Back to Main

Issue 42 - April 2014


Table of Contents

Staff Promotions

6 academics from the Faculty of Construction and Environment were promoted to Chair Professors in March 2014. Following are their details:

• Prof. Siu Lai Chan, Chair Professor of Computational Structural Engineering (CEE)

Prof. Chan has published more than 300 papers in journals and books, including keynote/invited papers in major conferences overseas. He is the chief and founding editor of two SCI-E journals in steel structures as well as a board member of 8 other journals. A principal consultant for Hong Kong’s code of practice for the structural uses of steel in 2005 and 2011, he developed a computer-based and practical design method bypassing the prescriptive use of effective length, charts and tables. Since 1998, the “simulation-based” design method has been utilised in a number of practical steel structures in the region and was used in the 2008 and 2009 award-winning projects of HKIE in Hong Kong and Macau. Prof. Chan was given the Class I Award by The Ministry of Education of the Chinese mainland in 2009 for his work with Tongji University (China) in nonlinear analysis and design of high rise buildings. He was also awarded for a project in Singapore for structural excellence by the Joint Structural Division of HKIE in 2013, the best paper award in HKIE transaction in 2011, as well as several awards by the university for his research and community services.

His research interests include steel structures, non-linear solution methods, buckling, stability, advanced nonlinear design, glass and slender skeletal structures, nonlinear finite element analysis, second order direct analysis, steel, bamboo and aluminum scaffolding and pre-tensioning steel structures.

Prof. Siu Lai Chan

• Prof. Xiang-dong Li, Chair Professor of Environmental Science and Technology (CEE)

Prof. Li obtained his BSc in Earth Sciences and his MSc in Geochemistry from Nanjing University, and his PhD in Environmental Technology from Imperial College London. His major research interests include regional environmental pollution, urban environmental geochemistry and phytoremediation of contaminated land. He has published more than 150 papers in leading international journals, and is one of the highly cited researchers in the Environment/Ecology research fields of the ISI database. His recent research projects have mainly focused on environmental changes in the fast developing Pearl River Delta region of South China. Prof. Li’s research team has been engaged in the study of trace metals and organic pollutants in soils, sediments, biological samples, and atmospheric particles, including their impacts on human health and ecological systems.

Prof. Li is the past President (2011-2013) of the International Society of Environmental Geochemistry and Health (SEGH), and serves on the board of a number of professional associations, including the American Chemical Society (ACS), the International Association of Geochemistry (IAGC), and the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC). He is currently an associate editor for Environmental Science and Technology (ES&T), a top journal in environmental research published by ACS. Prof. Li is also an associate editor and editorial board member for several other international journals in related research fields.

Prof. Xiang-dong Li

• Prof. Tao Wang, Chair Professor of Atmospheric Environment (CEE)

Prof. Wang obtained a BSc in Chemistry from Nankai University in 1985, then spent one year at Peking University studying for his MSc in Environmental Chemistry. He obtained his PhD in Atmospheric Chemistry from Georgia Institute of Technology in 1992, and did postdoctoral research at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor. He joined PolyU in 1995 as an Assistant Professor and has been a Chair Professor since July 2013. Prof. Wang has studied various air pollution issues in Hong Kong and other mega cities in China. He has led a number of research and consultancy projects, including serving as the chief scientist for China’s National Basic Research Project on acid rain that was funded by the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2005-2010, RMB 25M), and the principal investigator of a photochemical study funded by the Environmental Conservation Fund (2010-2014, HK$6.55M). Prof. Wang has published over 100 papers in international journals, with an h-index of 36 according to the Web of Science. His findings have been adopted in United Nations’ climate assessment report on air-pollution improvement for the 2008 Beijing Olympics, and air pollution regulations in Hong Kong.

Prof. Wang serves as a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry Project, an associate editor of Journal of Geophysical Research-Atmospheres and a guest editor for Atmospheric Chemistry Physics, which are two leading international geosciences journals. He was on the engineering panel (General Research Scheme) of the Research Grants Council (RGC) of Hong Kong during 2006-2011 and currently serves on its selection panel for the Joint Research Scheme and the Hong Kong PhD Fellowship. A scientific advisor of the Hong Kong Observatory and a member of the academic committee for one national and three ministry-level Key Laboratories in China, he is also Vice Chair of a China Working Group of the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry Program and serves as a guest/adjunct professor at several leading Chinese mainland universities/research institutions.

His research interests include the chemistry of natural and polluted atmosphere, air pollution-cloud interactions, urban and regional air quality management.

Prof. Tao Wang

• Prof. Jianhua Yin, Chair Professor of Soil Mechanics (CEE)

Prof. Yin received a BEng degree in 1983 and an MSc degree in 1984 in Mainland China and a PhD from the University of Manitoba, Canada in 1990. He came to Hong Kong in 1994 and worked in a consulting firm until he joined The Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 1995. He is Vice-President of the International Association for Computer Methods and Advances in Geomechanics (IACMAG). He is an associate editor of the Canadian Geotechnical Journal, a co-editor of the International Journal of Geomechanics, as well as GeoMechanics and GeoEngineering, and is on the Editorial (Advisory) Board of eight other journals. He received the IACMAG’s prestigious John Booker Medal in October 2008 and its Chandra S. Desai Excellence Award in May 2011 for excellent contributions in experimental study of the nonlinear and time-dependent stress-strain behavior of soils, development and applications of elastic visco-plastic constitutive models, and innovative development of laboratory testing facilities and optical fibre sensing technologies. He also delivered the 2011 Huang Wen-Xi Lecture entitled “From Constitutive Modelling to Development of Laboratory Testing and Optical Fibre Sensor Monitoring Technologies” in Nanjing, China.

His research interests include the properties and behaviour of soils; constitutive modelling; soft soil improvement; geosynthetics-reinforcement and modelling; slope analysis and stabilization; monitoring geotechnical structures using optical fibre sensors and other sensors; soil/structure interactions; geotechnical numerical analyses; and development of lab testing facilities.

Prof. Jianhua Yin

• Prof. Zhi Lin Li, Chair Professor of Geo-Informatics (LSGI)

Prof. Li obtained his BSc in photogrammetry and remote sensing from Southwestern Jiaotong University (China) in 1982 and his PhD from the University of Glasgow (UK) in 1990. He subsequently worked at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne as a postdoctoral research associate, the University of Southampton and the Technical University of Berlin (Germany) as a postdoctoral research fellow. In 1994, he took up a lectureship at the Curtin University of Technology in Australia. He joined the Hong Kong Polytechnic University in 1996 and was promoted to professor in 2003.
Prof. Li has a total of over 200 publications, including over 120 journal papers, over 10 book chapters and 2 research monographs. His research interests are in multi-scale, multi-dimensional modelling and representation.

Prof. Zhi Lin Li

• Prof. John Wenzhong Shi, Chair Professor of Geographical Information Science (GISci) and Remote Sensing (LSGI)

Prof. Shi received his B.Eng and M.Eng from the Wuhan Technic University of Surveying and Mapping (now Wuhan University) in 1985 and 1988 respectively, and his doctoral degree from the University of Osnabrück in Vechta, Germany in 1994. His current research interests are in the areas of GISci and remote sensing, focusing on uncertainty modelling and quality control for spatial data, object extraction and change detection from high resolution satellite images and laser scanning (LiDAR) data, 3D and dynamic modelling and analysis in GIS.

He proposed and developed the principles of modeling uncertainties in spatial data and spatial analyses, writing the first book on this topic. Four major theoretical breakthroughs have been made through his research: (a) from determinant- to uncertainty-based representation of geographic objects in GISci; (b) from uncertainty modeling for static spatial data to dynamic spatial analyses; (c) from uncertainty modeling for spatial data to spatial models; and (d) from error description of spatial data to spatial data quality control. Because of these achievements, he received the 2012 Wang Zhizhuo Award, given quadrennially by the International Society for Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing (ISPRS), and a State Natural Science Award (the most prestigious award for basic research in China) by the State Council of China in 2007.

Prof. Shi has served as President of ISPRS’s Commission on Theory and Concepts of Spatial Information Science (2008-2012), and was the President for the Hong Kong Geographic Information System Association (2001-2003). He also serves as an editorial board member for a number of international journals, including IJGIS, the top journal in GISci. He has published more than 200 journal articles and over 10 books.

Prof. John Shi

CIC funds research proposals of FCE academics

The Construction Industry Council (CIC) has been a staunch supporter of research related to the profession. In 2013 alone, it awarded $11.4 million to 11 projects, 5 of which are led by academics from the Faculty of Construction and Environment, with a total funding of $4.6 million. Following are the details:  

Principal Investigator

Dept. Project Title

Funded amount (HK$)

Prof. Albert Chan BRE

Pilot Medical Examination Scheme for Construction Workers


Dr Daniel Chan


An Empirical Study of Construction Time Performance of High-Rise
Private Building Projects in Hong Kong

Prof. Edwin Chan BRE

Cost-Benefit Analysis for implementing green buildings promotion
incentives: with Transaction Costs considerations

Prof. Francis Wong BRE

Electrical and Mechanical Safety in Construction

Dr Dan Tsang CEE

Recycling Used Timber Formwork into Lightweight,
Thermal-insulating Cement-bonded Particleboards


In addition, CIC initiated two research projects in 2013 that were driven by the industry. One was awarded to Prof. Chiang Yat Hung of the BRE Department for his project on the feasibility and implementation strategy of “No-Saturday-Site-Work” in the local construction industry. Congratulations to all of them.

Joint conference on BIM in project management

A half-day conference on Building Information Modeling (BIM) in Project Management was held at the Chiang Chen Studio Theatre of PolyU on 2 April 2014. Jointly organized by the Hong Kong Institute of Project Management (HKIPM) and the Hong Kong Institute of Building Information Modeling (HKIBIM), the conference was generously sponsored by the Construction Industry Council (CIC) and supported by the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE).

After welcoming remarks from the Chairman of the CPD Committee of HKIPM, Dr Daniel Chan of BRE, distinguished guest speakers shared their hands-on experience of the application of BIM in their respective projects. They included the keynote speaker Ir Kevin Poole, Chairman of the Committee on Environment, Innovation, and Technology of CIC; Mr Lawrence Chung, Assistant Director of the Housing Department; Mr Anthony Wilson, Director of Architectural Services of Chinachem Group; and Mr Kevin Ng, Director of Chun Wo Building Construction Limited. The conference concluded with closing remarks by Ir Ronan Collins, Chairman of HKIBIM.

With over 180 registered attendees and around 140 paying delegates, the conference was a great success in promoting the use of BIM. Fittingly, 2014 has been declared as the “BIM Year” by the CIC, which is currently working on BIM standards for local practice. The adoption of BIM at different stages of a construction project can no doubt optimize design and identify potential problems, thus saving time, minimizing the budget, and reducing wastage.

Group photo of guest speakers with some members of
joint conference organizing committee
From left: Mr Alex Li, Ir Francis Leung, Mr Kevin Ng, Ir Kevin Poole, Mr Anthony Wilson, Ir Ronan Collins, Dr Francis Chan, Mr Lawrence Chung, Dr Daniel Chan and Mr T.C. Lo

FCE hosts visitors from KMITL

A 25-strong delegation from King Mongkut’s Institute of Technology Ladkrapang (KMITL) visited the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) on 24 April 2014. Led by Prof. Suchatvee Suwansawat, Dean of KMITL’s Faculty of Engineering, they were warmly welcomed by Prof. Albert Chan, interim Dean of FCE, and Prof. Jin-Guang Teng, Director of the Research Institute for Sustainable Urban Development (RISUD), who introduced the Faculty and the Research Institute respectively. The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) was then introduced by Prof. Y.S. Li, Chair Professor of Coastal and Environmental Engineering. In attendance were Dr Lilian Pun from the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics, and Dr Agachai Sumalee of CEE. A discussion on collaborative research opportunities followed, which was well received by all.

Prof. Albert Chan, interim Dean of FCE (left) and Prof. Suchatvee Suwansawat, Dean of KMITL’s Faculty of Engineering (right)
A group photo of the visit

Career Talk by Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd.

“What’s next after graduation?” That is often the burning question on the minds of many students as they approach the completion of their studies. Those from the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) were no exception. Fortunately for them, an information session on career opportunities at Sun Hung Kai Properties Ltd. (SHKP), the local property conglomerate, was held on the afternoon of 23 April 2014. Those who attended were introduced to the company by some of its senior management, many of whom are alumni of FCE, including Mr Mike Wong, Deputy Managing Director of SHKP; Mr Robert Chan, Project Director of the Project Management Department; and Mr Kenneth Mo, General Manager of Sanfield Building Contractors Ltd., who outlined the different career paths that are possible for fresh graduates to take in the various Graduate Engineer Training Programmes, from Assistant Building Engineer to Assistant Quantity Surveyor to Assistant Project Manager etc. These training programmes usually last for two years, after which graduates are assessed before they continue on their career paths.

According to Mr Mike Wong, graduates should develop their skills in terms of breadth and depth. They should be patient and not expect great success in a short time, since it takes longer to produce results in the construction industry, especially for the broad generic role of project management. Graduates need to have an understanding of the real estate development process before they can become project managers, who have traditionally come from one of three professions: either as architects, or engineers, or surveyors. SHKP has long encouraged its employees to engage in lifelong learning. It is thus important that graduates follow a path that is of interest to them and find a good mentor to guide them. They should also be proactive in creating opportunities for themselves. Take the case of Mr Steven X.G. Chen and Ms Soei Ma, both 2008 graduates of the BSc programme in Surveying. Since getting their first degree, they have worked in the Project Management Department for HK and China projects at SHKP, which has also facilitated their part-time PhD studies in the Department of Building and Real Estate through its teaching company scheme.

Another alumna is Ms Penny Lam, a 2013 graduate of the BSc programme in Building Engineering and Management. She is now an Assistant Quantity Surveyor, working on drafts and contracts. She has no qualms at all about working on construction sites, as SHKP has excellent safety measures in place. Its training programme is also flexible, enabling each person to have his own pathway to success.

More than 70 students attended the career talk by SHKP, which also drew a few FCE academics like Prof. Albert Chan, Prof. Eddie Hui, and Dr Lennon Choy. It was great for them to see how well their former students are doing at SHKP, one of the top employers of FCE graduates.

Discussion with Mr Mike Wong (on right)
Group photo

BRE alumna promoted to senior lecturer

An alumna from the Department of Building and Real Estate, Dr Rebecca Jing Yang, has recently been promoted to Senior Lecturer at the School of Property, Construction and Project Management at RMIT University in Australia. She obtained her PhD degree in late 2010 under the supervision of Prof. Geoffrey Shen. Her main research interests focus on sustainable building and construction, which cover lifecycle energy & cost analysis, occupant behaviour, indoor environment measurement, risk, stakeholder and waste management. Her motivation in research is to undertake pure and applied research that can provide innovative solutions to the industry by integrating theories with cutting-edge technologies. Despite a short academic career, she has published many papers in leading international journals, and has successfully attracted nine research grants. She has also undertaken research in learning and teaching. Her teaching philosophy is ‘linking theory with practice and focusing on improving student learning outcomes and capabilities development’. Prior to her academic career, Dr Yang worked as a quantity surveyor in Singapore.

Dr Rebecca Yang

FCE students win Merit Awards for Innovation

At the GSC: PolyU Pre-challenge final round contest cum Awards Presentation Ceremony on 9 April 2014, 3 students from the Faculty of Construction and Environment were honored with a Merit Award for Innovation for their business plans. WU Suet Fung from the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE) and CHONG Yan Kit from the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics formed half of the team that proposed the plan entitled “The Limelight.” Another BRE student, TSE Wing Hei, was part of the team that was rewarded for its plan in educational services entitled “Connected,” which was recognized for its corporate social responsibility/ social enterprise.

Organized by the Student Affairs Office, the GSC: PolyU Pre-Challenge aims to foster entrepreneurship among PolyU students while preparing them for the ever-changing and highly competitive business world.

The team behind “The Limelight”

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)
Civil Engineering 土木工程學
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
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

For programme details, please visit

Faculty Public Lectures

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

Prof. Peter Love

FCE Public Lecture
"Making Sense of Cost and Schedule Overruns in Infrastructure Projects: Views from the Field"

Prof. Peter Love
School of Civil & Mechanical Engineering
Curtin University of Technology, Australia

Date: 16 April 2014 (Wed) (Details)

Dr Behzad Fatahi

FCE Public Lecture
"Performance Assessment of Building Frames Considering Seismic Soil-Pile-Structure Interaction"

Dr Behzad Fatahi
School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
University of Technology Sydney (UTS), Sydney, Australia

Date: 25 April 2014 (Fri) (Details)

Forthcoming Events

FCE Public Lecture:
A More Complex Coastal Boundary Than We Thought

Date & Time: 2 May 2014 (Fri), 6:00p.m. to 7:00p.m.
Venue: Room PQ304, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

2014 ULI Asia Pacific Summit

Themed “What’s next? Dynamics of the Future”, the summit program will explore numerous thought-provoking discussions on a variety of economic, demographic, and environmental factors shaping the built environment, including population and household changes, infrastructure challenges, climate change concerns, and urbanization. The highlights of the event include an opening keynote address by the Honorable CY Leung, Chief Executive of Hong Kong SAR; a mayors’ forum on future cities; ULI Young Leaders Group Summit; a leadership dinner at the Government House hosted by Mr CY Leung; keynote plenaries and exciting thematic sessions on repositioning Asian cities, capital formation, urban solutions and smart technology, citing numerous successful case studies from around the world.

Date: 20-22 May 2014
Venue: Grand Hyatt Hotel
International Workshop on Bifurcation and Degradation of Geomechanics
Date: 28-30 May 2014
Venue: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Motor Vehicle Emissions Control Workshop 2014 (MoVE 2014)
Date: 25-27 June 2014
Venue: Cheung On Tak Lecture Theatre, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Croucher Summer Course 2014
A 6-day summer course organized by the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics will bring together 11 internationally distinguished scholars to share their latest research on GPS/Beidou/GNSS Satellite Positioning, Navigation, and Earth Observation. Funded by the Croucher Foundation, the course will enable participants to diversify their research interests and enhance their social network. Following are the details:

Topic: New GNSS Algorithms and Techniques for Earth Observations 2014 (nGATEo 2014) ---
GPS, Beidou, GNSS Satellite Positioning and Navigation and Earth Observation
Date: 26-31 May 2014
Venue: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Academic Vacancies - FCE     hongkongpolyufce
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

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