhD

BSE

Dr Wai Ling Lee

Supported and allocated $93,850 from FCE

Ms Liu Jing

PhD

BSE

Prof. Wan-ki Chow

Supported and allocated $93,850 from FCE

Mr Tang Yijia

PhD

BSE

Prof. SK Tang

Supported and allocated $93,850 from FCE

Mr Xue Peng

PhD

BSE

Prof. CM Mak

Supported and allocated $93,850 from FCE

Mr He Wenyu

PhD

CEE

Dr Songye Zhu

Supported and allocated $93,850 from FCE

Mr Ni Pinghe

PhD

CEE

Dr Yong Xia

Supported and allocated $93,850 from FCE

Mr Zeng Junjie

PhD

CEE

Prof. Jin-Guang Teng

Supported and allocated $93,850 from FCE

Mr Chen Biyan

PhD

LSGI

Dr George Liu

Supported and allocated $93,850 from FCE

Mr Ye Lei

PhD

LSGI

Dr Bo Wu

Conditional offer and allocated $93,850 from FCE


Mr Ho Cheuk Yei

Mr Jia Jie

Ms Liu Jing

Mr Tang Yijia

Mr Xue Peng

Mr He Wenyu

Mr He Wenyu

Mr Zeng Junjie

Mr Chen Biyan

Mr Ye Lei

New book by BRE scholars demystifies Public Private Partnerships

If you have been wondering how public private partnerships work in international construction, you’re in luck. A new textbook by Prof. Albert Chan, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Construction and Environment, and his former PhD student, Dr Esther Cheung, has provided an in-depth examination of the principles for such partnerships, critical perspectives of industry practitioners, as well as innovative case studies.

Organized into three parts for easy reference, the book will be published in August 2013 by Routledge. Its publication is funded by the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors, which has sponsored the writing of textbooks that are relevant to local practice for the surveying profession and students. Public Private Partnerships in International Construction: Learning from case studies is certainly a book that has lived up to its expectations. Congratulations to the authors!

 

New Academic Staff

Dr Andy YF Leung, Assistant Professor

Dr Andy YF Leung will join the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in April 2013 as an Assistant Professor. His research interests include soil-structure interactions, optimisations of pile groups and piled raft systems, and their applications in foundation reuse. He also has research experience in the application of optical fibre strain sensors based on Brillouin Optical Time Domain Reflectometry (BOTDR).
Dr Leung received his undergraduate education at The University of Hong Kong, after which he obtained a Master of Science degree from the University of California at Berkeley in 2005 and a PhD from the University of Cambridge in 2011.  He has practised geotechnical engineering both in Hong Kong and the United States. Prior to the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Dr Leung was a project engineer at AECOM Asia Co. Ltd, and was involved in large-scale civil engineering projects in various countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, India, Kuwait, etc. Locally, he participated in the construction of the West Kowloon Terminus of the Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link, and has conducted various studies for the Geotechnical Engineering Office of the Civil Engineering and Development Department.


 


Dr Andy YF Leung

Dr Leu Shao Yuan, Assistant Professor

Another new assistant professor, Dr Leu Shao Yuan, will join the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering on 17 June 2013. His research interests are in biomass-to-biofuels processes, biological systems, and environmental water quality control. Prior to his appointment at PolyU, he served as a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) of the United States Department of Agriculture from 2011 to 2013. His research there was on converting forest residues into biofuels and useful by-products.

Dr Leu obtained his Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees from the Forestry Department of National Taiwan University. He received his Ph.D. in Wastewater Engineering from the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department of the University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) in 2009. He then worked as a Postdoctoral Fellow there until 2011. Dr Leu qualified for his Professional Engineer (P.E.) license in California through his work experience at the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board from 2009 to 2010. He was also a lecturer at the University of California at Riverside in the spring of 2010 and a guest lecturer at UCLA in 2011.


 


Dr Leu Shao Yuan

Indonesia Service Learning Project 2012

At the Award Presentation Ceremony for Outstanding Service-Learning Projects on 21 February 2013, 4 students from the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) were honored along with 16 students from other PolyU departments for their participation in a self-initiated project that won a Gold Award. Co-organized by LSGI, the Office of Service Learning, Duta Wacana Christian University of Indonesia, and the Australian National University, the project aims to nurture a sense of social responsibility in students by having them serve those who are less privileged. Students from the organizing institutions stayed in the homes of the villagers of Yogyakarta, 100 km south of Semarang on the Island of Java, for nearly a month from 18 June to 12 July in 2012. Their mission was to help develop Yogyakarta into a tourist attraction and to enhance the quality of life for the residents. The nature of services provided by the students ranged from health care to map production to education to water supply to economics.

Not only did students learn about Indonesian culture and customs, they also had a chance to apply their knowledge of Geomatics. One of the LSGI students, Michael WONG Man Kong, said they helped local villagers to recognize land boundaries in the field from many technical drawings. Another student, Abi WAI On Yi, said they finished a map that integrated most of the records of the land lots. Both of them valued their experience of serving in a foreign country.

Mr Joseph Lam, one of the project advisers and an Instructor in LSGI, stated that the success of the service-learning experience was largely due to its meaningful theme, inspirational exchanges, and hard work. It allowed students to discover their own limitations as they applied what they have learnt. They became more motivated to solve problems as a result.

Other service-learning subjects offered by the Faculty of Construction and Environment include “Indoor Environment for Serving the Elderly” from the Department of Building Services Engineering, “Housing for the Community” and “Social Justice in Private Housing Redevelopment,” both from the Department of Building and Real Estate.

Faculty Public Lecture


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


Dr Richard Nielsen

FCE Public Lecture
"Structural Engineering at the University of Idaho: Bridges and Buildings"

Speaker:
Dr Richard Nielsen, Chairman, Department of Civil Engineering, University of Idaho

Date: 12 March 2013 (Tuesday) (Details)

Forthcoming Events

FCE Public Lecture: From Relative Gas Permeability Experiments to In-situ Measurements
Date & Time: 3 April 2013 (Wed), 6:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Venue: Room Y301, Li Shau Kee Building, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Website: https://www.polyu.edu.hk/fce/events/20130403_lecture/


FCE Public Lecture: Judgmental Bias in Housing Decisions
Date & Time: 9 April 2013 (Tue), 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Venue: Room M1603, Li Ka Shing Tower, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Website: https://www.polyu.edu.hk/fce/events/20130409_lecture/


FCE Sustainable Urban Development Forum cum Research Alumni Reunion
Date: 20 April 2013 (Saturday)
Forum: 2:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Banquet: 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
Venue: The Ritz-Carlton, Shenzhen
Further details of the forum are available at: https://www.polyu.edu.hk/fce/alumni_event2013/


Summer School for Outstanding Postgraduate and Senior Undergraduate Students
Duration: 30 July to 8 August 2013 (tentative)
Location: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hung Hom, Kowloon, Hong Kong, China
Website: https://www.polyu.edu.hk/fce/events/FCE&RI_SS/


12th International Conference on Sustainable Energy Technologies (SET2013)
Date: 26-29 August 2013
Venue: Chiang Chen Studio Theatre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Website: https://www.polyu.edu.hk/risud/set2013/


Academic Vacancies - FCE     HKPolyUFCE

Copyright © 2013 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