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Issue 71 - September 2016


Table of Contents

EC/RGC Collaboration Scheme 2016/17

Prof. Chen Wu of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) has recently been awarded funding of $2,020,000 from the European Commission/ Research Grants Council (EC/RGC) Collaboration Scheme. He will work on a project on real-time high accuracy positioning with multiple GNSS constellations with Dr Marcio Aquino of the University of Nottingham in the UK.

Prof. Chen

New Generation of Anti-Heat Stress Construction Uniforms Launched

On 7 September 2016, a press conference to introduce a new generation of anti-heat stress construction uniforms was held at the Construction Industry Resource Centre in Kowloon Bay. Organized by the Construction Industry Council, the conference attracted widespread attention from media like Sing Tao Daily, Ta Kung Pao, The Standard, Hong Kong Economic Times, Metro Daily etc. Since the construction uniforms were first introduced to protect workers toiling in hot and humid conditions, a team of PolyU researchers has adopted new technologies to enhance them. According to Prof. Albert Chan, Head of the Department of Building and Real Estate, who led the research, the new uniforms are made from Coolmax fabric and a new generation of textiles made from nano-materials. Light blue in colour, the uniforms can facilitate the evaporation of sweat, reduce stress from heat and humidity for construction workers and provide better UV protection at the same time.

Licensed to the Construction Industry Council for a nominal fee of $1, the new technology is expected to be widely adopted by industry practitioners. A simple procurement process is in place for potential customers to order the new uniforms. Suppliers will manufacture the uniforms under the specification provided by PolyU and deliver them once an order and payment has been received.


CEE Academic Elected VP of IStructE

Ir Prof. Kwok-fai Chung, Associate Head of Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), has been elected a Vice President of the Institution of Structural Engineers (IStructE) in the UK, the world’s leading professional body and largest membership organization dedicated to the art and science of structural engineering. The Institution has over 27,000 members working in 105 countries around the world, with about 2,350 of them residing in Hong Kong.

Prof. Chung will serve the IStructE from January 2017 to December 2018, promoting the innovation and technological development of structural engineering as well as the international visibility of structural engineers.

Prof. Chung

BRE Academic Awarded Public Policy Research Grant

Prof. Eddie Hui of the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE) has been awarded a Public Policy Research Grant of $369,909 for a one-year empirical study of the town planning board’s planning control decisions on residential development applicants since Hong Kong’s handover to China.

NSFC Research Grant for CEE Scholar

Dr Siu Kai Lai of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) has recently been awarded RMB220,000 from the Young Scientists Fund of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (NSFC). It will support his research on the nonlinear dynamic analysis of piezoelectric functionally graded carbon nanotube-reinforced composite material structures for 3 years from January 2017 to December 2019.

New Academic Staff

To boost research capabilities of the University, the Distinguished Chair Professor Scheme recruits leading scholars with a proven track record of research and links to Hong Kong or PolyU to lead large research programmes involving a group of academic colleagues to conduct advanced research of high application and impact. They are usually appointed by an advisory committee of the President to serve a term of 2 years, with about a 2-month stay at PolyU each year. The Faculty of Construction and Environment is pleased that the Scheme has recently added 3 new staff to 2 of its departments.

The Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE) welcomed a Distinguished Chair Professor of Robotics and Automation in Construction on 19 September 2016. Prof. Mirosław J. Skibniewski is a Professor of Construction Engineering and Project Management in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering in the A. James Clark School of Engineering at the University of Maryland, College Park. Prior to his current appointment, he served for 20 years as a faculty member and administrator at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana. He received his MEng degree from Warsaw University of Technology, and his MSc and PhD degrees from Carnegie-Mellon University. Prof. Skibniewski is also an bazaar alumnus of the Harvard University Graduate School of Education Management Development Program. Prior to his academic career, he worked as an engineering professional with the 130+-year-old Pittsburgh Testing Laboratory, a nationwide construction engineering consulting firm in Pennsylvania (now Professional Service Industries, Inc.), where he led structural and construction safety investigations, design quality reviews, construction claims reviews, value engineering, and forensic engineering projects.

As a researcher and educator, Prof. Skibniewski currently focuses on planning, design and innovative construction aspects of resilient infrastructure and in information technology applications in engineering project management. He will serve in BRE for 2 months.

Prof. Skibniewski

The Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) recently welcomed 2 Distinguished Chair Professors. The first is Prof. David A. Nethercot OBE, BSc, PhD, DSc, FREng, FIStructE, FICE, FCGI, Distinguished Chair Professor in Structural Engineering and Steel Construction, who is former Head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Imperial College and former Deputy Principal (Teaching) of the Engineering Faculty. He has more than thirty years’ experience of research, specialised advisory work and committee activity in the area of steel, aluminum and composite construction. He was previously on the staff at Cardiff, Sheffield and Nottingham Universities, including 5 years as Head of Department at Nottingham.

A particular interest has been the influence of connection behaviour on the overall performance of frame structures, where he has been responsible for major programmes of combined experimental and numerical work that underpin design treatments in British, European and other national standards, as well as industry design guides such as those produced by the SCI. Current research interests include progressive collapse of structures and light gauge and stainless steel construction.

The author of some 400 technical papers, he has supervised more than 40 externally funded research projects - several of them on an international basis - and has spoken - often as a keynote presenter - in more than 50 countries worldwide. He was awarded a DSc degree in 1993 and elected to the Royal Academy of Engineering in that same year. He is Past President of the IStructE and a former Council Member of the Royal Academy of Engineering. In 2006 he was awarded an OBE for services to Structural Engineering, was the 2008 recipient of the Charles Massonnet prize from the European Convention for Structural Steelwork and received a Gold Medal from the Institution of Structural Engineers in 2009. He is serving CEE from July 2016 to June 2018.

Prof. Nethercot

The other is Yeong-Bin Yang, Distinguished Chair Professor in Structural Engineering, who received his PhD degree from Cornell University in 1984. He is a member of the Chinese Academy of Engineering and a foreign member of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Currently, he is Honorary Dean of Civil Engineering at Chongqing University and Professor Emeritus of National Taiwan University. He is also a fellow of the American Society of Civil Engineers and the International Association of Computation Mechanics, and an Editor-in-Chief of International Journal of Structural Stability and Dynamics. In addition, he is Chairman of the Accreditation Council, Institute of Engineering Education Taiwan (IEET), President of Asian-Pacific Association of Computational Mechanics (APACM) and Chairman of East Asia-Pacific Conference on Structural Engineering and Construction (EASEC). Previously, he was President of National Yunlin University of Science and Technology and Dean of the College of Engineering at the National Taiwan University. He has published over 190 refereed journal papers. His areas of expertise include structural nonlinear theory and analysis, vehicle-bridge interaction dynamics, and train-induced wave propagation. In each area he has published a monograph. His appointment at CEE is from June 2016 to May 2018.

Prof. Yang

A new Professor of Practice also joined BRE in September. Prof. Man-wai Chan is a Chartered Surveyor (FRICS and FHKIS) by profession and has many years’ experience in development, construction project and facilities management for private and public sectors. In addition to a BSc from De Montfort University in the UK, he holds a MSc, MIPA, and PhD from the University of Hong Kong (HKU). He also completed the Advanced Management and Leadership Program from the University of Oxford (OAMLP). He is the founding President of the Hong Kong Institute of Facility Management (HKIFM).

Prof. Chan is currently the Executive Director (Project Delivery) of the West Kowloon Cultural District Authority (WKCDA) of Hong Kong. Prior to joining the WKCDA, he was the Vice President (Projects and Facilities) of the Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation. He oversaw the planning, development, construction and facilities management of the Hong Kong Science Parks, Innocentre and Industrial Estates.

Prof. Chan worked in North America for many years and has spent 8 years in academia. He also held a number of key positions of Government committees, professional institutes and universities, such as serving as a member of the Buildings Tribunal, and as an external examiner of HKU, CityU and PolyU.

Prof. Chan

LSGI Graduate Forms Social Venture for Game Development

Ernest Chan, a recent graduate of the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI), has formed a social venture with two of his close friends since December 2015. Known as AESIR, the venture makes use of augmented reality and virtual reality technologies to develop games for children with special learning needs. For example, one motion game of number-counting targets children with attention deficit hyperactive disorder. Starting from the children’s point of view, the game can improve their focus, memory, and concentration by having them count numbers through their body movements. Another augmented reality game helps children develop foundational life skills by encouraging them to record their emotions and feelings.

Even though AESIR has received funding support of HK$100,000 from PolyU’s Good Seed Programme earlier this year, Ernest said the finances of his venture are still a difficulty he must face, because the investment required for developing software is relatively long, and the return on investment takes longer than other investments. According to him, the final products are basically ready for end users. To promote them, he has entered various competitions, the latest being the Social Venture Challenge Asia that is jointly organized by the DBS Bank and the National University of Singapore. Besides representing Hong Kong to compete for up to $400,000 in prize money and letting people know about his venture, he hopes the products will ultimately be endorsed by academic authorities in speech and behavioral therapies.

Mr Chan

Go Global Bazaar 2016

On 12 September 2016, a bazaar of overseas institutions that have exchange agreements with PolyU was held on the campus of PolyU to promote outbound student exchanges. The opening ceremony was officiated by Prof. Timothy W. Tong, President of PolyU, and Prof. Angelina Yuen, Vice President (Student and Global Affairs). In addition to exhibitions of campus life by various universities from Australia, Austria, China, Columbia, Croatia, France, Germany, and the United States, there were students sharing their experiences of studying overseas. Exchange opportunities to Belt and Road countries like Brunei, Kazakhstan, and Russia were highlighted by the International Affairs Office, which organized the bazaar. Representatives from the Faculty of Construction and Environment (FCE) and its four departments were on hand to answer any questions that students might have, including Dr Michael Sing and Dr Wadu Mesthrige from the Department of Building and Real Estate (BRE), Dr Gigi Lui from the Department of Building Services Engineering (BSE), Dr Andy Leung and Dr Songye Zhu from the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), Dr Wallace Lai from the Department of Land Surveying and Geo-Informatics (LSGI) and Prof. Xiaoli Ding, Associate Dean (Partnership) from FCE.

(left to right) Dr Lai, Prof. Ding, and Dr Sing at the bazaar

CEE Student Wins Silver at Asian Orienteering Championship

At the 5th Asian Orienteering Championship in Taiwan from 27 July to 1 August 2016, a final-year student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), Mr Yu Tsz Wai, won 3 silver medals and finished fourth in the Men’s Elite class. His strong performance as an elite sportsman has led to financial support from the Hong Kong Institute of Sports.

According to his final-year project supervisor, Prof. Chau Kam-tim, Mr Yu is also an exemplary student who has performed very well in his studies.

Mr Yu

CEE Student from Kazakhstan Bridges Cultural Gap

A second-year student in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE) was recently interviewed by Wen Wei Po about her role as a “bridge-builder” for her home country of Kazakhstan, which is along the route of the government’s One Belt One Road initiative. Having been in Hong Kong for just one year, Anar Mussina, a recipient of PolyU’s Entry Scholarship in 2015 and one of the first cohort of students from that country, noted that many local students are not familiar with Kazakhstan, which is rich in natural resources, even though its economy and technological development are still at a rudimentary stage. She is pleased she is able to bridge the knowledge gap in Kazakhstan’s culture and customs for PolyU students. One important custom she helped to introduce in late March was the festival of Nauryz, which is celebrated at the beginning of a new year by the people of Kazakhstan, much like Chinese New Year is in Hong Kong. With some of her compatriots, Anar dressed up in the traditional costume of Kazakhstan and prepared some traditional snacks for other students to sample. There were also performances of traditional music by fellow students, which were well received.

As for the future, Anar plans to further the exchange and communication between the two places by staying on after she graduates. She hopes to understand the local business environment and explore market needs before setting up a construction company in Hong Kong.

Anar shares some snacks from Kazakhstan

Faculty Public Lectures

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

Prof. Yeong-Bin Yang

FCE Distinguished Chair Professor Inaugural Lecture
“Spectral Seismic Analysis of Long Underground Tunnels”

Date: 20 September 2016 (Tuesday) (Details)


Prof. Yeong-Bin Yang
Distinguished Chair Professor in Structural Engineering, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Honorary Dean, School of Civil Engineering, Chongqing University
Professor Emeritus, Department of Civil Engineering, National Taiwan University


Prof. Kevin Houser

FCE Public Lecture
“Human Factors Research for High Performance Buildings with Emphasis on the Response to Optical Radiation”

Date: 22 September 2016 (Thursday) (Details)


Prof. Kevin Houser
Professor of Architectural Engineering, The Pennsylvania State University, USA

Forthcoming Events

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

Motor Vehicle Emissions Control Workshop 2016
Date: 14-16 December 2016
Venue: Jockey Club Auditorium, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

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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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