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Property / Construction

Moving up the ladder

by Cho Ka-yan

Eric Tang, senior project engineer
Paul Y. Engineering Group Limited
Photo: Edde Ngan

Geographic and product diversification key to construction success

Everyone appreciates a superbly formed building where thought and careful planning are incorporated into every individual feature. Having the foresight and acumen to create such structural perfection is a different matter however, yet one company has the people power to reach the apex of constructional excellence.

Racing against the clock, managing large-scale construction projects with budget constraints is no easy feat. However, Eric Tang, senior project engineer, Paul Y. Engineering Group Limited has mastered the art. Ensuring every step in each complex construction project runs smoothly without a hitch, all the essential components must reach completion on time and on target.

"Time is money. Delays affect project timing and often have severe financial impact on all parties involved. Therefore, every decision counts," Mr Tang says. "It is essential we identify issues and find the right solutions early on because one wrong decision can impact a project immensely."

As tough as it sounds, this is precisely the adrenaline rush Mr Tang now embraces as part of his daily routine. To a senior engineer, managing a construction project is like devising solutions to an ever-changing puzzle. "There are so many potential problems beyond individual control, so brainstorming an alternative solution is a rewarding exercise," Mr Tang notes, adding that this is especially true when a decision saves clients' money and time.

Other than managing the nuts and bolts of a project to ensure smooth sailing, Mr Tang enjoys seeing the finished product, which brings a wave of incredible satisfaction.

Building passion

An ardent lover of bridges, Mr Tang developed a passion for mega-structures at a tender age. "I like huge infrastructures which often last more than 50 years in life," he says. Early on, having decided to enter the field of engineering, he began paving his professional path when he was still at secondary school.

With a bachelor's degree in civil engineering, he quickly realised that project management is a challenging field. In his view, the rapidly expanding construction industry is structured to accommodate budding talents and provide a platform for a rewarding career.

"Various institutions provide training and help young graduates find the specific areas of engineering which stimulate them," Mr Tang says. He acknowledges the importance of this professional training as many students leave school with quite generic knowledge which needs cultivating.

On a more personal level, having worked at a design office, which dealt with the technical side of engineering in the early stages of his career, Mr Tang soon discovered that his passion lies in people. Given his outgoing personality, he sought more exposure opportunities to build a wider people network. "Project management allows you to be in contact with a broad range of clients and stakeholders and so fostering a strong relationship is part of the job," he adds.

Professional portfolio

From constructing the 278,000 square metre Hong Kong Olympic Equestrian Venue in Shatin with an audience capacity of 18,000, to laying underground cables in tunnels at the heart of Wan Chai, Mr Tang has a wealth of project experience to offer.

"At Paul Y. Engineering there is a more diverse portfolio of projects," Mr Tang reveals. This is somewhat unique as many competing companies focus on specific developmental sectors like private real estate.

The selection of projects at Paul Y. Engineering stretches beyond tunnels and highways, reaching deep into other domains. "With China's economy booming, there is an increased demand for new infrastructure, which similarly remains high in cash-rich Middle Eastern cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi," Mr Tang notes.

For example, Paul Y. Engineering is currently spearheading an office tower and mall project in Kuwait. "If you are willing to travel, this industry can provide you with ample global career opportunities," says Mr Tang.

Closer to home, economic buoyancy both on the mainland and in Hong Kong is driving demand for new infrastructure. With the government launching numerous public projects, Mr Tang is confident that the field presents infinite opportunities for aspired individuals.

"Hong Kong is a unique market where a lot of people invest in property," Mr Tang remarks. "This in turn elevates demand for buildings. With the economy doing so well, the potential is huge," he concludes.


 

Taken from Career Times 09 May 2008, p. B1

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