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Issue 68 - June 2016


Table of Contents

PolyU Ranks Third in Civil Engineering in Global Ranking

ShanghaiRanking’s Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2016 recently ranked PolyU for third place for the discipline of civil engineering. To be included in an engineering subject ranking, the universities have to have published at least 200 scholarly papers over the past 5 years.

According to it, PolyU has the largest group of highly cited researchers in that field of all the universities listed (9 out of 150 researchers worldwide). The concentration of highly cited researchers in China and Hong Kong is only second to that in the US. Hong Kong alone has 18 highly cited researchers in civil engineering, 9 of whom are at PolyU. The PolyU researchers mentioned on the list are all based in the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE). They include Prof. You-lin Xu, Dean of FCE; Prof. Albert Chan and Prof. Heng Li from the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE), Prof. Hongxing Yang from the Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE), Prof. William Lam, Prof. Siu Seong Law*, Prof. Yiqing Ni, Prof. Chi-Sun Poon, and Prof. Jin-guang Teng from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE). Prof. Anthony Chen, a recent addition to CEE, is also listed.

In addition, Prof. Xiangdong Li, Associate Dean of FCE (Research), and Prof. Poon are highly cited in the field of environmental science and engineering, while Prof. Jin-guang Teng is also highly cited in the field of mechanical engineering. In the field of energy science and engineering, highly cited researchers include Dr Meng Ni of BRE and Prof. Shengwei Wang of BSE.

The statistics for the list of highly cited researchers came from the Scopus database, which is produced by Elsevier Company.

*Prof. Law has retired since July 2014.

FCE Dean’s Awards 2016

The Faculty of Construction and Environment is pleased that 12 of its academics are selected for the Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Research Funding. They have met the criteria for the Award by securing external competitive research funding in the past few years. The achievements of the staff leading to the awards are:


Awardees Project Title
(Funding Scheme)
Funding Allocation Date
BRE Prof. Heng Li

Automated Construction Progress Tracking Using Real-time Locations of Labor Crew
(Innovation and Technology Fund - LSCM)

6 Mar 2014
Proactively Monitoring Construction Progress by Integrating 3D Laser-scanning and BIM
(RGC General Research Fund)
1 Jul 2014
Location-based Technologies for Asset Tracking and Risk Management
(Innovation and Technology Fund - LSCM)
1 Apr 2015
The Effect of Isomorphic Pressure for BIM in Hong Kong Construction Industry
(CPU Public Policy Research)
14 Jul 2015
BSE Prof. Cheuk Ming Mak Theoretical, Numerical and Experimental Investigations on Low-frequency Board-band Noise Control in Ventilation Systems based on Periodic and Quasi-periodic Helmholtz Resonators Array
(RGC General Research Fund)
1 Jul 2014
Development of Design Methodologies for the Improvement of Wind and Thermal Comfort in the Urban Environment
(RGC Collaborative Research Fund - GP)
4 Feb 2015
BSE Prof. Hongxing Yang Research and Development of Novel Inline Hydropower and Energy Storage Systems for Power Supply to Data Monitoring Systems of Medium Water Pipelines
(Innovation and Technology Fund - ITSP - Tier 3)
6 Aug 2013
Investigation on Heat and Moisture Transfer around Pile Foundation Ground Heat Exchangers of Ground-Coupled Heat Pump Systems in Moisture Soil with Groundwater Advection
(RGC General Research Fund)
1 Jul 2014
Investigation on the Thermal and Power Performance of Vacuum Solar PV Curtain Wall Technology and its Application Potential in Buildings in Hong Kong
(Construction Industry Council)
23 Jan 2015
Inverse Heat Transfer Optimization of Foundation Energy Piles in the Present Three-Dimensional Groundwater Advection for Ground-Coupled Heat Pump Air-Conditioning
(RGC General Research Fund)
1 Jul 2015
CEE Prof. Kwok Fai Chung Experimental and Numerical Investigation into Structural Behaviour of Composite Beams Using High Strength Steel Fabricated I-sections
(RGC General Research Fund)
1 Jul 2013
Experimental and Numerical Investigation into Fabricated Steel Sections Using High Strength Steel Materials
(RGC General Research Fund)
1 Jul 2015
Hong Kong Branch of National Engineering Research Center for Steel Construction
(Innovation and Technology Commission - CNERC)
12 Oct 2015
CEE Prof. Shuncheng Lee Sources and Distribution of Oxygenated Volatile Organic Compounds (OVOCs) in Hong Kong and their Impacts on Ozone Formation
(RGC General Research Fund)
1 Jul 2014
Exposure and Source Apportionment of Indoor PM2.5 at Residential Homes in Hong Kong/ Xi’an/ Shanghai/ Guangzhou
(RGC General Research Fund)
1 Jul 2015
Heterogeneous Chemistry of Atmospheric Reactive Nitrogen Oxides: An Integrative Programme for Cutting-edge Science (Sub-project)
(RGC Collaborative Research Fund - GP)
12 Aug 2015
CEE Prof. Xiangdong Li Physico-chemical Characterization and Inhalation Toxicity of Urban Ambient Airborne Particulate Matters (PMs) in Subtropical Regions
(RGC General Research Fund)
1 Jul 2014
Fe-enhanced Primary Sedimentation and Sludge Acidogenesis for Resources (P and PHA) Recovery During Wastewater Treatment - the Chemical Forms of P in the Process (Sub-project)
(RGC Collaborative Research Fund - GP)
27 Jul 2015
Identifying the mixture effects and major toxicity drivers of ambient fine particulate matter: A comparative study of the Yangtze River Delta and Pearl River Delta regions
(Natural Science Foundation of China - Major Research Plan)
19 Nov 2015
CEE Prof. Yiqing Ni Analysis of 15-year Structural Health Monitoring Data of Cable-supported Bridges ― Leading to a Benchmark Study
(RGC General Research Fund)
1 Jul 2013
Structural Condition Prognosis of Bridges Using Long-Term Structural Health Monitoring Data and Bayesian Updating
(RGC General Research Fund)
1 Jul 2015
Hong Kong Branch of National Rail Transit Electrification and Automation Engineering Technology Research Center
(Innovation and Technology Commission - CNERC)
12 Oct 2015
CEE Prof. Tao Wang Tropospheric Ozone Trend in 1994-2017 in Hong Kong, Southern China: Quantifying the Driving force of Emission and Climate
(RGC General Research Fund)
1 Jul 2015
Heterogeneous Chemistry of Atmospheric Reactive Nitrogen Oxides: An Integrative Programme for Cutting-edge Science
(RGC Collaborative Research Fund - GP)
4 Feb 2015
CEE Dr Jianguo Dai A PopTube Technology-Enabled New Fiber Reinforced Inorganic Polymer (FRiP) System for Strengthening of Concrete Structures
(RGC General Research Fund)
1 Jul 2013
Interfacial Debonding in FRP-strengthened Steel/Concrete Structures Subjected to Combined Thermal and Mechanical Loading
(Natural Science Foundation of China – General Programme)
25 Aug 2014
Development of Precast BFRP Grid-reinforced Geopolymer Sandwich Wall Panels for Green Building Construction
(Construction Industry Council)
28 Jan 2015
Large Rupture Strain FRP Composite-Confined Rectangular Reinforced Concrete Columns Subjected To Seismic Loading: Behavior and Modeling
(RGC General Research Fund)
1 Jul 2015
CEE Dr Hai Guo Heterogeneous Chemistry of Atmospheric Reactive Nitrogen Oxides: An Integrative Programme for Cutting-edge Science (Sub-project)
(RGC Collaborative Research Fund - GP)
12 Aug 2015
Thermal Desorption Aerosol Gas Chromatograph and Time of Flight Aerosol Mass Spectrometer for research on airborne particles and their impact on health and the environment
(RGC Collaborative Research Fund - EQ)
31 Dec 2015
CEE Dr Yuhong Wang Development of an Automatic Image Collection and Analysis System for Improving Onsite Construction Productivity
(Construction Industry Council)
10 Jun 2013
Development of a Policy for Optimizing the Use of Inert Solid Wastes in Road Pavement Construction
(CPU Public Policy Research)
24 Jan 2014
The Use of Rubberized Asphalt Mixture Incorporated with Warm Asphalt Additives on Urban Road Pavements in Hong Kong
(Environment and Conservation Fund)
13 May 2014
The Oxidative Aging of Asphalt Binder in Long-Life Hot-Mix Asphalt (HMA) Pavements in Hong Kong
(RGC General Research Fund)
1 Jul 2015
LSGI Dr Man Sing Wong A Remote Sensing Study of Solar Energy Supply in Cloud-prone Areas of Hong Kong
(CPU Public Policy Research)
28 Dec 2013
Remote Sensing of Anthropogenic Heat Flux for Heterogeneous Urban Areas: A Study of Hong Kong
(RGC Early Career Scheme)
1 Jul 2014
Detection and Retrieval of Asian Dust Storms From Geostationary Satellite Images: An Integrated Knowledge-Based Technique
(RGC General Research Fund)
1 Jul 2015

In addition, the Dean’s Award for Highly-cited Papers will be given to Prof. Hongxing Yang, Prof. Kwok-Wing Chau, Prof. Chi-Sun Poon, and Prof. Jin-Guang Teng. Details of their papers are listed below:


Authors Journal
Optimal Design and Techno-economic Analysis of a Hybrid Solar-wind Power Generation System


Applied Energy
Volume 86, Issue 2, Pages 163-169
A Comparison of Performance of Several Artificial Intelligence Methods for Forecasting Monthly Discharge Time Series WANG WC;
Journal of Hydrology
Volume 374, Issue 3-4, Pages 294-306
Predicting Monthly Streamflow Using Data-driven Models Coupled with Data-Preprocessing Techniques WU CL;
Water Resources Research
Volume 45, Article Number W08432, (2009)
Photocatalytic Construction and Building Materials: From Fundamentals to Applications CHEN J;
Building and Environment
Volume 44, Issue 9, Pages 1899-1906
Analysis-oriented Stress-strain Models for FRP-confined Concrete JIANG T;
Engineering Structures
Volume 29, Issue 11, Pages 2968-2986
Experimental Study on FRP-to-concrete Bonded Joints YAO J;
Composites Part B-Engineering
Volume 36, Issue 2, Pages 99-113

Note: Individual awards will be given to each of the highly-cited papers listed above.

Awardees will each receive a cash prize of $20,000. They will be honoured with award certificates at the Faculty Congregation and Prize Presentation Ceremony in November 2016.

Head of BRE Elected to University Council

Prof. Albert Chan, Head of the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE) and a member of the Senate since 2001, has recently been elected ipso facto as the Senate’s representative to the University Council. Prof. Albert Chan will serve on the Council for the remaining term of office from 25 September 2016 to 1 February 2017.

CEE Academic to Review Air Quality Objectives for Governmental Working Group

Prof. Tao Wang, Chair Professor of Atmospheric Environment in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), has recently been appointed to the Air Science and Health Sub-group of the Air Quality Objectives (AQO) Review Working Group of the Hong Kong Government. The Sub-group is established to review the latest development on air quality standards and the health effects of air pollution; to advise on the methodologies on air science and health assessments, as well as on the assessment of air quality improvements and health benefits under different control scenarios.

Besides contributing his expertise to the Sub-group, Prof. Wang’s work has attracted the favorable attention of the editors of the Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, who have chosen to highlight his paper entitled “Observations of nitryl chloride and modeling its source and effect on ozone in the planetary boundary layer of southern China” in a Research Spotlight for the broad science community. Only the research and findings of the best accepted articles are summarized and featured on Research Spotlights.

BSE Academic Shares Expert Advice on RTHK

On 7 June 2016, Dr Horace Mui of the Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE) shared his expert opinions on indoor environmental pollution on the television show “Network MythBusting.” Indoor activities like cooking and smoking generate large amounts of particulate matter PM2.5, while formaldehyde (HCHO) and total volatile organic compounds (TVOC) are released from household furniture, mats and various home decorating materials. These air pollutants impose long-term health risks on occupants and hence should be dealt with carefully. Dr Mui conducted an experiment in PolyU’s Indoor Environmental Quality (IEQ) Laboratory to test different materials in absorbing formaldehyde. The results showed that activated carbon and formaldehyde removal spray could lower the formaldehyde level, however the spray released large amounts of TVOC that could be harmful to human beings. He also tested on the pollutants generated from the indoor burning of scented candles. It was discovered that the PM2.5 level rose dramatically during the burning process. He suggested the general public should avoid staying inside the premises while renovation is ongoing, and avoid the use of scented candles indoors.

Dr Mui on the TV show

Research Products of BSE Researchers Exhibited

At the Second Trade Convention of China’s Innovative Technologies in Guangzhou on 27-8 May 2016, two researchers from the Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE), Dr Lin Lu (Project Coordinator) and Dr Yuanhao Wang (Deputy Coordinator), exhibited the products they developed in a 2-year project funded by the Innovation and Technology Fund. Their novel high dispersed transparent heat insulation paints for glass generated much interest from investors, including Xiaodan Zhu, the Governor of Guangdong province. It is hoped commercialization of their research efforts will follow.

Dr Lu (on left)

FCE Researchers Disseminated Findings at News Conference

A team of researchers from the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE) and the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) disseminated their research findings through a press conference on 27 June 2016. Led by Prof. Geoffrey Shen, Associate Dean of the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) and Chair Professor of Construction Management in BRE, the research project was funded by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the research team was assisted by the Building Healthy Kowloon City Association Limited for the multi-disciplinary year-long research project, which used 3D spatial analysis technology to study plot ratio/ building height restrictions for 21 sites in the Kai Tak Development area. It was found the effects on the surrounding environment such as skyline, ridgeline, sun lighting, wind ventilation and air temperature were minimal if the plot ratio and building height restrictions are moderately increased from the current level.

Members of the research team include Prof. Geoffrey Shen as the Principal Investigator, Dr Stanley Yeung, Associate Professor in BRE; Dr Ivy Wong, Assistant Professor in BRE; Dr Charles Wong, Assistant Professor in LSGI; Dr Orianna Guo, Scientific Officer in BRE, as co-investigators, as well as a group of research staff and students: Dr Jerry Qin, Miss Merissa Sun, Mr Yuanzhen Song, Miss Karena Pang, and Miss Vivian Wong.

FCE Talk on Our Physical Built Environment

On 29 June 2016, Dr Patrick Fong, Associate Head (Partnership) of the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE), gave a talk on our physical built environment as part of the distinguished lecture series of the International Summer School 2016 at PolyU. Organized by the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE), Dr Fong’s talk began with an examination of the built vs. natural environment, how we act as "inventors" and "destroyers" of our physical built environment by enhancing comfort, health and wellbeing on the one hand but also contributing to high energy/resources consumption in buildings, greenhouse gas emissions and climate change on the other, before concluding with some of the latest developments and innovations that have been made to it as well as how interdisciplinary/ anti-disciplinary research can lead to positive changes. FCE students who attended his talk left with a better sense that our physical built environment is more than the steel and concrete that meets our eyes.

Dr Fong

New Academic Staff

The Department of Building and Real Estate welcomed two new assistant professors on 4 July 2016. Dr Joon-Oh Seo received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Architectural Engineering from Seoul National University in South Korea. He obtained his master’s degree in Industrial and Operations Engineering (specialized in Ergonomics) and his PhD degree in Civil Engineering (construction management program) from the University of Michigan in the United States in 2016. Prior to starting his PhD studies, he worked for 5 years as a cost and safety manager in building construction projects in South Korea.

His research focuses on understanding the relationship between the physical demands on construction workers and their impact on construction operations. In his studies, various computing and IT approaches have been applied, including vision-based motion capture, machine learning-based action recognition, and computer simulation, such as discrete event simulation and system dynamics. In addition, he is interested in total scene understanding and wearable sensing, aiming to enhance construction workers’ performances with respect to safety, health, and productivity.

He is a reviewer for the ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, the Construction Research Congress, and the International Workshop on Computing in Civil Engineering. He has over 25 peer-reviewed articles, including 8 journal papers.

Dr Seo

Dr Hsi-Hsien Wei obtained his master’s degrees in Structural Engineering from National Taiwan University and in Construction Engineering and Management from Columbia University in the US, in 2002 and 2010 respectively. He received his PhD in Project Management from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the University of Maryland at College Park, US.

Dr Wei was a senior Research Fellow in the Department of Structural Engineering at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel from 2013 to 2015, where he was working in the assessment of the resilience and sustainability of urban systems to extreme events on behalf of Israel’s Ministry of Science, Technology and Space.

The research activities of Dr Wei cover a broad range of topics, including resilience and sustainability management of the built environment, disaster risk management and climate change adaptation, construction technology and project management, information technology applications in construction and structural engineering.

Dr Wei also possesses solid experience in consulting and professional practice in the design and management of major construction projects. He is a US Green Building Council LEED AP, specialising in Building Design and Construction, and has participated in several sustainable construction projects in the US.

Dr Wei

BRE PhD Student Pens Highly Commented Paper

In the 2016 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence, a paper in Smart and Sustainable Built Environment was selected as a Highly Commented Paper. Entitled “Critical issues in spatial distribution of public housing estates and their implications on urban renewal in Hong Kong,” the paper was co-authored by Wei Zheng, a PhD student in the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE), her supervisor Prof. Geoffrey Shen, Dr Hao Wang of the Central University of Finance and Economics in China, and Prof. Patrizia Lombardi of the Politecnico di Torino in Italy.

Miss Zheng (right) with Prof. Shen

Scholarship Students Graduate with Distinction

Two postgraduates in the Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE) who were supported by Entry Scholarships of the Postgraduate Scheme in Construction and Environment have recently graduated with Distinction in the second semester of 2015/16. They are Mr Tsui Kwong Lam, a graduate of the MSc programme in High Performance Buildings, and Mr Chan Chi Shing, a graduate of the MSc programme in Fire and Safety Engineering. Below are some of their thoughts on studying at PolyU and their future plans.


Mr Tsui Kwong Lam,
MSc in High Performance Buildings
Mr Chan Chi Shing,
MSc in Fire and Safety Engineering
Most memorable experience at PolyU

I made friends with my classmates and enjoyed working on group projects with them.

Sitting in the examination halls and making good friends
Advice to other students Don’t waste any opportunities to learn from your lecturers. Try to ask them more questions. Believe in your heart that you can do well in your studies, and try to understand the rationale behind the codes and theories. Practice makes perfect!
Future plans Practise what I have learnt at PolyU and become an engineering professional. Further explore and enrich my knowledge in different aspects.
Mr Tsui

Mr Chan

HKIS Outstanding Undergraduate Final Year Dissertation Awards 2015

On 30 May 2016, 5 recent graduates from the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE) and 1 from the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) were honoured in an Awards Presentation Ceremony for their outstanding undergraduate final year dissertations at the Royal Plaza Hotel in Mongkok. Organized by the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (HKIS), the awards are based on merits in research as well as the research output’s applicability to the surveying profession. Following are the details of the winners, each of whom received an award certificate and a prize cheque ($1,500 for Top Award, $1,000 for Second Award).

Awardee (Dept.)

Project Title

Award Supervisor
LI Po Yi
Evaluation of the Effectiveness of Mandatory Building Inspection Scheme (MBIS) Implementation on Building Inspection and Maintenance

Top Award
(Building Surveying)

Dr Sandy Tang
HO Man Lai
Critical Success Factors for Building Information Modeling (BIM) Implementation in Hong Kong Second Award
(Building Surveying)
Dr Daniel Chan
HO Yik Ling
Feasibility Study of Residential Development in Hong Kong’s Green Belt Second Award
(Planning and Development)
Dr M.J. Wadu
LIN Nga Yuk
The Impact of Conversion of Old Industrial Buildings on Property Price: A Comparison between Wholesale Conversion and Redevelopment Second Award
(Planning and Development)
Dr M.J. Wadu
CHAN Kit San
Critical Success Factors of Adopting Green Procurement in Life-Cycle Stages of Hong Kong Construction Industry Second Award
(Quantity Surveying)
Dr Johnny Wong
ZHOU Xiaolin
Build a 3D Cadastre in Hong Kong Top Award
(Land Surveying)
Prof. John Shi
The winning students with Dr Chan (in middle)

HKIE Best Individual Dissertation Award 2016

Mr Law Lim Cho, a recent graduate of the BSc programme in Building Engineering and Management, has been honoured by the Building Division of the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE) with the Best Individual Dissertation Award 2016. His dissertation was entitled “A feasibility study for the wider adoption of structural precast elements in high-rise buildings in Hong Kong.” He was supervised by Dr Patrick Lam, Associate Professor in the Department of Building and Real Estate. Mr Law will be working at Leighton Contractors (Asia) Ltd. as a Building Graduate Engineer beginning in August.

Mr Law (right) with Prof. Albert Chan

23rd FCE Students’ Association

On 28 June 2016, 9 committee members of the 23rd Faculty of Construction and Environment Students’ Association (FCESA) presented their plans for their term of office to Prof. Geoffrey Shen, Associate Dean of FCE (Teaching). First amongst these are orientation events for new students in August, such as a 3-day camp with a Greek-myth theme and other fun activities for them to get acquainted with one another. Altogether 13 functions have been planned from mid-August 2016 to late February 2017, including an FCE Night with an athletic theme, various sports competitions for the FCE Cup, an annual dinner, a joint-university Christmas party, and a joint-Faculty mega sale. Participation in these activities is expected to nurture a sense of belonging and enhance student life at PolyU.

At the FCESA meeting with Prof. Shen

Forthcoming Event

RISUD Annual International Symposium 2016
Theme: Smart Cities
Date: 23-24 August 2016

Academic Vacancies - FCE Subscription   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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