CityU wins crucial construction manpower consultancy project

Karen Cheng


City University of Hong Kong (CityU) has been awarded a major consultancy project crucial to the long-term manpower planning and development of the construction industry in Hong Kong. The project will ensure the needs of upcoming infrastructure projects, including those of the government, are adequately met.


Commissioned by the Construction Industry Council, the $1.5 million consultancy project is designed to forecast manpower demand and supply within different categories of construction work for the period 2009-13. During this period a myriad of construction projects, including the 10 major infrastructure projects announced by the Chief Executive in last year's Policy Address, will be implemented.


Led by Professor Tam Chi-ming of the Department of Building and Construction of CityU, the project also seeks to develop a sound, practical and sustainable planning system that can be used to forecast manpower demand and supply regularly and repeatedly for the construction industry over a given period of time.


The CityU consultancy team has devised an effective and pragmatic approach to accurately forecasting manpower requirements for upcoming infrastructure projects, with a system that is a departure from the econometric methodology commonly used for manpower assessment purposes. This innovative approach was key to winning the project and is testimony to the research capabilities of the University.


Professor Tam said they were excited about the project, which is expected to help the construction industry better prepare for the large amount of construction work earmarked for the next few years.


"A balance in the supply and demand of construction manpower is pertinent to the smooth implementation of major infrastructure projects, and we are pleased that our involvement will help contribute to that process," Professor Tam said.


As part of the consultancy study, the project team will collect manpower data from different types of individual construction projects, including the detailed breakdown of requirements for close to 50 categories of construction workers, as well as costs. Based on this data, the team will develop a series of labour multipliers for use in the forecast of the demand and supply of construction manpower.


Professor Tam said that as the data they use involves actual figures, the forecast results will be more accurate and realistic.


In addition, the team will survey about 1,500 registered construction workers to gain a better understanding of their average age and areas of expertise


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