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Issue 50 - December 2014


Table of Contents

BSE Scholar Appointed Co-Editor-in-Chief of Prestigious Journal

Professor Jianlei NIU, Associate Head of the Department of Building Services Engineering, has been appointed to serve as co-Editor-in-Chief of Energy and Buildings (E&B) from 1 January 2015. Launched in 1978, E&B is an international journal devoted to publishing research results in energy use and efficiency in buildings. In the Thomson and Reuters JCR database, it is ranked 5/58 in the subject category of construction and building technology and 5/119 in the subject category of civil engineering. Seminal works by the late Professor FANGER in the 1980s was originally published in the journal, including studies of air turbulence and sensation of draught, identification of indoor air pollution sources in offices and public buildings and comfort limits for asymmetric thermal radiation. The other co-Editor-in-Chief is Professor Mat SANTAMOURIS, Professor of Energy Physics at the University of Athens, Greece.

For more information on the journal, please refer to the website:

Prof. Jianlei Niu

BSE Scholar’s Research Supported by PPR Funding

A feasibility study of implementing indoor air quality index in Hong Kong is the only project from PolyU that has recently received funding support of HK$365,700 from the government’s Public Policy Research (PPR) Scheme. Led by Ir Dr Horace Mui of the Department of Building Services Engineering, the project will last 24 months. Congratulations to Dr Mui!

Ir Dr Horace Mui

CEE Scholars Engaged in Collaborative Research with Industry

On 18 December 2014, a ceremony to mark the collaboration in a research project between Sinopec and two scholars of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Dr Shao-Yuan (Ben) Leu and Dr Shu-Chien (Mark) Hsu, was held. As one of the largest integrated energy and chemical companies in China, Sinopec is committed to sustainable development as part of its corporate social responsibility and is sponsoring the research with HK$1.25 million in funding. The goal of this project is to develop innovative techniques to convert lignocellulosic biomass (i.e., timber wastes or recycled woody/herbal materials) into biofuels and other value-added products. It is expected that the research outcomes will benefit society by promoting sustainable fuels for environmental protection and encouraging scientific development.


CEE Scholar to Lead Research Project Funded by KAIA

An international greening project involving two universities in Korea, Kongju National University (KNU) and Dongguk University (DGU), as well as PolyU has received funding support of HK$1.11 million from the Korea Agency for Infrastructure Technology Advancement (KAIA). Led by Dr Shao-Yuan (Ben) Leu of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, the project is entitled “Planting Techniques for Enhancing CO2 Absorption for Urban Rain Gardens.” The aim of the mutually beneficial study is to increase understanding of the relationship between carbon sequestration potential and different plant species in Seoul and Hong Kong, which are both highly populated and have been facing similar challenges in urban planning and development, i.e., lack of vegetation and high carbon emission per capita. While sharing similar social and economic backgrounds, the two large cities differ in their geographical locations and type/amount of vegetation. Compositions of some plant species from the two cities could also be different, but other species may share the same characteristics in carbon sequestration. It is thus of great research value to establish a comprehensive database to support the development of new stormwater control systems. With the experience and research tools developed in this study, it is hoped that a more systematic picture can be created to support the development of similar facilities.

Dr Shao-Yuan (Ben) Leu

LSGI Scholars Faced the Press

In an exclusive interview with Wen Wei Po earlier this month, three academics from the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics, Prof. Xiaoli Ding, Prof. Wu Chen, and Dr Zhizhao Liu, enthused about the contributions made by Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) in the history of mankind. Not only have the technologies enhanced the accuracy of weather forecasts, the wide application of Global Positioning System (GPS) in smartphones has done much to personalize its use in everyday life. The Lands Department of the Hong Kong Government also has in place a Satellite Positioning Reference Station Network that greatly increases the speed and quality of land surveying and mapping in Hong Kong.

To develop the technology of GPS further, PolyU partnered with Wuhan University earlier this year to establish a joint research center that harnesses the strengths of both institutions. The partnership aims to take advantage of the location of Hong Kong, which has traditionally posed more hurdles for positioning systems due to its high building density, ubiquitous flyover bridges, and low latitude. The same place could end up having several locations as a result of varying heights. However, LSGI researchers are determined to turn these “setbacks” into home field advantages. They posited that if they could successfully test and prove the accuracy and reliability of GPS in a crowded city like Hong Kong, then the system is guaranteed to work anywhere else in the world. Thus, Hong Kong can become a natural laboratory for testing China’s Beidou Navigation Satellite System.

“The accuracy of GPS in navigating outdoors is very good, but satellite signals are very weak in indoor situations, making them impossible to determine position,” said Prof. Ding. He believes this can be a trend in the future development of GPS, since many indoor services are vital nowadays.

The HK PolyU-Wuhan University Partner GNSS Research Center will focus on the basic theories and applications of navigation systems, using the satellite systems of other countries such as the United States’ GPS and the European Union’s Galileo system as benchmarks.

Press Interview for Award-winning Research

The project team for an experimental study on health and safety measures for working in hot weather had a field day with the local press on 16 December 2014. Led by Prof. Albert Chan of the Department of Building and Real Estate, the team included his colleagues Prof. Francis Wong, Dr Michael Yam, Dr Daniel Chan, Dr Edmond Lam, as well as Prof. Joanne Chung and Dr Del Wong from other institutes. Their collaborative research has received the Hong Kong Institute of Project Management Award, the Asia Pacific Project Management Awards (Research category), and the Chartered Institute of Building’s International Innovation and Research Award. Congratulations to all of them.

Research of LSGI Scholar Noted for its Quality

A global indicator of high-quality research, Nature Index, has referred to the work of Dr Bo Wu of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics in a recent analysis of the research produced by the universities in Hong Kong. His landmark paper on lunar topographic models in Earth Planetary Science Letters was one of five articles published in the field of geo-sciences that accounted for 9% of the weighted fractional count (WFC) for PolyU, whose output focused mostly on geo-sciences in 2013. The WFC is a weighted measure of author contributions to articles for an institution, a city, or a country. PolyU was also noted for having the highest rate of collaboration by Nature Index.

Dr Bo Wu has been working on lunar topographic mapping and analysis for several years. He developed innovative lunar mapping techniques and contributed to the Chinese Chang’E-3 lunar exploration mission by providing precision lunar topographic models for the selection of the landing site. From 2013 to 2014, Dr Bo Wu published three articles in Earth Planetary Science Letters, a prestigious international journal in geosciences and a core journal in the Nature Index database. Kudos to Dr Wu.

Dr Bo Wu

First In-building Hydro Power System Developed in Collaboration with Industry

Prof. Hongxing Yang of the Department of Building Services Engineering has developed the first ever in-building hydro power system in collaboration with Sino Group and Arup. His research to generate electricity from water pipelines makes use of a novel vertical-axis turbine. Installed at Olympian City 2, the prototype is the second phase of research and the generator has an output of 100W, representing a six-fold leap from the first phase. The resulting power system will provide a green and cost-effective approach to generate electricity, which can then be used to power the lighting system of a typical lift lobby. Assuming there are 15 LED lights in a typical lift lobby, each with a consumption of 6.5W, this can translate into a saving of more than HK$1,200 per year for one floor. About 700 kg of carbon dioxide emission can be saved each year, which is equivalent to about 30 trees. Clearly, the environmental benefits of an in-building hydro power system are far-reaching.

Prof. Hongxing Yang

RICS-HK Geomatics Conference 2014

At the Geomatics Conference on 22 November 2014, two assistant professors from the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics were invited to deliver technical presentations. Organized by the Geomatics Professional Group of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), the conference had as its theme “A Geospatial Smarter City.” Ir Dr Wallace Wai-lok Lai and Dr Charles Man-sing Wong shared their knowledge and experience of how geospatial information and the latest technology in geomatics could contribute to building a smarter city. Their presentation topics were “Information Acquisition and Management of Underground Utility in a Well-developed City” and “Green Index Mapping in an Urban City” respectively.

  Ir Dr Wallace Wai-lok Lai (left) and Sr Wai-pun Cheng (right) Dr Charles Man-sing Wong (left) and Sr Wai-pun Cheng (right)

FCE Offers Joint PhD Programmes with the University of Calgary

To facilitate research collaboration and to strengthen our links with partner institutions by capitalizing on both institutions’ research facilities and resources, PolyU has been offering joint PhD programmes with designated partner institutions to enrich the learning experience of students. Students admitted under the joint PhD programme will receive awards from both PolyU and the partner institution upon satisfactory completion of their studies.

As one of Canada’s leading universities, the University of Calgary (UofC) has recently been designated a partner institution of PolyU in offering joint PhD programmes. The two universities have been collaborating in research endeavors since 2007. The scope of the joint PhD programmes covers but is not limited to the following research areas:

• Construction Engineering and Management
• Environmental Engineering and Science
• Geo-Informatics
• Geotechnical Engineering
• Hydraulic Engineering
• Land Surveying
• Structural Engineering
• Transportation Engineering

Other designated partner institutions which offer Joint PhD Programmes with PolyU include:

• Beihang University
• Harbin Institute of Technology
• Jinan University
• Loughborough University
• Queensland University of Technology
• Sichuan University
• Sun Yat-sen University
• Swinburne University of Technology
• Tongji University
• University of Science and Technology of China
• University of Technology, Sydney
• Xi'an Jiaotong University
• Zhejiang University

Annual Partnership Meeting of FCE and RICS

On 8 December 2014, representatives from the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) met with academic leaders from the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) to brief one another on their current positions and latest developments in their respective course provision and development. They also reviewed their mutual aims and objectives, including the development of collaborative programmes/ research in China, scholarships/ sponsorships etc. Prof. You-lin Xu, Dean of FCE, and Prof. Albert Chan, immediate past Interim Dean, were both present, as were the Associate Heads of three departments: Dr Lilian Pun (LSGI), Prof. Y.H. Chiang (BRE), Prof. C.S. Poon (CEE); and five programme leaders of various courses, including Dr C.K. Chau, Dr Joseph Lai, Prof. Hongxing Yang, Dr Bo Wu, and Dr Conrad Tang.


Meeting with HKU SPACE Community College

A plan to channel Associate Degree and Higher Diploma graduates from the HKUSPACE Community College to continue their studies at the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) was discussed in a meeting between academic leaders of both institutions on 11 December 2014. At the meeting were Prof. You-lin Xu, Dean of FCE; Prof. Xiaoli Ding, Associate Dean; Prof. Yat-hung Chiang, Associate Head of the Department of Building and Real Estate; Prof. Kwok-tai Chan, Associate Head of the Department of Building Services Engineering; Prof. William Lam, Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE); Prof. K.F. Chung, Associate Head of CEE; Prof. Y.S. Li, Chair Prof. of CEE; and Dr Lilian Pun, Associate Head of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics. Representing HKUSPACE were its College Principal, Prof. L.S. Chan; its Associate Vice Principal, Dr Eliot Lee; and those responsible for the Higher Diploma programmes in Engineering, Real Estate Management, as well as Environmental Studies and Occupational Safety at the Community College. The latter were introduced to the various Bachelor’s Degree programmes offered by the four departments of FCE. These would allow graduates of the Community College to get a Bachelor’s degree in two more years of full-time study at PolyU. A Memorandum of Understanding will be signed by the two institutions to pave the way for further collaboration between them.


HKIE SSC Student Project Competition 2014

The Faculty of Construction and Environment is pleased that the following students have won awards in the 2014 Students Project Competition organized by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE) Safety Specialist Committee (SSC). Following are the details:

Group-A : Postgraduate – PhD


Awardee (Dept.) Supervisor Project Title
Champion YI Wen (BRE)

Prof. Albert Chan

Modeling Rebar Labor Productivity in Hot Weather



Prof. Chow Wan Ki

Fire Safe Elevator used for Evacuation in Supertall Building
Runner-up WU Miao (BSE) Prof. Chow Wan Ki Smoke Toxicity and Thermal Hazards of Fire Resisting Glass
with High Fire Resistance Rating

Group-B : Postgraduate – Master


Awardee (Dept.) Supervisor Project Title
Champion HUNG Hing Yeung (BSE)

Dr Fong Nai Kong

A Study of Design Fire for Natural Ventilated
Vehicular Tunnel in Hong Kong

Group-C : Degree


Awardee (Dept.) Supervisor Project Title
Runner-up YUNG Tung (CEE)

Mr Tony Lo

A Study of Control of Subcontractors in Relation to Safety in the Use of
Woodworking Machinery for Construction Industry in Hong Kong

Congratulations to all the winners, who will be honored at the 20th anniversary dinner of HKIE SSC on 9 January 2015.

RICS GPG Survey Camp Awards

24 students from the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) were honoured in a ceremony in early December by the Geomatics Professional Group (GPG) of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS). Launched in 2011, the Survey Camp Awards promote relations between professional bodies and the Department that organizes a survey camp for BSc and HD students every summer. The surveying skills of the students would be assessed by the GPG of RICS that selects the groups with the best performance for the awards. Congratulations to all the awardees.

Invitation for Programme Admission 2015/16

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. X.D. Li

FCE Chair Professor Inaugural Lecture
"Environmental Pollution on a Regional Scale – Research in the Pearl River Delta Region, South China"

Prof. X.D. Li
Chair Professor in Environmental Science & Technology
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, PolyU

Date: 11 December 2014 (Thur) (Details)

Forthcoming Events

FCE Public Lecture:
Structural Testing at the Micro and Nano Scales: Breaking Invisible Specimens with Zero Force

Date & Time: 5 Jan 2015 (Mon), 5:00p.m. to 6:00p.m.
Venue: Room Y302, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

2nd International Conference on Sustainable Urbanization
Date: 7-9 January 2015
Venue: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Engineering Mechanics Institute (EMI) International Conference 2015
Date: 7-9 January 2015
Venue: The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

FCE Distinguished Lecture:
Cyberinfrastructure Based Analysis, Simulation, Design and Monitoring of Tall Buildings Under Winds

Date & Time: 12 Jan 2015 (Mon), 6:30p.m. to 7:30p.m.
Venue: Room M1603, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Information Seminar on Postgraduate Scheme in Construction and Environment
Date & Time: 10 Jan 2015 (Sat), 2:00p.m. to 4:00p.m.
Venue: Room BC201, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

2nd International Conference on Performance-based and Lifecycle Structural Engineering (PLSE 2015)
Date: 9-11 December 2015
Venue: Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre, Australia

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

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