Hong Kong – COVID-19 has brought both challenges and opportunities, as innovation flourished and new technologies found their ways to advance further. In April 2020, LWK + PARTNERS completed the temporary quarantine facilities in Sai Kung Outdoor Recreation Centre in collaboration with Paul Y. Construction and Paul Y. – iMax to assist the government’s response to COVID-19. It is one of Hong Kong’s pilot cases for Modular Integrated Construction (MiC), and it took only 77 days to design and build three blocks of three-storey facilities from scratch, setting the city’s record.
Paul Ng, LWK + PARTNERS Director who oversees the quarantine facilities project, explained, “MiC is an innovative construction method based on the concept ‘factory assembly followed by on-site installation’. Free-standing integrated modules are fabricated, finished and inspected in the factory before being transported to the site for installation. On-site processes like foundation works can be carried out all the while the above take place, substantially raising the levels of efficiency and quality.”
There have been previous examples in mainland China, Singapore, the UK and the US. Singapore is leading the way in Asia with relatively mature technologies, providing references and benchmarking for others in the region.
In Hong Kong, MiC is still in its early stages. The approval process takes much longer time and involves complicated preparation. Last year, LWK + PARTNERS and Paul Y. – iMax took the initiative to work together on an MiC installation system which secured ‘pre-acceptance’ from the city’s Building Department. This provided critical technological foundations for the temporary quarantine facilities in Sai Kung Outdoor Recreation Centre.