Property / Construction

Construction sector preparing for an upturn

by Alex Chan

Chan Ka-kui, managing director, Hsin Chong Construction Group Ltd
Photo: Ringo Lee

Macau also provides opportunities to work on exciting high-quality projects

Hong Kong's construction sector may have had a few difficult years, but there is now good reason for genuine optimism.

New projects in both the private and public sectors will be starting in 2007 and developments in Macau are continuing to provide substantial work.

"Today, when talking about the Hong Kong construction industry, you have to include Macau," says Chan Ka-kui, managing director of Hsin Chong Construction Group Ltd.

Foreign investment there in hotels, resorts and casinos has created a building boom, which some experts expect to last for the next seven to 10 years. As more tourists visit Macau, the government will need to upgrade local infrastructure, meaning further investment in public transportation, hospitals and utilities. "It will be like Hong Kong in the 1980s when there were major infrastructure improvements in a relatively short time," Mr Chan says.

Contractors must provide quality, otherwise they will not be able to secure new business

Obviously, this will mean sustained demand for construction services and for professionals with the relevant expertise in completing high-profile and large-scale projects. Developers and end users insist on quality in everything from design to interior workmanship and will not settle for second best. "Contractors must provide quality, otherwise they will not be able to secure new business," Mr Chan explains.

In large part, of course, this depends on having a quality workforce. Hsin Chong currently has around 1,250 employees, over two-thirds of whom hold degrees, diplomas, higher certificates, or professional qualifications. This depth of talent allows the company to offer more sophisticated project management services, as well as to act as an on-site contractor. "This helps us to form a stronger working relationship with the client and, from a business point of view, to generate revenue in two different ways," Mr Chan explains.

He notes that the individuals providing specialist advice and services must have good communication skills. Therefore, this is one of the key criteria for current recruits, whether they are engineers, surveyors, supervisors or technical staff.

"We have been appointed to manage the construction of the second phase of the Venetian development in Macau," Mr Chan says. "This is a substantial package, meaning we need a lot of high-calibre staff to handle it." In Hong Kong, the company is also preparing for the expected upturn as well as a high turnover growth in 2007. "There is a lot of competition from other companies but, in terms of the quality of our staff and the work they do, we are the most diversified," Mr Chan says. "With the Macau contracts, our staff will also have the opportunity to work on some unique projects."


Taken from Career Times 25 August 2006
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