Hong Kong Branch: Spreading the word

In Hong Kong, the scope of work in the heating and plumbing industry is considerable. From project planning developers and consulting design advisory firms to main contractor/sub-contractor engineering companies, there are plenty of opportunities to join the industry.

“Engineers are indispensable to the development of local society and even the world,” says Derek TS Chan, honorary treasurer, CIPHE Hong Kong Branch (CIPHE-HKB). “Engineers are committed to improving human life and creating a better future for society. Therefore, there will be many young people engaged in the water industry and all of them will be potential members of the CIPHE-HKB.”

The water industry in Hong Kong encompasses the processing and supply of raw water and tap water, sewage collection and the utilisation of reclaimed water.

“In addition to traditional water supply and drainage management, the current water industry also includes protection and expansion of water resources, water conservation and emission reduction, reclaimed water reuse, water demand management, community planning, and water safety,” explains Chan.

“Due to the increasing focus on water safety and the COVID-19 pandemic, the public is paying more attention to the design and installation of plumbing and drainage systems.”

Developing skills

There are plenty of educational opportunities for water engineers, including professional training provided by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers (HKIE), with most graduate engineers promoted to engineer after two years of training. They will then be promoted to senior engineer or project engineer every two to four years, depending on their performance. Normally, a senior engineer can be appointed to handle a project with the supervision from a project manager.

“In recent years, there has been another major reform in science and technology, which is the simultaneous introduction of different construction methods such as Building Information Modelling (BIM), Modular Integrated Construction (MiC), Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) and Multi-trade Integrated MEP (MiMEP),” says Ryan SC Tam, chair – social of the CIPHE-HKB.

“Now, young engineers have more opportunities because the whole industry is a novice in this area and there will be a greater demand for people. We believe that new knowledge and technology will be absorbed by young people quickly, and companies are also willing to train their own employees.”

To help progress the industry further, the branch has developed a professional diploma course that focuses on strengthening the existing knowledge of water engineering.

“Many companies arrange for their employees to take our professional diploma courses to deepen their understanding and knowledge of water engineering, especially for young people without the relevant academic background,” says Tam.

In addition to that, the branch regularly holds seminars to enable engineers from different fields to learn more about the knowledge and expertise of the water industry and to make the public more aware of its importance.

“As in the UK, the Institute assesses member applications and requires a certain level of academic qualification with post academic work experience,” explains Chan. “In addition, in response to recent hot topics, such as modular integrated construction, we will invite experienced designers and contractors to share their knowledge, difficulties and solutions encountered.”

Communication

The branch regularly communicates with various government departments such as the Water Supplies Department, or other societies such as the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers, sharing the challenges encountered in the implementation of projects.

“Hong Kong branch acts as a bridge between the engineering industry and the different fields, so that water engineering continues to have a more professional development,” explains Chan. “We have always cooperated with both professional engineering societies and held some academic lectures to exchange knowledge in different fields.”

A few years ago, the branch organised some technical visits to learn more about the development of waterworks projects in mainland China. The impact of the pandemic has meant this activity has been put on hold for the time being.

“Instead, we have had more opportunities to visit existing local factories and investigate new construction methods,” says Tam. “CIPHE HK Branch will focus on local design, and will prioritise its promotion to members for now. Once the impact of the pandemic has been stabilised, we will have the opportunity to communicate more, reintroduce our face-to-face member events and develop further in the Greater Bay Area.”

Get in touch with CIPHE-HKB

For details of CPD, events and to register with the Engineering Council from Hong Kong, contact info@ciphe.org.hk

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