GBE completes landmark LED video wall at Hing Wai Building

With COVID-19 leading to travel restrictions that barred entry from mainland or other tourists, businesses located in main shopping districts such as Central saw a direct hit to their revenue. Landowners are prompted to reduce their rental rates so that tenants can remain in business and also pay their rent. In light of this issue, some landlords have taken a different approach whereby they search for ways to maintain their rental rates to not lose out on their rental income. One such way is by asset enhancement, which is to enhance the value of a property through renovation, usually by implementing new technology that can better complement and help the tenant’s business. The LED curved video wall at Hing Wai Building that serves as a digital billboard is an example of this.

 

Digital out of home (DOOH) advertising gives a more engaging and interactive experience to its audience compared to traditional out of home(OOH) marketing. The difference is that an OOH advert is static with a single image placed over a period of time, DOOH can offer multiple animated videos or the like via digital screens, which can reach its intended audience in real time.

 

GBE steps into the DOOH marketing limelight by completing Hong Kong’s first curved LED video wall at Hing Wai Building on 36 Queen’s Road Central, the project first began mid May 2021 and recently completed late November 2021. Companies can now advertise their product or service on this enormous screen which can deliver sharp and colorful content in high resolution and clarity, surely attracting the attention of those who walk by it. The video wall measures at 35200 x 9200 mm and at 4224 x 1108 (4K) resolution, it curves naturally and seamlessly with the shape of the building. LED video wall technology was chosen due to its ability to offer seamless images with minimal bezels, high quality optic characteristics, and its scalability to any shape or size , with all this incorporated it allows the video wall to look great from any angle.

 

Viewership Area of Video Wall

 

The black line represents the video wall and the red line shows roughly the surrounding area where people can see the video wall. The video wall borders two main streets, D’Aguilar Street and Queen’s Road Central. Pedestrians walking on Theatre Lane will also have a good view of it. A study on the foot traffic on these surrounding streets revealed that around 160,000 people passes through this area per day. So, you can imagine the amount of attention the video wall can potentially get per month.

 

Video wall of today

“The global LED Video Walls Market is expected to gain momentum on account of numerous benefits offered by video walls, namely, ease of maintenance, high flexibility, and performance.”

In today’s transforming world of digital information,  video walls differ mainly from indoor usage such displaying price of products at a store or outdoor DOOH advertising. Video walls are an effective form of digital signage that can support content customization, and dynamic 3D content such as producing the illusion of objects ‘popping out’ from the screen. Especially curved video walls that allow the audience to experience this effect more immersively.  Examples of such content can be viewed below:

 

Housing Affordability in Hong Kong – A Quick Comparison with Singapore

 

When the housing market restarted with a vengeance in Hong Kong after Donald Tsang stepped down , however much tight land supply policy could be justified given government revenue dependence, it should not have affected the public sector housing. People seeking public housing could not have afforded private housing and so they should not be a government revenue concern.

 

Yet, despite calls and evidence being brought to the attention of the government, public housing supply remains very low.

 

While 80% of Singaporeans live in public housing, only 44.7% of Hong Kongers do.

 

Looking at the numbers 

Average public housing price of the Housing Development Board of Singapore is S$507 per square foot., equivalent to HKD $2,930. In Hong Kong, those who could not get into public housing face an average apartment price per square foot of HK$ 16,883 per square foot (apartments under 400 square feet), or 5.76 times more expensive than Singapore.

  • Hong Kong GDP per capita – USD $46,323
  • Singapore GDP per capita – USD $59,797.

But GDP per capita is always unreliable for these purposes because of the huge income disparity and this average figure included the super-rich. Hong Kong ranks world no. 1 in income disparity and has the world’s largest Gini coefficient.

 

So, in Singapore, public housing cost as a multiple of median monthly household income = 507 / 7744 (both expressed in Singapore dollars) = 6.5%.In Hong Kong, for those who had to buy private housing instead of lining up for public housing, housing cost as a multiple to median monthly family income = HKD$16,883 / 26,500 = 63%.

  • Median monthly household income in Singapore is S$ 7744 = HKD $44,643.
  • Median monthly household income in Hong Kong is HK$ 26,500.

 

Therefore, Hong Kong private sector housing (for many who need to buy them) is 10 times less affordable than in Singapore.We have not yet dealt with the real impact by calculating the housing prices as a multiple of monthly or annual disposable income for housing payment. Which will magnify the difference and show the plight of the Hong Kong people. So, journalists who sing the mantra that Hong Kong’s riots were caused by the stripping of political freedom and has nothing to do with poverty and unaffordable housing, go back and do your maths.

 

Source: Urban Reform Institute and Frontier Centre For Public Policy

Source : hkeconomy.gov.hk

 

The Different Types of Housing you will see in the UK

As a guy who has lived in both UK and HK, I can certainly say there are quite a few differences to take note of when deciding on long-term accommodation. For those moving to the UK from Hong Kong, they may find themselves largely unfamiliar with the different types of housing spread across the UK. So, it might be worthwhile to learn about housing types in the UK to better understand the advantages and drawbacks that come with them.

 

Surprisingly there is no legal requirement for room ceilings to be at a certain height in the UK. However, the average room height in UK is 2.4 m but ideally 2.6 m to 2.7 m. On the other hand, Hong Kong has requirements that every room used or intended to be used for office or habitation should have a height no less than 2.5 m, measured from floor to height.

Detached House

The housing type that offers a greater degree amount of privacy than others, it does not share any wall with other structures. Often built in rural or suburban areas, they typically come with both back and front lawns, which may be ideal for pet owners and those who enjoy outdoor activities such barbequing or gardening. They also tend to come with garages, useful for car-owner. However, a downside with this type is that it tends to be the most expensive housing type to purchase, and comes with high maintenance and upkeep costs.

 

Semi-detached House

Slightly different from the detached house, the semi-detached house shares at least one wall with an existing structure that is separately owned. These are usually cheaper than detached houses. As you share a wall with a neighbour, there is the possibility of disputes such as noise disturbance that may arise. On that note, any building alterations done would need to be discussed with your neighbour. So, you may need to take these factors into consideration.

 

Terraced House

Found commonly in populated areas such as cities, terraced housing are houses that sits in rows that occupy the street. A popular type of housing where land is at a premium, it allows for construction to save a great deal of space. Terrace houses usually share walls on both sides, where the accommodation is ‘sandwiched’ by others. Could possibly offer a bit more security with neighbours on both sides, a bit more foot traffic surrounding the house.

 

End-of-Terrrace House

With only minor differences to terrace houses, end-of-terrace houses are found at the end of the rows of the homes. They typically occupy the corners of the street or the ends of roads. They can offer more space and better lighting than the terrace houses in the middle due to the extension sideways. They can cost around 20% more than normal terraced homes.

 

Flats 

Usually being the smallest type of housing, flats are more affordable compared to the rest of this list. Usually stacked into a single building, similar to Hong Kong, flats are popular in inner city areas due to the space saving advantage. They also usually offer security and concierge that takes care of the building. Depending on the firm that manages the building, the apartment complex may also come with amenities such communal swimming pool and/or gym, clubhouses with reading room or study spaces.

 

Inside the houses of UK

 

If you’re interested in what the interior of these houses looks like, take a look at the videos on this YouTube channel.

Understanding the 4 Types of Air Purifiers

Due to Covid-19 pandemic, there are rising concerns about the potential transmission of the virus in enclosed spaces such as indoor areas, where air-borne bacteria and viruses can circulate when airflow is restricted. To prevent bad airflow, people are becoming more interested in the air purifying system to lower the risk of getting sick. There are four main types of air purifiers that are used at home .

HEPA Purifiers

The most common one is the HEPA purifiers. High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters capture airborne particles from moving air using a dense, random arrangement of fibers. HEPA filters use the physics of particles moving through air to yank them out of the airflow. Their operation is simple but extremely effective. They have an efficiency of removing 99.97% of particulate matter of size less than 0.3 microns from contaminated air ensuring a flow rate anywhere between 150 -400 cubic feet per minute depending on the clogging of their pores.


Pros:

Reduces allergy and asthma symptoms:

Particles like dust, dander, and pollen that cause allergy symptoms are large enough for a HEPA filter to catch

Commonly available:

HEPA filters are found in a variety of home appliances including whole-house air filtration units, portable air purifiers, and vacuum cleaners.

Produces no byproducts:

Other air purifying products like ozone, ionizers, and PECO all emit a harmful byproduct into the air.

 

Cons:

Won’t remove every particle:

will not remove pollutants from the air that are smaller than 0.3 microns, including viruses, some bacteria, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Requires frequent replacement:

HEPA filters trap most of the particulates in the air. This means they tend to clog faster than more porous filters.

Can be difficult to clean:

The shape and size of your air purifier may make it difficult to access the HEPA filter and clean it.

 

Sources:

The Pros and Cons of Using a HEPA Filter in Your Home Air System

https://molekule.science/pros-cons-hepa-filter/


UV Purifiers

Industrial installation for UV water purification

UV stands for ultraviolet. UV Air Filtration is a specialized way of treating your air that reduces biological compounds.  It can also help eliminate potentially harmful bacteria and viruses from the air. There are special products that can be installed in addition to the current HVAC systems so that the UV air filtration or UV air purification system purifies the air as it is conditioned by your AC and heating system.


Pros:

Elimination

eliminate microscopic elements, such as viruses, bacteria, or mold, that can be toxic or harmful

Silent:

you won’t even know it’s running

Won’t accumulate dirt:

there’s no physical filter

 

Cons:

Won’t remove every particle:

most allergens, dust, or other solids such as cigarette smoke, gases, or other chemical fumes cannot remove.

Require some maintenance:

AirCleaner.org tells us “every year, about 15% of an ultraviolet light’s power is decreased.”

http://www.aircleaner.org/uv-air-purifiers/

By-product created:

When UV purifiers expose air to UV light, the same energy that breaks the bonds of DNA in microorganisms can also split oxygen (O₂), which can reform into ozone (O₃). While beneficial high in the atmosphere, ozone is a dangerous pollution in your home.

 

Sources:

https://www.comfortexpertsinc.com/blog/2015/april/pros-and-cons-of-uv-air-filtration/

https://www.schnellerair.com/blog/pros-cons-what-you-need-to-know-about-uv-air-filtration/


Ozone Air Purifiers

Ozone is a molecule composed of three atoms of oxygen. Two atoms of oxygen form the basic oxygen molecule–the oxygen we breathe that is essential to life. The third oxygen atom can detach from the ozone molecule, and re-attach to molecules of other substances, thereby altering their chemical composition. It is this ability to react with other substances that forms the basis of many manufacturers’ claims.


Pro

more applicable:

applicable for biological contaminants, not airborne inorganic particulates or chemicals

non-occupant settings:

ozone generators can be used to disinfect the air and kill microbes

 

Con

immediately harmful to your health

ozone can damage the lungs. Relatively low amounts can cause chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and throat irritation.

leaving byproducts:

just as bad or even worse than the original chemicals.

 

Sources:

https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/our-work/programs/air-cleaners-ozone-products/hazardous-ozone-generating-air-purifiers

https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/ozone-generators-are-sold-air-cleaners#intro


NCCO Purifier

NCCO is an innovative technology invented by members of HKUST Entrepreneurship Program. It has been well recognized by the Hong Kong government and the public sector and is a revolutionary air purification technology that will change the world.

In comparison to other air purification technologies such as activated charcoal, UV light and electrostatic precipitator. NCCO is more efficient at removing pollutants. For example, activated charcoal can only absorb but not decompose pollutants, and can only last for a short period of time (usually three months) without replacement. Once the carbon filter is saturated, the pollutants absorbed will be released to the air causing “second pollution”, which can cause great harm to health.

On the other hand, NCCO can absorb and decompose pollutants continuously by combining Active Oxygen and High grade synthetic zeolite, and the technology can last for up to 12 years in a laboratory environment. NCCO has solved a range of air pollution issues in different sectors including commercial, industrial, retail and motor etc. In addition, it can resolve indoor and outdoor air quality problems including pollution caused by PM2.5, PM10, VOCs and formaldehyde. Being able to remove the root sources of pollutants, NCCO acts as an excellent air purifier. Being a proven concept with these capabilities, NCCO is playing an important role in air purification technology development.


Application for NCCO Purifier

fan coil system

Office Ceiling

Lift

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The future of the housing stock left behind by the Tokyo Olympic Village

Olympic Villages have accompanied Olympic Games since the Olympics in Los Angeles, 1932. The Village designed for the Helsinki Games in 1952 was the first intended to be converted into housing. Now, following Helsinki’s example, Olympic Villages are often converted into residential units, with rare anomalies such as Lake Placid 1980, which now stands as a federal prison. However, the success of each Village in their subsequent uses still vary immensely, depending on many interconnected factors such as sustainability and economic growth.

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics Village is set to be converted into a 13.9 hectare residential sub-division, ‘Harumi Flag’, by ten large developers, including prominent companies like Nomura Real Estate and Mitusi Fudosan Residential. Plans anticipate that the development, located in the centre of Tokyo on man-made island Harumi, would consist of over 23 residential buildings and a commercial facility, as well as other leisure and social services, such as parks and childcare facilities. 

Source: https://news.panasonic.com/global/stories/2019/71599.html

Whether or not these flats remain vacant in 2024, which is when the flats are set to be completed, cannot be determined for sure at this point. Despite this, after taking a look at the Sydney (2000), Athens (2004), Beijing (2008), London (2012) and Rio de Janeiro (2016) Olympic Villages it can be seen that there are a few common criteria that distinguish the successes from the failures. These include the economic state of the host country, whether private or public developers are in charge, how much emphasis is placed on sustainability and the amount of careful planning involved. The location of said Villages can also be taken into account, however this point may be secondary to the rest as it can be argued that with good planning and a decent transport system, such as will be seen in the case of London, distance from the city centre is not as significant a factor. When the pattern that successful Olympic Villages have followed is identified and compared with the journey of the Tokyo Olympic Village so far according to the criteria listed above, the future of the Village seems optimistic.

 

Past Olympic Villages

Sydney (2000)

The Sydney Olympic Village was a remarkable success. Built in Newington (inner-west Sydney) and developed by a public-private partnership, it was a major stepping stone in terms of sustainability, and reportedly ‘changed urban planning and design in Australia forever’, in particular the development of greenfield sites. Unlike previous Villages, it was designed as permanent housing, and ‘used the principles of permanent dwellings that had game overlays to deliver the beds required for athletes’. For example, demountables that could be easily removed were placed in backyards and removed after the Games.

Source: https://www.projectanalysis.com.au/olympic-athletes-village-demountable/2923

Rooms were also big enough for divisions to be placed inside. This meant that their target market – Sydney’s middle class , or even the general public, would be more willing to put their money forward and purchase housing as these residences were built more like a permanent home to live in rather than for a two-week temporary stay. 

Source: https://placesjournal.org/assets/legacy/media/slideshows/gade-olympic-villages-18.jpg

Furthermore, the emphasis placed on sustainability during its construction, with the area being the largest solar-powered suburb in the world, boosted the its status and bolstered its image, adding onto the pre-existing attraction of it being a former athlete’s village. Another factor that contributed to its success was the  real estate boom and overall favourable growth in the economy at the time, which eliminated the risk of being unable to finance construction due to sudden large falls in consumer confidence and subsequently consumption. It meant that consumers were more eager to purchase new housing and so demand was able to meet supply more easily. 

 

Athens (2004)

The Athens Olympic Village (2004) was to be turned into the ‘biggest social housing development in Greek history’ and was constructed on brownfield (‘degraded, polluted, minimally inhabited wasteland on the city’s far northern outskirts) land. It was a huge failure, with many flats now vacant and the infrastructure dilapidated. Its use as public housing, distributed to citizens through a lottery, diverged from the Olympic Village in Sydney, which was built to be sold as housing for those in the middle-class. Another aspect that differed from the successful Sydney Olympic Village was that it was built using ‘old, environmentally unfriendly technology’. Furthermore, even as the athletes were moving into the village, there was already criticism surrounding the living conditions, with some citing bad security and the housing being unfinished. 

source:https://placesjournal.org/assets/legacy/media/slideshows/gade-olympic-villages-19.jpg

One core reason that it failed was that the costs for the event were underestimated due to a lack of careful planning and excessive extravagance. Greece simply could not afford the Olympics. The municipalities responsible for developing the area did not have the funds to sustain redevelopment and so the planned infrastructure and schools were never constructed, which inevitably withdrew from the value of the area. Another important factor to consider is the prolonged economic recession that Greece fell into later on, which the Games undoubtedly contributed towards. The following recession and debt crisis even more so meant that there were not enough funds to pay for the development. The lack of private sector involvement should also be taken into account – with Jay Scherer citing the Village as a ‘sobering portrait of the level of debt that can be accrued by the state in the absence of private investment in these developments’. There was also a lack of deliberation in terms of ‘environmental strategy and forward thinking’, or ‘economic feasibility studies or even a basic business plan’ as planners rushed to finish venues, leading to the soaring costs of the Games (cost nearly $11bn and double the initial budget), leaving diminishing funds behind to actually redevelop and maintain these venues.

 

Beijing (2008)

Less is known about the reality of the Beijing Olympic Village (2008) now, but it was developed into housing for upper-class Beijing residents and has gravitated towards Newington, rather than Athens’ example. Environmentally-friendly amenities were also included, with the Village being equipped with geothermal energy and solar panels and a micro-energy building, and reportedly, the city ‘tied its Olympic agenda to long-term land use development goals’. This increased the appeal of the units, which would have led to a rise in demand for them. According to China Daily, even people from outside Beijing expressed interest in the condos after the Olympics. Ge Huai’en, the Village’s marketing director, also stated that ‘about 70% of the apartments in the Olympic Village in northern Beijing had been sold before the Olympics’. The price of these flats practically doubled in a year and a half following their market release and surrounding real estate values rose.

Source: https://medium.com/@toby.lr/beijings-2008-olympic-developments-8-years-later-3f45a95d1171

 

London (2012)

The London Olympic Village, now converted into a neighbourhood north of Stratford town centre known as East Village, was developed on brownfield land, following the example of the 1992 Barcelona Games. Forbes has labelled East Village (and Olympic Park) as a ‘rip-roaring success’, and Ben O’Rourke claims that the London Olympics’ real-estate legacy is largely responsible for ‘London moving east’. Of the 2,818 new residences created, 1,379 were labelled as affordable homes and sold to Triathlon Homes. The remaining private homes, plots for a potentially 2,000 more residences and long-term management of East Village are managed by Get Living London and owned by Delancey/Qatari Diar. Now, East Village is labelled ‘London’s Hippest Postcode’, with its architecture looking to ‘emulate the much-loved planning of Maida Vale and other parts of Victorian west London’ and is a ‘rare example’ of a housing devlopment that ‘shows more thought and quality than most things comparable built in Britain in recent decades’. 

Source: https://inhabitgroup.com/project/east-village-london-e20/

East Village offers a variety of housing types, from apartments to townhouses and the neighbourhood also has facilities such as a school and health centre. Its transport links also serve as a major drawing point, for example, King’s Cross is fifteen minutes away, so despite its location, people are not overly deterred by that. The East Village’s success could be attributed to the dire need for affordable housing in London, especially following the Global Financial Crisis 2007-08. Overly high housing costs have long been an issue for Londoners, and naturally the housing in the East Village, part of which was marketed to be affordable, would have been in high demand and appealing to the public. The East Village was also designed with the environment in mind, with integrated transport, green open spaces (green roofs, wetland area, fruit trees etc.) and flats that adhere to a ‘high standard of energy-efficiency and insulation’. Long-term development was taken into account as well, with plans to have 24,000 new homes built in the area by 2031.

 

Rio De Janeiro (2016)

The Rio de Janeiro Olympic Village (2016) is, as Forbes describes it, a ‘ghost town’. It was built in the West Zone of Rio, in an upper-class neighbourhood. In a way, it was similar to Newington in that it was going to be developed as luxury housing, however the developer billionaire Carlos Carvalho seemed to lack an awareness of the true amount of demand for his luxury condos. He envisioned a ‘city of the elite, of good taste’ and that ‘for this reason, it needed to be noble housing, not housing for the poor’, with prices as high as $700,000. He may have had overly-ambitious prospects for the Village, which helped cause its current vacant state. 

source:https://architectureofthegames.net/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/Rio-2016-Olympic-Village-Apartments-on-sale-in-June.jpg

The key difference here between Rio and success stories like Newington is the overall financial state of the host countries – Sydney’s economy was arguably more stable, and there was a larger demand for middle-class or luxury housing than in Rio, where there is an ever-widening gulf between the rich and poor. Had there been increased community consultation and a greater awareness of what Rio actually needed, instead of purely focusing on financial motivation, as Carvalho seemed to have done, the project may have been more successful. Another factor, as Isabel Swan states, ‘I feel the Olympic Games in Brazil were not so successful because the legacy was not the number one concern’. The economic downturn and large fiscal deficit in Brazil did not help matters, and only 240 of the 3,600 units had been sold two weeks before the opening ceremony of the Games. Even now, apparently 93% of the condos are vacant. Furthermore, the Village during the Games did not have particularly favourable reviews either, with Kitty Chiller, the Australian Olympics boss, claiming that the units were ‘unliveable’. There are notable similarities between Athens and Rio – poor economic state, poor governance and poor time management, with both countries’ venues being built in a rush.

 

Tokyo’s Future

The successful Olympic Villages have several factors in common. They tend to be built as residences to be sold to the middle to higher classes, and the environment is often a priority. The economy, in particular the real estate market of the host country, also tends to be stable. Furthermore, if the host country is developed, this improves its chances on developing the Village aptly as there is a larger probability that they would have the funds to sustain this, especially since the opportunity cost of them hosting the Games in general is lower as they would likely already have most of the infrastructure required.

The Tokyo Village has already received favourable reviews from athletes on prominent news and social media platforms, enhancing its image for prospective buyers even more. Private developers would be responsible for ‘specific aspects’ of development due to their ‘capabilities and know-how’ to turn the former Village into a ‘new and convenient community where a diverse range of people live and interact with ease and comfort’ under a public-private partnership. Looking back at previous Olympic Villages starting from Athens, the successful cases tend to have some amount of private involvement. 

Housing Plans: https://www.2020games.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/modelplan_e.pdf

Source: https://news.panasonic.com/global/stories/2019/71599.html

Furthermore, it appears that the development has been carefully planned out with long-term environmental goals in mind, similar to the successful cases of Olympic Village development – as stated on the website, they hope to ‘prepare an environment that will be passed down to the next generation’. Although not permanent, the viral cardboard beds that the athletes slept on is already an indicator that sustainability is a prominent element of this year’s Village. Environmental stability is an attractive element for prospective buyers and could increase the property’s value.  Moreover, developers plan to install a hydrogen energy system and to use AI to forecast power demand, conserving energy. A ‘real forest’ is also in the works, and Harumi Flag hopes to create an ecosystem, complete with a hybrid irrigation waterscape and animals. The website continues to outline the effort being put into the design and redevelopment of the area, for example noting that the skyline would create a ‘rhythmic silhouette’ (translated), and outlining careful details such as light controls for ambience, non-slip pavements and more. These design details hint at the in-depth and long-term planning being put into Harumi Flag, which is a good sign for the future. 

During Phase 1 of sales to the public in May 2019, where 600 flats were released, there were already 7 applications for every flat released. In July 2019, more than 2,000 applications were made for the further 900 flats put on sale as well. Although sales were halted due to the pandemic, they are expected to resume following the Olympics this autumn. Whether or not demand would remain as significant remains to be seen, however, when looking at the state of the real estate market in Tokyo, prospects seem to be positive. Owing to Japan’s extremely low borrowing cost, there is ‘persistently high occupancy, stable and resilient rental income and attractive pricing’, says South China Morning Post, even calling Japan’s real-estate market ‘Asia’s star performer’. 

Of course, there are concerns. The lack of communication from developers to buyers about the delays due to the pandemic have led to buyers’ complaints making headlines, which may deter other prospective buyers. Market trends cannot be determined for sure either. Only time will tell, but for now, the future of the Tokyo Olympic Village certainly seems a lot more favourable than that of Athens or Rio. 

 

Reference:

  1. https://www.archdaily.com/964471/olympic-urbanism-the-afterlife-of-olympic-parks-and-stadiums
  2. https://resources.realestate.co.jp/news/demand-soars-for-tokyo-2020-olympic-village-apartments-to-be-repurposed-as-private-condominiums/
  3. https://www.flat-chat.com.au/olympic-village/
  4. https://www.flat-chat.com.au/olympic-village/
  5. https://www.rfi.fr/en/economy/20150705-struggling-survive-greeces-olympic-villagers-face-referendum-choice
  6. https://www.realestate.com.au/news/olympic-villages-past-and-present/
  7. https://www.rfi.fr/en/economy/20150705-struggling-survive-greeces-olympic-villagers-face-referendum-choice
  8. https://www.foxsports.com.au/olympics/worst-athletes-villages-in-games-history-amid-concerns-over-rio-2016-accommodation/news-story/335ff29947f742d1765354f62c33f11a
  9. https://www.realestate.com.au/news/olympic-villages-past-and-present/
  10. www.jstor.org/stable/42857457
  11. https://medium.com/@toby.lr/beijings-2008-olympic-developments-8-years-later-3f45a95d1171
  12. https://www.realestate.com.au/news/olympic-villages-past-and-present/
  13. http://www.asiabusinesscouncil.org/docs/BEE/GBCS/GBCS_OlympicVillage.pdf
  14. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/161451058.pdf
  15. https://www.chinadaily.com.cn/olympics/2008-09/12/content_7023975.htm
  16. https://core.ac.uk/download/pdf/161451058.pdf
  17. https://www.archdaily.com/964471/olympic-urbanism-the-afterlife-of-olympic-parks-and-stadiums
  18. https://www.forbes.com/sites/bisnow/2017/07/25/five-years-on-londons-olympic-real-estate-legacy-is-a-clear-winner/?sh=70049cc81364
  19. https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2012/jan/08/athletes-village-olympics-2012-architecture
  20. https://www.internetgeography.net/topics/sustainable-urban-living-east-village/
  21. https://inhabitgroup.com/project/east-village-london-e20/
  22. https://www.forbes.com/sites/keithflamer/2017/02/28/the-olympic-shames-rio-and-athens-sports-venues-abandoned/?sh=12cbe762ca0c
  23. http://www.phantom-urbanism.com/rio-de-janeiro-olympic-village.html
  24. https://www.bbc.com/sport/olympics/39323546
  25. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7864/j.ctt1vjqnp9.13?seq=16#metadata_info_tab_contents
  26. https://www.realestate.com.au/news/olympic-villages-past-and-present/
  27. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7864/j.ctt1vjqnp9.13?seq=16#metadata_info_tab_contents
  28. https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7864/j.ctt1vjqnp9.13?seq=26#metadata_info_tab_contents
  29. https://www.2020games.metro.tokyo.lg.jp/eng/taikaijyunbi/torikumi/facility/sensyu/modelplan/index.html
  30. https://www.31sumai.com/mfr/X1604/#!/article/19
  31. https://resources.realestate.co.jp/news/demand-soars-for-tokyo-2020-olympic-village-apartments-to-be-repurposed-as-private-condominiums/
  32. https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/03/c86c71dab2d5-athletes-village-condo-buyers-fret-after-tokyo-olympics-delay.html?phrase=14%&words=
  33. https://japanpropertycentral.com/tag/harumi-flag/

Another “Wake Up Call” for Building Maintenance

The maintenance issue is always a big topic for discussion all over the world. Although many engineers and specialists have given their point of view to show the importance of building maintenance, people always neglect the inspection report and not taking it seriously. Here is another “Wake Up Call” for us with the accident in Florida condo Collapse.

According to command7, it states that why a lot of facility managers react to problems as opposed to being proactive. It’s not hard to see why—with all of the pressure that there is to save money wherever possible, maintenance can often take a back seat to more immediate concerns. The problem is that waiting until something is broken to fix it is possibly cheaper in the short term, but can lead to an expensive surprise later on. Source: https://command7.com/importance-building-repair-maintenance-services/

Also from Ivor H. Seeley in his book” Building Maintenance” states that the building maintenance issue is being neglected.

“Major Structural Damage” in Champlain Towers

Source: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2021/jun/25/miami-condo-collapse-what-happened-latest

According to The Washington Post, an engineer warned in October 2018 that he had discovered “major structural damage” to a concrete slab below the pool deck in the section of the Champlain Towers South condominium building that collapsed Thursday, killing at least four and leaving scores trapped, according to records released by local authorities late Friday.

 

Source: Structural Field Survey Report – https://www.townofsurfsidefl.gov/docs/default-source/default-document-library/town-clerk-documents/champlain-towers-south-public-records/8777-collins-ave—structural-field-survey-report.pdf?sfvrsn=882a1194_2

Source: https://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/miami-dade/miami-beach/article252421658.html

Kit Miyamoto, a veteran Los Angeles-based structural engineer who specializes in structural resilience, said that a pillar or column supporting the building appeared to have failed. Corrosion by the salty air or a “differential settlement,” meaning differences between how sides of the building were sitting on the land, could have caused a pillar to collapse, he said.

“This is truly a classic failure of a column,” said Miyamoto, chief executive of Miyamoto International, a global earthquake and structural engineering firm. “It was supporting many stories and that’s why it happened very suddenly.”

Source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/champlain-towers-south-surfside/2021/06/26/a509519a-d5de-11eb-a53a-3b5450fdca7a_story.html?utm_campaign=wp_post_most&utm_medium=email&utm_source=newsletter&wpisrc=nl_most&carta-url=https%3A%2F%2Fs2.washingtonpost.com%2Fcar-ln-tr%2F34057fa%2F60d74d179d2fda8060e92572%2F596bd281ae7e8a44e7de95cc%2F11%2F72%2F60d74d179d2fda8060e92572

A ” Better Way” to understand the building condition

In GBE, we use the new technology to show our findings during the inspection in order to make our clients understand more about their unit or property condition. After the inspection, it always needs to act fast for repairing and maintenance for keeping the property in a good condition. Here are some examples of how GBE perform our findings in our inspection through Matterport.

Drone inspection Paradox – Speaking from Professional

Drone application in the view from Professional Surveyor 

As drone technology, or Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) , becomes increasingly mature and commercialized, the real estate industry has jumped at its potential for building inspection. 

Use of Drone in Construction field / inspection 

Drone technology contributes to the construction field in several ways. It can be used to capture a full picture and provide a solid understanding of the site. It can help in constructing a progress model that assists in monitoring construction process with ease. 

Theory Vs Practical and Professional 

In theory, it is an elegant solution that allows inspection to be carried out on areas that are hard to access. In addition, some IT Engineer alleged that an accurate diagnosis of the building could be be exponentially enhanced by AI. Though, we have had a lot of reservation to this AI application theoretically. However, the actual application of drone technology in building inspection can be less than optimal and costlier than previously believed. Aside from all the hype, it may not stack up against other alternative building inspection technologies and methods.

Professional Surveyor Feedback to Drone application

While UAV can reach areas that are difficult to reach, they have their own physical limitations in professional building surveying. 

Physical Limitations includes:

Hardware Limitations 

  1. UAV has a general altitude limitation of 90m and the image pixel is limited at 1084-2k in most models. The image via the controller is usually compressed for storage, at an even lower resolution. For some inspection which demands close visual inspection, such as sealant shape, cracks on the wall, damp patches mark, deformation of materials, rusty stain etc. The image captured are lust loss and become unreliable. 

Glare from the reflective surface 

  1. Drone operation is heavily dependent on weather conditions. Sunlight can cause glare on reflective surfaces, rendering footage and image unusable. Should there is strong reflective sunlight, the image becomes glared with distorted illusion background . 

Insufficient data for thousand type of variation to build machine learning

  1. AI diagnosis for building inspection is often mentioned as a feature together with drones. AI is built on top of a massive database that promises diagnosis and predictive ability. However, buildings vary by many elements, such as building envelope, height, location, profile, and usage. Furthermore, buildings are dictated by regulations as a product of the location, weather and idiosyncratic factors. There simply isn’t enough data available to power AI to be a blanket solution to building inspection. Currently, professional knowledge is still essential to interpret information generated by AI.

Safety and Lack of Standardization 

  1. There are designated No Fly Zones due to congested buildings, privacy, securities, etc. In addition drones application is not standardized for UAV inspection deliverables. One very rare known limitation is the safety distance between the building and the drone, many drone model is designed to be in hold position when the drone intervenes into the safety distance. This distance makes the image captured ability be doubtful.  

Form over substance

Professional Knowledge is indispensable and cannot be replaced by UAV or AI currently. Having said that, drones can assist Surveyor in capturing images, reference pictures and preliminary scans prior to on-site survey. Unfortunately, it may upset the Surveyor owning to the image reliability. 

Drone application and 360 Cam

Our feed previously posted has presented the 360 Cam for capturing in centimetre distance to the external wall. The image is sent via data to the mobile phone. The inspector can inspect the physical object with the immediate aid of 360 image .

 

Be a smart user to technology 

Always be handy to the technology can advance your professional skill. On the contrary, too much fantasy to the technology will be ended with effort abortive

Building Information Modelling (BIM)

BIM is not new to the architecture, engineering and construction industry, it is a process that takes advantage of design technology to create better, faster, and more cost-effective outcomes. From 2018 to 2020, the adoption rate have surged by over 30% in Hong Kong, so it is the time for us to learn what is BIM and why so many companies adopt BIM.

BIM in Hong Kong: https://www.bim.cic.hk/Upload/publication/87/download_2/b55a28ce365e436292cf0e5de923b09e.pdf

BIM in construction: http://www.convertbim.com/succeed-implementing-bim-process-part-2/

What is BIM?

BIM is not software, but a process. Software is the technological core of BIM, which supports 3D design, intelligent models and information management, but it only represent part of BIM. Another part is social components, including the work practice that utilize software collaboration and coordination. Therefore, BIM represent the process to construct a digital information model for a building.

Common Software for BIM: https://veracityconsultant.com.tw/what-is-bim

BIM is so much more than a design tool, within a BIM process, a project team contribute information and data about a proposed building in a shared digital space. The digital information contributed could include specifications, schedules, performance, requirements, programmes, cost plans, and so on, and of course some drawings. Those drawings are created in 3D, while the non-graphical information is linked to the graphical 3D models, when you explore and click on different parts of the 3D representation, you’ll be able to access the information about it. Clicking on a light for example might give you information on its manufacturer, cost, performance level and when it will need replacing. Hence, BIM is not only for architects, but for all parties that involves in construction.

How to contribute information to BIM: https://www.a2kstore.com/understanding-levels-of-bim

Information linked in BIM: https://www.thenbs.com/knowledge/what-is-building-information-modelling-bim

Why Use BIM?

Executive Director Building Information Management at National Institute of Building Science suggest that BIM cut construction cost by 13% to 20%. A study from the Stanford University Centre for Integrated Facilities Engineering suggested that BIM attribute a 7% reduction in time for project completion.

Construction cost reduce 20%

Construction time reduce 7%

 

In the traditional way of construction, project information is not used efficiently, much information is wasted due to mistrust, do not know what information is available, lack of process and standards as well as information not yet complete. According to the research from U.S. Department of Commerce Technology Administration, in traditional method of construction, the poor use of data coupled with highly fragmented teams cost the US capital facilities industry $15.8 billion annually, 2/3 of which is paid for by the owners. While BIM have clear guideline for information management, it clarifies how to create and share data by stating the requirement for who, when and how they provide data as well as the quality check to be undertaken to ensure accurate data. BIM Adoption Survey 2019 conducted by HK CIC found that near 90% of BIM Leaders in Hong Kong agree BIM enhance communication.

Huge cost for information misuse: https://damassets.autodesk.net/content/dam/autodesk/www/solutions/bim/BIM_for_Owners.pdf

BIM enhance communication

Worse still, 30% of the construction cost in U.S. is paid for rework, for example, the air conditioning duct is designed to go through a load-bearing walls. But since this arrangement only appears in the air conditioning plan, construction workers do not realize it until the load-bearing walls has already been built, they can only change the design in the construction site. From the MacLeamy curve, we understand that the project becomes more costly to change when it is in later stages. A study from the Stanford University Centre for Integrated Facilities Engineering reports that the function of clash detections in BIM resulting in savings of as much as 10% of the contract value.

MacLeamy curve: https://www.cibsejournal.com/cpd/modules/2016-12-bim/

Reduce Rework

Based on the research from U.S. Department of Commerce Technology Administration, in traditional way of construction, more than 60% of the capital invested failed to meet schedule target. For example, in traditional method, cost estimating requires Quantity Surveyors to count components one by one, while BIM software can count itself. A study from the Stanford University Centre for Integrated Facilities Engineering suggested that BIM decrease 80% in the time required to generate an expenditure quote. BIM Adoption Survey 2019 conducted by HK CIC found that over 80% of BIM leader agree BIM enhance time management.

Time and Cost Estimation in BIM: https://clouda2k.co.uk/entering-the-5th-dimension-3d-bim-to-5d-bim/

BIM enhance time management

GBE welcomes comments from professionals and enquiries from the Public.

Hand-free Toilet

In the week between May 7th and 15th, 867 COVID-19 infections were found in Thailand Simmummuang fruit and vegetable market. Health investigators in Thailand identified the entrance of the public toilet as the suspected source of most infections. This rises our concern on the infection possibility of public toilets in Hong Kong.

Simmummuang fruit and vegetable market: https://www.bastillepost.com/hongkong/article/8489819-%e6%b3%b0%e8%a1%97%e5%b8%82%e7%88%86867%e4%ba%ba%e6%96%b0%e5%86%a0%e7%a2%ba%e8%a8%ba-%e5%8e%9f%e5%85%87%e7%ab%9f%e6%98%af%e5%85%ac%e5%bb%81

Transmission Route in Public Toilets

According to Joseph Allen, associate professor at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, public toilets can be an important source of COVID-19 spread. The major way of spread are flushing and touching.

When toilet water contains viruses and bacteria, the churning and bubbling of water creates particles that will float in the air. These  viruses and bacteria will spread around the toilet, linger in the air and settle onto surfaces in the toilet. COVID-19 can survive in the air for 3 hours and even up to 24 hours in paper. Hence, the possible transmission route are people breathing in viruses when flushing and people touch installations in the toilets which viruses and bacteria settled.

COVID-19 in toilets: https://specialty.mims.com/topic/covid-19-in-hospitals–toilets–staff–public-areas-show-contamination-

Ways to Prevent Infection in Public Toilets

In Hong Kong, the most common way to prevent infection in public toilets are wearing mask, wash hands after using the toilet and increase disinfecting arrangements. Nonetheless, these precautions still remain some loopholes in our dense against COVID-19. One common example is after washing hands, people still need to hold the door handle and open the door. If there are some viruses settled on the door handle before, the people will also get in touch with the viruses and may get infected if he or she then touch his or her mouth, nose or eyes. This example is just a tip of an iceberg, in public toilets, not only we need to touch door handles, but also push button toilet flush, faucet handle, soap dispenser handle, etc.. The more we touch, the higher the possibility that we are infected.

Touching doors in toilets: https://health.ucdavis.edu/coronavirus/covid-19-information/coronavirus-mistakes.html

Touching Flush Button: https://www.pbs.org/newshour/health/public-bathrooms-carry-coronavirus-risks-heres-how-to-be-careful

To close up the loopholes, the best ways is to reduce the amount of viruses and bacteria spreading from flushing and minimize the need of touching in public toilets.

Reduce Viruses from Flushing

People no need to touch the toilet lid, the lid will automatically opens and closes when nearing or leaving the toilet. Therefore, even when people forget to close the toilet lid, the auto open/close lid will close the lid and reduce the amount of viruses and bacteria spreading.

Minimize the need for Touching

Although closing the toilet lid will reduce the amount of bacteria and viruses comes from flushing, there are still risk of getting infected in public toilets as it cannot minimize the amount of bacteria and viruses to 0. As a result, another effective precaution will be minimize the need for touching in public toilet, that is, to update a traditional toilet into a hand-free toilet. Here are the lists of installations in hand-free toilets.

  • Auto Toilet Door
  • Auto Flush Sensor
  • Auto Trash Bin
  • Auto Toilet Seat Sanitiser Dispenser
  • Auto Toilet Paper Dispenser
  • Auto Tissue Dispenser
  • Auto Soap Dispenser
  • Auto Faucet
  • Auto Door
  • Auto Hand Dryer

No ones knows when this pandemic will end, but we can try out best to minimize the possible spreading routes. Wearing mask and frequent disinfection are ways preventing viruses getting into our body, while upgrading toilets to hand-free toilets are smart ways to reduce the amount of bacteria exists in toilets. GBE will keep updating different measures to stop transmission route for the public to fight COVID-19.

GBE welcomes comments from professionals and enquiries from the Public

Cracks in Stone Cladding

Nice Stone Cladding but Danger from Height 

Stone cladding are natural, good-looking and durable, and are widely used in both interior and exterior applications. Although stones are durable, on average, you may not know that there at least is 1 to 2 % of stone panels on buildings in US (Simmons & Richter, 1993) contain cracks due to various reasons.

Example of cracks on stone cladding: http://www.service.hkpc.org/hkiemat/previous/2008/mastec03_notes/SLCHAN.PDF

Common Types of Stones

  • Granite

Most granites are suitable to be used as building materials, as they are hard, dense, durable, virtually impermeable to water, resistant to impact damage and stable within industrial environments. Because of the high cost of quarrying and finishing granite, it is frequently used as a cladding material or alternatively cast directly onto concrete cladding units. Besides, granite is also available for flooring and for hard landscaping including pavings, setts and kerbs.

Granite: https://www.minimegeology.com/granite-igneous-rock-graywhite

  • Sandstones

Natural sandstones can be fine or coarse in texture depends on the nature of the original sand deposit. Some types of sandstones, for instance, Calcareous sandstones, are not durable under acid rain.

Sandstone: https://freewp.cfsscloud.hk/idb/rs024-sandstone/

  • Limestones

Limestones must not be mixed with or located above sandstones, as this may cause rapid deterioration of the sandstone. Some limestones, for example, dolomitic limestone, is more durable then original limestone as it replace calcium carbonate content by magnesium carbonate. Nonetheless, it still cannot resistant to heavily polluted atmospheres.

Limestone: https://www.azomining.com/Article.aspx?ArticleID=1236

Effect of Cracks

The major concern of cracks development on stone slab is the weakening of fracture withstand ability on the maximum wind load of the stone panel. Another concern is that cracks may diminish much water exclusion properties of the of sealer applied on the stone surface. The effect of cracks will eventually contribute to highly undesirable appearance effect and worst still , the safety issue for instance, corrosion of anchors. Other effects includes aesthetic qualities and durability of the stone.

Stone cladding falls from the building facade: https://www.researchgate.net/figure/Examples-of-stone-slabs-removed-from-the-building-facade-a-east-side-b-south-side_fig4_336970581

Types of Cracks

  • Natural Crack

Natural cracks are formed by geologic processes in the stone before it was quarried, hence, natural cracks are most likely more than several million years old. Some natural cracks appears to be artificial cracks, so natural cracks are recognized by the presence of natural crystal. Natural cracks are ubiquitous in some granites, 1 to 2 dozen may occur within an area of one square foot. When liquid, for instance, sea water and rain, makes its way through the clefts and dispense minerals into the crack, crystals formed. Although natural cracks are common in stones, not all of them weaken the stone, only some severely decrease the strength of stone.

Natural cracks: https://www.123rf.com/photo_98560883_red-granite-slab-with-a-deep-crack-natural-stone-texture.html

Natural crystal in natural cracks: https://tinyrituals.co/blogs/tiny-rituals/pyrite-meaning-healing-properties-everyday-uses

  • Exacerbated Natural Crack

Exacerbated natural cracks are natural cracks that have been widened or lengthened by non-geologic activities. They are recognized by its width and length exceeding the value expected for a natural crack.

  • Artificial Crack – Crack developed other than by natural process

Artificial cracks are formed by non-geologic processes. They appeared to have sharp edges on polish face, irregular walls and do not have well developed crystal. If artificial cracks are located in or near mid-span, they can severely decrease the strength / durability of the stone panel.

Artificial Crack: https://www.cnilawfirm.com/specific-construction-components-gallery/

Professional Building Surveyor pay attention to the “Causes of Cracks”

Cracks formed when the local stress of stone is larger than the local strength. The reasons increase local stress includes geological processes, quarrying, handling, fabrication, and erection. Each kind of reasons carries a ton of knowledge behind. Besides, residual stress may also be a major factor in the development of cracks, source of residual stress includes handling, fabrication, shipping, dunnage, and erection on the building. The most typical is the “erection” problem

 

  • Geological Processes

Stones experience heat and cold cycles repeatedly, in heat days, the stone expands while in cold days, the stone contract. The repeated thermal expansion stresses tend to open cracks along grain boundaries.

Cracks: https://www.champlainstone.com/stone-101/

  • Quarrying Process – Fine flaw hidden in the slab block 

stone can be damaged in the quarry if it is extracted by the use of explosives which may cause internal fractures and cracks.

 

  • Handling and Fabrication

damage can be caused by excessive tooling of the surface of the stone, it may cause hairline cracks.

 

  • Dry fixing / erection

If the workmanship or the installation of the stone cladding is too not strictly controlled, mal-anchorage may cause the hairline cracks will be easily found near the anchor point.

  • Shipping – Storage of inventory 

Granite slab should avoid being carried flat . The localised stress building up due to unduly surface may cause hairline granite crack. Examine the stone finishes before hanging on the wall is highly important

  • Dunnage

Dunnage is used to protect stones during shipping, if unsuitable material are used, for example, softwood, the stone may slide around and form cracks or damage.

 

Quality Control before Installation

Before installation, materials should be inspected according to the construction quality acceptance specifications and design requirements, for example, have factory certificate, inspection report, material mechanical properties test and stone radioactivity. On site witness sampling and sampling inspection can also be conducted. The variety, color, pattern, flexural strength, tensile strength, compressive strength and common defects of the stone tile should be checked.

Inspection

 Inspection Method Related Defects
Crack Meter/ Crack Comparing Device/ Optimal Measuring Device, Mechanical Extensometer Fracture, Cracking, Cracking or fracture of the stone element near the joints
Cladding Flatness and Slope Evaluation Vegetation, loosening of the stone element, non-linearity or inadequate dimensions of the joints, cracking or fracture of the stone elements near the joints
Measurement of Internal Humidity Level Biological Colonization, alteration or deposition, cracking or fracture of the stone element near the joints
Percussion Test

 

Loss of adherence of the stone element, flatness flaws of the cladding surface, Gap in the stone

 

Cladding Flatness and Slope Evaluation: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00170-019-04893-7?shared-article-renderer

 

Tapping rod for percussion test: https://shopee.com.my/TAPPING-ROD-MOSAIC-TESTER-TILE-TESTER-TILE-CHECK-EXTENDABLE-HOLLOW-WALL-HAMMER-CHECKER-HOLLOW-EXAMINER-TILES-CHECKING-i.53165988.1957429999

Maintenance – Cleaning

External granite and marble cladding require regular washing with a mild detergent solution. For example, highly polished external marble should be washed at least twice per year to prevent permanent dulling of the surface.

Cleaning: https://www.industrial-clean.co.uk/services/brick-and-stone-cleaning/

 

In short, although stones are durable, regular inspection and maintenance are required to identity the effect of cracks one by one and to distinguish whether maintenance is required.

GBE welcomes comments from professionals and enquiries from the Public

 

References

Simmons G., Richter D. Cracks in building stone. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences & Geomechanics Abstracts, 1993, 30(7): 1553-1557.