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Issue 39 - January 2014


Table of Contents

PolyU leads in research on construction and building technology

In the latest affirmation of PolyU’s research productivity in the field of construction and building technology, a recent study by a team of researchers from the Polytechnic University of Madrid in Spain has identified PolyU as a leading institution in publications in that field from 2000 to 2011.

Titled "Bibliometric analysis in the international context of the 'Construction and Building Technology' category from the Web of Science database,” the paper ranks the countries and research centres with the most research activities in terms of published articles between 1997 and 2011. The top five research centres in descending order were:

  1. Hong Kong Polytechnic University
  2. National University of Singapore
  3. University of California at Berkeley
  4. Purdue University
  5. Tongji University

Although the country with the most prolific output is the United States, researchers in mainland China are gradually catching up to their western counterparts. The steady increase in research activity in the field of construction and building technology worldwide is testimony to the growing interest in this area, which is well represented by the specialties in the Faculty of Construction and Environment.

Three cheers for the research efforts by FCE academics, who have contributed to PolyU’s leading position in this field.

CEE scholars honored with National Natural Science Award

Prof. Teng Jin-Guang, Director of the Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development and Chair Professor of Structural Engineering of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, together with his collaborators (Prof. Lu Xinzheng of Tsinghua University, Dr Lik Lam of PolyU and Prof. Ye Lieping of Tsinghua University), were recently honored in Beijing with the National Natural Science Award (second-class), China’s most prestigious award in the field of natural science. They were recognized for their pioneering research on the behavior and design of structures strengthened with advanced fiber-reinforced polymer (FRP) composites, including the development of the first comprehensive, systematic and scientific theory for FRP-strengthened concrete structures. Their research outcomes have been adopted by civil engineering design guidance documents in China, the US, the UK, and Australia. Congratulations to them all.

Prof. Teng Jin-Guang (on right)
and Dr Lik Lam (on left)
at the award ceremony

Former Dean of FCE joins ranks of HKAES

In a recent election of the Hong Kong Academy of Engineering Sciences (HKAES), the previous Dean of the Faculty of Construction and Environment, Prof. Teng Jin-Guang, has joined the redoubtable ranks of the preeminent organization. As one of its Fellows, Prof. Teng will contribute his expertise to the advancement of the science, art, and practice of engineering for the benefit of society. Previous Fellows have included such luminaries in academe as Prof. Emeritus Ko Jan-ming and Prof. Timothy Tong, President of PolyU. Prof. Teng is honored to have the opportunity to make a difference in the engineering field together with other distinguished Fellows. Congratulations to him for this latest recognition of his accomplishments.

Prof. Teng Jin-Guang

BSE scholars win Faculty Awards

Two academics from the Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE) were honored with Faculty Awards for their outstanding performance at the Jockey Club Auditorium on 22 January 2014.

Dr Chan Ming-yin has demonstrated excellence in the category of teaching, while Prof. Niu Jianlei has been exemplary in his research and scholarly activities.

Dr Chan has dedicated himself to improving the teaching and learning not only within his Department, but also throughout the Faculty. A Co-investigator of a Faculty-wide Teaching and Learning Project from 2010 to 2012, he was involved in developing assessment rubrics for project-based subjects. He also played a major role in the 2005 curriculum reform to emphasize outcome-based learning. His efforts to make a positive impact on his students’ intellectual development and ethical behavior have been rewarded with a Departmental Teaching Excellence Award in 2011/2012.

Prof. Niu Jianlei
Dr Chan Ming-yin

Another deserving winner is Prof. Niu Jianlei, who has had a stellar academic career at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University since joining the Department in 1994. Receiving over 20 competitive grants from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council alone in almost as many years, he has established himself as an expert in his field. His track record in securing external funding for research over the years has showered him with the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research Funding in both 2012 and 2008. A Distinguished Lecturer for the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) since July 2009, he has delivered invited lectures to member countries all over the world. He was recently presented with a lifetime ASHRAE fellowship.

Congratulations to our illustrious colleagues!

BRE academics lead workshop on construction safety

Ever wondered why fatalities still occur on construction sites when the rate of accidents on-site in the past decade has continued to decline? To address this issue, the Construction Industry Council (CIC) held a workshop on construction safety on 21 January 2014 for various stakeholders, including government officials, major contractors, designers, subcontractors, consultants, and frontline workers. After welcoming remarks from the permanent secretary of the Development Bureau, Ir C.S. Wai, and the Chairman of CIC, Ir S.S. Lee, Prof. Albert Chan and Prof. Francis Wong of the Department of Building and Real Estate led two parallel workshops to explore strategies for reducing accidents in the construction industry. Amongst the topics discussed were the responsibilities of government, landlords, management, construction professionals etc., where improvements can be made in the long/ short term, as well as how to implement and promote them in new engineering projects, renovations, alterations etc. Many innovative ideas were generated from the interactive discussions, which attracted more than 50 participants.

The Construction Industry Council (CIC) held a workshop on construction safety on 21 January 2014

MTR taps into research expertise of RISUD

A research group led by Prof. Shengwei Wang, Chair Professor of the Department of Building Services Engineering who also heads the Building Energy and Automation Research Group of RISUD, has been contracted by the Mass Transit Railway Corporation (MTRC) to conduct research on life-cycle commissioning and optimization of the ventilation and air-conditioning systems at the new To Kwa Wan underground station on the proposed east-west line between Shatin and Central. Spanning four stages of work that includes design, installation, commissioning and testing as well as early operation, the project will take a little over four years, from mid-January 2014 to mid-April 2018.

Significant energy savings by the MTRC can be expected as a result of this project, which will cost the MTRC HK$1,750,000. Not bad for a research project that can reduce energy consumption and save money at the same time. Incidentally, the technologies that will be deployed at the To Kwa Wan MTR station by Prof. Wang and his group have also been applied to the air-conditioning systems at the International Commerce Centre in West Kowloon, which led to approximately 15% reduction in energy consumption there.

Prof. Shengwei Wang

Collaborative Research Fund to support large-scale testing facility

A unique multi-functions large-scale physical model testing facility for studying the impact of debris flow on flexible barriers and geo-hazards in Hong Kong has recently received financial support of HK$8,208,881. 50% of that comes from the Research Grants Council Collaborative Research Fund, 25% from PolyU, with the remaining amount jointly split between the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering and the Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development. Led by Prof. Yin Jianhua of the same department, the project will start on 30 June 2014 and will last three years. Together with collaborators from CityU, CUHK, HKU, and HKUST, the project includes the following aims:

(a) to make the facility a multi-functional platform for carrying out research works on common geo-hazards, (b) to study new technologies and methods for prevention or reduction of geo-hazards, (c) to test and verify existing and new monitoring technologies, and (d) to validate small-scale centrifugal models, numerical models, design methods by comparison.

The mitigation of geo-hazards will have a significant impact not only on fundamental research and technological advancement, but also on the safety of our communities and the protection of our living environment.

Prof. Yin Jianhua

LSGI scholar to conduct major NSFC research

In an auspicious start to the new year, Dr Bo Wu of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics has received funding of RMB 800,000 from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC) under its major research plan to focus on basic scientific issues and key areas of strategic importance to the nation. Designed to be a program cluster containing a number of innovative research projects, the plan allocates resources for research in specific areas, one of which is “Fundamental Theories and Key Technologies of Space Information Network.” Addressing the urgent need for development of national space information networks, including the optimization of dynamic network topology, high-speed information transmission, and multi-dimensional data fusion, Dr Wu’s project delves into the synergistic computation of multi-source remote sensing data, and will last 3 years from January 2014 to December 2016.

Dr Bo Wu

Partner GNSS Research Center established at LSGI

On 20 January 2014, the HKPolyU-Wuhan University Partner GNSS Research Center was officially established in an unveiling ceremony at the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI). Witnessed by PolyU’s Vice President (Research Development) Prof. Alex Wai and the former President of Wuhan University, Prof. Jingnan Liu, the ceremony was officiated by the Head of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics, Prof. Xiaoli Ding.  Welcoming speeches were delivered by Prof. Albert Chan, interim Dean of the Faculty of Construction and Environment, and Prof. Xiangdong Li, Associate Dean (Research) of FCE. Attending the opening of this long-awaited center were Prof. Wu Chen and Dr George Zhizhao Liu.

With its cutting edge research, the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) has formed a close partnership with Wuhan University, one of the top universities in mainland China. Over the past decades, the GNSS Research & Development Center of Wuhan University has been a national center of innovation in conducting research in Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS). The new partnership will further strengthen the collaboration in GNSS research between PolyU and Wuhan University.  It will provide an excellent platform for PolyU researchers to share and access the resources available in the mainland.

Taking advantage of modern satellite-based positioning and navigation technologies, GNSS can provide high precision Positioning, Navigation, Velocity and Timing (PNaVT) information anywhere on Earth and even in outer space. Together with the well known U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS), the Chinese BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, the Russian GLONASS and the European Galileo system, GNSS are regarded as one of the most critical infrastructures for a nation.

Staff Promotion

Dr Jian-Guo Dai of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering has been promoted to Associate Professor since July 2013. He has a PhD in Structural Engineering from Dalian University of Technology and another PhD in Socio-Environmental Engineering from Hokkaido University. His major research areas are fiber reinforced polymer (FRP) composites for construction and durability & life cycle management of concrete structures in marine environments. With more than 130 journal and international conference papers published in the above fields, Dr Dai is an active researcher who has received many awards for his work. Since joining PolyU in 2008, he has secured several external research grants (exceeding six million HK dollars) as a principle investigator, including three GRF, one NSFC, one ITF and some other grants from industry. At present, he is an Associate Editor of the Journal of Advances in Structural Engineering and a reviewer for over 30 international journals.

Dr Jian-Guo Dai

FCE Postdoctoral Fellowship Scheme 2013

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 the funding required comes from FCE, while the other half comes from the relevant department. In the year of 2013, 5 projects have been selected for support. Below are their details:


Principal Investigator

Co-Investigator(s) PDF Candidate Project Title Decision and Amount of Matching Funding
BSE Dr LU Lin, Vivien N/A Dr QI Ronghui Study on Hear/Mass Transfer and Flow Dynamic of Internally Cooled/Heated Liquid Desiccant for Solar-assisted Air-conditioning System Supported
BSE: $144,900
FCE: $144,900


Prof. TENG

N/A Dr ZHANG Shishun Enhancement of Seismic Performance of RC Frames through Selective Weakening in Combination with FRP Strengthening Supported
CEE: $157,500
FCE: $157,500
CEE Dr DAI Jian-Guo Prof. TENG
Dr GAO Wan-Yang Behavior and Modeling of RC Beams Strengthened with FRP Micro Bars-reinforced Cementitious Overlay at Ambient and Elevated Temperatures Supported
CEE: $157,500
FCE: $157,500
LSGI Prof. DING Xiao-li N/A Dr HU Jun Determination of Ionospheric Effects Associated with Earthquakes using Multiple Apertures In SAR Supported
LSGI: $187,500
FCE: $187,500
LSGI Dr Wallace LAI
Fung Chu, Janet
Investigation of Inhomogeneous Water Distribution (IWD) in Soil and Concrete using Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) Supported
LSGI: $144,900
FCE: $144,900

One-Year Top-up Studentship Scheme

The following students have recently received funding from the One-year Top-up Studentship Scheme to pursue their PhD studies.

Name of PhD candidate

Department Supervisor Status

Prof. CHUNG Kwok-fai

Supported and allocated $96,250 from FCE



Dr LEE Po-Heng, Henry

Supported and allocated $96,250 from FCE

Prof. NI Yi-qing

Supported and allocated $96,250 from FCE


Supported and allocated $96,250 from FCE

Scholarship student graduates with Distinction

Lu Hua, a Semester One graduate in 2013/14 of one of our taught postgraduate programmes, has made good use of the entry scholarship he received in 2012/13 to learn more and strengthen his knowledge in civil engineering. He believes hard work is essential to make things possible. With his MSc degree, he plans to get his chartership in civil engineering next. He also hopes to lead a team to design and build some noteworthy projects in the future.

Lu Hua

2nd PolyU-GIGCAS Workshop

At a joint workshop with the Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry, a division of the Chinese Academy of Science (GIG-CAS) on 7 December 2013, the following research staff and students from the Faculty of Construction and Environment were honored for their outstanding presentations:


Presentation Topic
Belinda Yuan GAO
(PhD Student)

[Oral] Chemical and optical characteristics of size-resolved particles in Hong Kong urban area
during the winter period

(PhD student)

[Oral] Selective sequestration of sodium dodecyl sulfate using modified zeolite with
anaerobically-treated greywater

Haijian BING
(Research Associate)

[Poster] The Sources and mobilization potential of lead in soils and plants at the Hailuogou Glacier
Foreland in eastern Tibetan Plateau

(Research Assistant)

[Poster] Measurements of OVOCs and NMHCs using PTR-MS in roadside microenvironments of
Hong Kong

Jiamin OU
(Research Assistant)
[Poster] Real-time measurements of non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHCs) from 2005 to 2010 in
Hong Kong: a multi-year data analysis

Visit to SCUT

A group of RISUD researchers paid a visit to the State Key Laboratory of Subtropical Building Science at the South China University of Technology (SCUT) in Guangzhou on 30-31 December 2013. Led by Prof. Jin-Guang Teng, Director of RISUD, the researchers met with their mainland counterparts to explore opportunities for research collaboration in areas of mutual interest, including urban planning and design, building environment and energy efficiency, as well as structures and safety. Among those presenting their latest research were Prof. Geoffrey Shen, Prof. Albert Chan, Prof. Edwin Chan, Prof. Xiaoli Ding, Prof. Hongxing Yang, Prof. Tao Wang, Dr Jianguo Dai, Dr Lin Lu, and Dr Fu Xiao.

It is hoped that a number of collaborative research projects can be launched after the visit, with funding support from RISUD and/or the State Key Laboratory.

PolyU Info Day for Taught Postgraduate Programmes

On the afternoon of 11 January 2014, information seminars on various postgraduate programmes offered by the Faculty of Construction and Environment and its four departments were held at PolyU. Besides finding out the programme requirements of the courses they were interested in, prospective applicants also had a chance to have their questions answered by the programme coordinators. The eleven different sessions attracted a crowd of more than 280. Applicants with outstanding academic results may be considered for entry scholarships to support their studies. Early application is encouraged. More details can be found at

Invitation for Programme Admission 2014/15

Applications are now invited for the following taught postgraduate programmes.

For details, please visit at

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 Public Lecture

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

Prof. Kenny Kwok

FCE Public Lecture
"Effects of Wind-induced Building Vibration on Occupant Wellbeing and Work Performance"

Prof. Kenny Kwok
Institute for Infrastructure Engineering
University of Western Sydney

Date: 8 January 2014 (Wed) (Details)

Forthcoming Events

FCE Public Lecture:
Building Information Modelling: Making Changes and Reshaping Western Australian Industry to Increase Productivity, Reduce Costs, and Boost Investment

Date & Time: 10 Feb 2014 (Mon), 11:00a.m. to 12:00p.m.
Venue: Room M1603, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

FCE Public Lecture:
Development of Cutting Edge Biological Nitrogen Removal: Anaerobic Ammonium Oxidation in Taiwan

Date & Time: 14 Feb 2014 (Fri), 11:00a.m. to 12:00p.m.
Venue: Room Z4-040, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
1st Cross-Strait Forum on Sustainable Urban Development
Date: 14 - 16 Feb 2014
Venue: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Hong Kong – Barcelona Urban Exchange: A Dual Approach to Waterfront Regeneration
Date & Time: 22 Feb 2014 (Sat), 9:00am – 4:30pm
Venue: Grand Hall, Lee Shau Kee Lecture Centre, Centenary Campus, University of Hong Kong
Details and registration: Click here to download
International Workshop on Bifurcation and Degradation of Geomechanics
Date: 28-30 May 2014
Venue: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Talking Science Contest
Do you have the gift of gab? You could be in the running for prizes worth up to HK$5000!
Details: Click here to download

Academic Vacancies - FCE     HKPolyUFCE
Faculty of Construction and EnvironmentDepartment of Building and Real EstateDepartment of Building Services EngineeringDepartment of Civil and Environmental EngineeringDepartment of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics

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