Building on success

Shirley Lam

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Creativity, dynamism, commitment-the spirit of the students of the Division of Building Science and Technology (BST) was on display at Built Expo 2003 on 9 and 10 June.

Organized around the theme of "Quality Enhancement in Building," Built Expo 2003 marked the 10th anniversary of the annual final-year student project competition and exhibition launched in 1994. "Over time and through experience and practice, the Built Expo has become an integral element and a core function of the Division's commitment to experiential and practical learning," said Mrs Julie Mo, Head of the Division, at the opening ceremony. Joining Mrs Mo for the ribbon-cutting were Vice-President (Academic Affairs) Professor David Tong, Vice-President (Undergraduate Education) Professor Edmond Ko, Secretary for Housing, Planning and Lands Mr Michael Suen, and representatives of the panel of judges: Director of AGC Design Ltd Mr Tony Lam, Director of Wong and Ouyang (Building Services) Ltd Mr Michael Tang, Managing Director of Professional Engineering Ltd Dr Alex Cheung, and Junior Vice-President of the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors Mr T T Cheung.

This year, the Built Expo featured over 60 projects by final-year students in all four building-related Associate of Science degree programmes -- Architectural Studies, Building Services Engineering, Construction Engineering and Management, and Surveying. The projects covered different topics such as designing two high-rise office towers and one low-rise exhibition hall; planning the air-conditioning, lighting, plumbing, drainage and fire services for a building; developing proposals complying with government requirements for the construction and management of a standard secondary school; preparing tenders for a four-storey residential project, and preparing proposals for the redevelopment of a commercial building.

The hard work, competence and presentation skills of the students won high commendations from the judges. "The standard of work is very high," Mr Lam remarked. "It really surprises me that the students have learned so much in two years. They must have spent a lot of time and effort to produce such high quality work." Some of the panel judges were so impressed with certain students that they hired them to work in their companies.

"Throughout the year, the building industry in Hong Kong has made significant contributions to enhance the quality of our buildings," said Mr Suen. Given the increasing number of old buildings in Hong Kong, Mr Suen found that one of the ways to arrest urban decay is to ensure building safety. "I believe all of you will have much to contribute towards the objective of quality buildings," he told the students.

 

Dr Cheung, who has served as a judge of the Built Expo throughout the past 10 years, praised the project for opening up opportunities for students to learn and practice. Mr Cheung, concurred, describing the event as a worthwhile project that gives participants an excellent opportunity to apply their knowledge in a real-life situation.

In the student representative's message of thanks, Miss Christine Hui recounted how the outbreak of SARS added worries to the challenging task of producing good quality projects. By overcoming such challenges, "we are well-equipped for the construction industry via enhanced communication, cooperation and critical thinking skills, as well as greater initiative and ability to work independently," she said.

"I hope that the hard work and positive learning attitude that students gain from the Built Expo will extend into their future careers and other aspects of their life," added Professor Tong.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Built Expo, BST organized a seminar on "Improving hygiene and health conditions of the built environment through quality building design and maintenance in the aftermath of SARS infection" which attracted over 400 construction professionals, a lunch gathering with company representatives, and a traveling exhibition of the students' projects in shopping malls across Hong Kong.

 

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