Hong Kong Branch: Leading the way
CIPHE-HKB’s chairlady, Sylvia Liu, has plenty of industry experience and relishes the challenge of her new position.
Her 20 years of expertise in the field of system design in building service consultation and project management for plumbing, drainage and swimming pool filtration installations has provided her with invaluable experience in the industry.
Not only is Sylvia experienced at carrying out administrative and supervisory work on these types of installations, which include residential buildings, commercial buildings, hotels and parks, but she has also led the project team for coordination on development of works programmes, procurement scheduling and construction methodology, as well as management and engineering exercises.
As a school girl, Sylvia was always very interested in mathematics and physics, enjoying the problem solving elements and providing the solutions to them. Therefore her chosen career in engineering was a logical progression.
“Engineers get to solve problems, design things that matter and improve quality of life, so I never get bored,” says Sylvia. “In engineering, you are always challenged to look for the best way to do things in less time and at a lower cost. As an engineer, we have to stay up-to-date with all types of technology and industry knowledge and this continuous learning makes life very interesting.”
According to Sylvia, her background in the plumbing and drainage engineering industry is beneficial to her current role and she believes that the field of engineering offers more career choices than any other discipline.
“I am very lucky to join a company which offers guidance to team colleagues,” she says. “I have a good understanding of plumbing and drainage and my knowledge of design will enable me to prepare, handle and face on-the-job challenges.”
Sylvia believes that the responsibility of a plumbing engineer does not end with the design, but covers supervision of these systems, from water supply to sewage treatment.
“We take care of the water supply, sewage and waste water and make sure that clean water is available to citizens,” she explains. “We can see engineering everywhere in the world around us, improving the ways we work, communicate, stay healthy and entertain.”
Plumbing systems convey fluids for a wide range of applications and as such the infrastructure is critical to public health and sanitation. For example, to ensure quality drinking water, the right design and control measures are vital.
“Our plumbing engineers should always ensure the safety of our water,” asserts Sylvia. “Prevention of failure is far cheaper and safer than letting equipment or systems fail. Condition-based maintenance assumes that the failure is age related and a clear service life can be determined. When you implement a regular maintenance process effectively you should be able to reduce the risk to systems in the most economical way. So, in my view, a well planned maintenance programme is highly efficient.”
Yiu-Chung Yiu has over 30 years of experience in the design, project management and construction of building services. He is also extremely knowledgeable about the codes and regulations of Hong Kong, Macau and PRC authorities and utilities, making him a useful asset at the branch.
After working in MEP Consultant Firm as an engineering design and project management specialist for over 25 years, a friend suggested to Yiu-Chung a change of career to a contractor.
“After some thought I eventually moved out of my comfort zone and became a contractor,” recalls Yiu-Chung. “Being a part of the plumbing and drainage industry as a contractor, overseeing a team of managers, engineers, supervisors, sub-contractors and workers, is challenging. Every day is full of surprises and I utilise my skillset to tackle them.
“The most interesting project I have worked on was designing the plumbing and drainage system of the new waterpark in Hong Kong called Ocean Park. The unique building forms, changing geography and complexity in building usages escalated the challenges to a new level.”
The pandemic has brought greater focus on safety measures and when it comes to water, the right design appropriate control measures are vital, says Yiu-Chung:
“Plumbing systems should not be permitted to endanger water safety in any way. The drinking-water supply must be protected from cross-connections with unsafe sources or with waste water plumbing systems. It must be able to cope with the hazards of back pressure or back siphonage, and the water should not be in contact with plumbing materials that might impart contamination.
“It has been reported that the Hong Kong Building Department will introduce legislative amendments in respect of the design of drainage pipes in newly constructed buildings, including requiring floor u-shaped water traps to adopt a design that will prevent them from drying up, and the use of different main drainage for units on upper and lower floors, to reduce the risks of cross infection of diseases.”
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