Back to Main

Issue 70 - August 2016


Table of Contents

MoU for Technological Collaboration with CMCRI and CNERC

On 1 August 2016, Prof. Yue Qing Rue, President of the Chinese National Engineering Research Centre for Steel Construction (CNERC) as well as President of the Chinese Metallurgical Construction Research Institute (CMCRI), visited the Hong Kong branch of the CNERC at PolyU with 7 delegates to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for technological collaboration. Representing the Hong Kong branch of the CNERC was its Director, Prof. Kwok Fai Chung, Associate Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), and its Deputy Director/ General Secretary, Dr Michael Yam of the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE).

The MoU involves collaboration among the CMCRI, the CNERC, and the CNERC Hong Kong with respect to:

  1. material specifications and structural design recommendations for modern Chinese steel materials;
  2. effective application of high strength steel materials;
  3. certification on steelwork fabrication and metal building envelopes; and
  4. continuing education and technical training on modern steel construction.

Supported by the Chinese Iron and Steel Association, Tsinghua University, the University of Science and Technology Beijing, the Hong Kong Constructional Metal Structures Association, and the Macau Society of Metal Structures, the collaboration is expected to last 3 years. The signing of the MOU was witnessed by Prof. You-Lin Xu, Dean of the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE).

Signing the MoU

Pre-Olympics Monitoring of Metro Trains in Rio by PolyU Team

A team from the Hong Kong branch of the National Rail Transit Electrification and Automation Engineering Technology (NRTEAET) Research Center at PolyU was commissioned to monitor the operational performance of Rio de Janeiro trains along a new metro line on 30 July 2016. Running for 16 km between downtown Rio and the Olympic Village, the trains were supplied by Changchun Railway Vehicles Co. Ltd., which authorized the PolyU team to conduct the comprehensive monitoring. Critical components of both motor and trailer cars, including bogie, axle box, lifting plate, gear box, antenna beam and traction motor were scrutinized and data with respect to the trains’ acceleration, strain and temperature were collected. With a cumulated mileage of 500km in 4 days of on-board monitoring, the trains were found to be safe and stable, meeting industry standards for operating in healthy conditions. Prof. Yiqing Ni, Director of the NRTEAET Research Center at PolyU, thanks the team for having accomplished its major mission of structural monitoring in time for the 2016 Olympics.

The team from PolyU in Rio

Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Academic Programme Development

The 2016 Dean’s Award for Outstanding Achievement in Academic Programme Development has recently been granted to Dr Joseph Lai of the Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE) and his 4-strong team for achievements with respect to the MSc/PgD programme in Facility Management. Team members include Dr Seung-hyun Cha, Dr Betty Chiu, Dr Danny Then, and Prof. Francis Yik. They will share a cash prize of $20,000. Certificates will also be presented to them at the Faculty Congregation and Prize Presentation Ceremony 2016 in November.

Funding for eLearning and Blended Learning Development Projects

The Advisory Committee on eLearning (ACE) has recently approved 2 projects for funding of $150,000 each. One is for Dr Jian-Guo Dai of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) to develop web-based lab sessions for the design of reinforced concrete and steel structures, while the other is for Mr Kent Lam of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) to develop a SPOC project for map reading and interpretation.

New Book by CEE Scholar

A new book co-authored by Dr Yung-ming Cheng of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) has recently been published by Bentham Science Publishers. Entitled Frontiers in Civil Engineering Vol. 1 – Stability of Geotechnical Structures: Theoretical and Numerical Analysis, the book introduces the fundamental concepts and applications of plasticity theory, limit equilibrium, and limit analysis in geotechnical engineering, using analytical examples whenever possible in order to enhance understanding. In parallel, suitable numerical methods and advanced computational tools are also introduced for solving theoretical and geotechnical problems of practical interests which require greater detailed consideration.

HKIS Supports Legal Publications

Following the publications of the second editions of a series of books by Atty. Stephen D. Mau of the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE), Tort Law in 2015, Property Law in 2014, and Hong Kong Legal Principles in 2013, the second edition of Contract Law in Hong Kong: An Introductory Guide was recently published by HKU Press on 8 August 2016. An easy reference for students, practitioners, non-law professionals, and the general public, the latest book reflects the contract principles that apply in Hong Kong and includes updated cases.

The second editions of Atty. Mau’s books were all funded by the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (HKIS), which is also supporting his current preparation of the manuscript for Arbitration Law in Hong Kong: An Introductory Guide.

Atty. Mau

BSE Scholar Appointed Associate Editor of International Journal

Ir Prof. Cheuk-ming Mak of the Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE) has been appointed associate editor of the International Journal of Acoustics and Vibration, which is the refereed journal of the International Institute of Acoustics and Vibration.

Prof. Mak

Summer School on Atmospheric Science in Jinan

To nurture talented professionals in the field of atmospheric science and facilitate collaboration between research students in Hong Kong and mainland China, a summer school funded by China’s Ministry of Education was held from 21 to 27 July 2016 in Jinan. Organized by PolyU’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) and Shandong University’s Environment Research Institute, the summer school brought together academics, industry practitioners, and researchers. Among the 20 professors who gave lectures attended by more than 120 students were four academics from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), namely, Prof. Xiang-dong Li, Prof. Tao Wang, Prof. Shuncheng Lee, and Prof. Hai Guo. The last three were also invited to talk to Jinan environmental protection officials on the monitoring, analysis, and control of air quality in Hong Kong.

At a seminar for Jinan environmental protection officials

Faculty Sharing Forum on Writing Successful Proposals

On 31 August 2016, around 80 academic and research personnel attended a Faculty Sharing Forum to learn more about writing competitive proposals for funding from the Hong Kong Research Grants Council (RGC). After an opening address by Prof. Xiangdong Li, Associate Dean of FCE (Research), several speakers took turns sharing their experiences of securing RGC funding from various schemes, including Dr Minchen Wei of the Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE) on how to be supported by the Early Career Scheme, Prof. William Lam, Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), and Prof. Jianlei Niu, Associate Head of BSE, on writing successful proposals for the General Research Fund.

In addition, Prof. Yuguo Li, Head of the Department of Mechanical Engineering at the University of Hong Kong, and his colleague in the Department of Civil Engineering there, Prof. Xiao-yan Li, shared their tips on writing proposals for the Collaborative Research Fund and the Theme-based Research Scheme respectively. On a similar note of success, Prof. Albert Chan, Head of the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE) at PolyU, talked about his experience of recruiting quality candidates for the HK PhD Fellowship Scheme. The forum ended with concluding remarks from Prof. You-lin Xu, Dean of FCE, and Prof. Xiangdong Li.

Prof. Xiangdong Li, Associate Dean of FCE (Research), delivering his opening address Dr Minchen Wei (BSE) sharing his experience of how to be supported by the Early Career Scheme Prof. William Lam (CEE) and Prof. Jianlei Niu (BSE) shared their experience on writing successful proposals for the General Research Fund
Prof. Albert Chan (BRE) talked about his experience of recruiting quality candidates for the HK PhD Fellowship Scheme Fruitful discussions at the Forum Prof. You-lin Xu, Dean of FCE, presenting souvenirs to the two external speakers, Prof. Yuguo Li and Prof. Xiao-yan Li, who shared their tips on writing proposals for the Collaborative Research Fund and the Theme-based Research Scheme respectively

BSE Scholars Led Seminar on Building Envelope Design and Ventilation

Prof. Cheuk-ming Mak of the Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE) and his postdoctoral fellow, Dr Zhengtao Ai, presented a seminar for continuing professional development on 12 August 2016. Supported by the Environment and Conservation Fund, the seminar explored issues and possibilities for improving the ventilation of residential buildings in Hong Kong. Based on their examination of several ventilation strategies for air-conditioned residential buildings, a short-term mechanical ventilation strategy was recommended. The evaluation of some opening configurations suggested that careful envelope design adapted to the high-density urban environment is one of the primary solutions to maximize natural ventilation. Attracting about a hundred students and professionals from the construction industry, the seminar promoted a deeper understanding of the use of building envelope design to improve ventilation.

BRE Visiting Scholar Promoted

Dr Yingyu Ge, a visiting scholar to the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE), has been promoted to Associate Director of the Institute of Human Resources Development at the Jiangsu University of Technology’s business school. Dr Ge’s expertise is in human capital management and is especially interested in studying workers who have migrated from rural areas to urbanized cities and their employment issues. She is currently working with Dr Patrick Fong, Associate Head of BRE (Partnership), on a one-year project to improve the employability of a new generation of Chinese migrant workers, especially those who work in construction.

Dr Ge

New Academic Staff

The Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE) welcomed Prof. Asif Sohail Usmani as its new Head on 18 August 2016. Prior to joining PolyU, Prof. Usmani was Head of the Division of Civil Engineering at Brunel University London, UK. Before that, he was Head of the Research Institute for Infrastructure and Environment and Professor of Structural Engineering and Computational Mechanics at the University of Edinburgh, UK.

Following a first degree in Civil Engineering, a master’s degree in Structural Engineering at Stanford University, USA, and four years of structural engineering design and construction in Saudi Arabia, Professor Usmani decided to pursue a research career. He developed finite element codes for the simulation of foundry casting processes at Swansea University, UK, for modelling of molten metal flow, heat transfer and solidification. His multidisciplinary background led him to develop structural fire safety engineering research at the University of Edinburgh following his appointment as Lecturer in 1995 and establish Edinburgh as an internationally leading research centre in this field.

His research focused on understanding the thermo-mechanical behaviour of structures in real fires using computational methods validated with experiments. Key achievements include: providing fresh insights to understand non-intuitive structural behaviour observed in fire; explaining the collapse of World Trade Centre Twin Towers; developing open-source software OpenSees for modelling structures in fire including multi-hazard response simulation. His research output consists of over 200 peer reviewed publications resulting from research funding in excess of seven million pounds sterling. This work will continue at PolyU with a renewed focus on real fires in tall buildings and resilience of communities in dense urban environments such as Hong Kong.

Prof. Usmani

The Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) welcomed a new assistant professor on 8 August 2016. Dr Xintao Liu received his Bachelor of Engineering in Survey from Hohai University, China, in 1998, his Master of Science in Cartography & GIS from Nanjing Normal University in 2003, and his PhD in Geo-informatics from the Royal Institute of Technology, Sweden, in 2012. In the same year, he joined the Department of Civil Engineering at Ryerson University in Canada and worked as a postdoc fellow in geographic information science (GIS) and transportation until 2016. His research interests include geographic information services, GIS in transportation, urban computing, urban mobility and sustainability. He has served as a co-investigator of several national projects of Sweden and Canada. His research goal is to apply state-of-the-art technologies to smart cities for a better urban life. He is also a reviewer for a series of major international journals in his field.

Dr Liu

Another new assistant professor in LSGI joined the department on 17 August 2016. Dr Wenbin Xu obtained his BS in Geomatics and MSc degrees in Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing from Central South University in 2008 and 2011, respectively. He received his PhD degree in Earth Science from King Abdullah University of Science and Technology, Saudi Arabia, in 2015.

Prior to joining the Hong Kong Polytechnic University, he worked as a postdoc researcher in the Department of Earth and Planetary Science at the University of California, Berkeley, USA.

Dr Xu’s principal research interests include the use of Remote Sensing and Radar Interferometry (RSRI) for studying ground deformation associated with a variety of geophysical and anthropogenic processes, such as earthquakes, volcanoes, and land subsidence. He is also interested in InSAR time series and InSAR atmospheric corrections. Dr Xu has authored and co-authored more than 10 peer-reviewed journal and conferences papers.

Dr Xu

Study Tours Sent BRE Students to Distant Lands

Students in the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE) have many choices when it comes to study tours to complement their learning. So far in 2016, over a hundred students in 3 different undergraduate programmes of BRE have participated in a study tour with funding from the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) for teaching and student development that is supported by a generous donation from Mr Yau Kwok Fai, Deputy Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Vantage International (Holdings) Ltd. Following are the details:

18 surveying students visited the Netherlands from 14 to 19 May 2016. Under the guidance of Dr Stanley Yeung and Mr Stephen Kong, the students visited the architecturally-unique cube houses in Rotterdam, the windmills in Zaanse Schans and its traditional crafts, the floating houses in Amsterdam, as well as the Delft University of Technology, where they learnt about the construction industry in the Netherlands from several staff of the Faculty of Architecture.

Students in Rotterdam

From 11 to 15 May, another group of 31 surveying students visited Kansai, Japan, in the company of Prof. Meng Ni and Prof. Yat-hung Chiang. They learnt about different ways of life in different periods of Japanese history from a visit to the Osaka Museum of Housing and Living. They also learnt about the business culture in Japan and valuation methods from an appraisal by a real estate company. Before returning to Hong Kong, they had a chance to visit Kiyomizu Temple, the Osaka Municipal Abeno Disaster Prevention Center, and the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution.

Students in Kansai, Japan

Tokyo was the destination of choice for 28 surveying students from 4 to 8 January. Led by Prof. Meng Ni and Mr Stephen Kong, the students visited the Tokyo Science Museum, the Nisseki Surveying Co. Ltd., the Tokyo Rainbow Sewage Museum, and the Edo-Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum, amongst other places. In addition to learning about traditional Japanese construction technology and modern urban development in Tokyo, they also learnt about the real estate market in Japan and the role of the Japan Constructive Inspect Association in maintaining building standards.

Students in Tokyo

Furthermore, 34 building engineering and management students visited Osaka from 23 to 27 May with their supervisors Dr Johnny Wong and Dr Wadu Mesthrige. Not only did the students gained insights on the building and real estate industry in Japan, they also developed closer bonds with their classmates during the study tour, which included visits to Awaji Yumebutai, the Disaster Reduction and Human Renovation Institution, Kinki University, Osaka Castle Park, and Osaka Museum of History.

Students in Osaka

20 property management students also visited Osaka from 16 to 20 May. Accompanied by Prof. Eddie Hui and Dr Milton Lau, students upgraded their knowledge with respect to heritage preservation, town planning for entertainment zones, facility management in terms of rubbish collection and parking spaces, as well as the real estate market in Japan generally and Osaka in particular.

Students in Osaka

Going on a study tour has been one of the best decisions these students ever made during their university years. It is highly recommended for those who would like to widen their perspectives and add an international dimension to their studies.

Orientations for New Students

On 30 August 2016, the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) held orientations for its new undergraduates as part of the PolyU Orientation Programme 2016. Besides a session for students of the Broad Discipline of Construction and Environment (BDCE), each of its four departments held separate sessions as well. In the BDCE session, new BDCE students were welcomed by Prof. Geoffrey Shen, Associate Dean of FCE (Teaching), who introduced the Faculty and BDCE team. Prof. Yat Hung Chiang, the Broad Discipline leader, then briefed students on the BDCE curriculum and the role of academic advising in the students’ studies. Students had a chance to meet their academic advisors and familiarized themselves with the programmes of the four departments, namely, the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE), the Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE), the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), and the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI), which were introduced respectively by Dr Daniel Chan, Prof. Ya Ping Du, Prof. Kwok Fai Chung, and Dr Lilian Pun. The session concluded with a briefing by the Centre for Student Advancement and Resources (STARS).

New full-time postgraduates had their orientation on 1 September 2016. They were welcomed and introduced to FCE by its Dean, Prof. You-lin Xu, after which the Postgraduate Scheme in Construction and Environment was introduced to them by its Chairman, Prof. Geoffrey Shen. Following introductions by Prof. Albert Chan, Head of BRE; Prof. Patrick Du, Asso. Head of BSE; Prof. William Lam, Head of CEE; and Prof. John Shi, Head of LSGI, on their respective department, students went to one of 9 sessions on various taught programmes to meet their programme leaders. All the orientations gave students a better sense of what to expect in terms of resources and facilities available for them to support their chosen studies.

Prof. Shen at the BDCE orientation
Orientation for postgraduates

Forthcoming Event

22nd Congregation and Faculty Prize Presentation Ceremony
Date: 1-2 November 2016
Venue: Jockey Club Auditorium, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

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

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