Part 1 : Coating materials for Aluminium cladding – Non-Combustibility

From natural anodisation technique to PVF2 coating technique , the aluminium finishing coating has undergone a lot of revolutionary advancement. In recent years, there came with the discussion about “Self-cleaning” of the aluminium coating surface. This is about the coating materials which gives effect to flush its’ surface every time in raining. “Self-cleaning” is indeed a merchants’ name . The behind sciences are varying from among different manufacturer.I have conducted some comparison among some cladding’s surfaces being applied to different “treatment” allegedly claim the self-cleaning properties.  In my small research , some coatings are sheet- applied on the surface of anodised aluminium cladding. Unfortunately, my research (limited online data searching) cannot conclude sheeting-applied one was made up compilable to the Section E clause 10.1 of FS code or as per the BS476 -part 4. Well, many peers have messed up the concept of BS476 – PART 6 / PART 7 which is about spread of fire to BS476 – part 4 which is non-combustibility .


There are some testing to confirm “non-combustibility”. The FS code of Hong Kong does a job to cite a reference table E1 to facilitate the conversion between BS and European standard . There are many building in Hong Kong are cladded with aluminium-panel externally , but the lack of attention is paid to its “non-combustibility” requirement. Example like “self-cleaning” sheet lining or coating or spray-paint applied materials and even the fire – ratardard which are applied on external architectural features. The add-on materials on top of the aluminium are sometimes commercially attractive in term of ease of application and its price but to the sacrifice of fire safety.

Fire accident in Grefell Tower, London

Photo : Wing On building in Sheung Wan was reported to have cladded with non-combustible cladding. Source from ejinsight on the pulse (

In my next blog , I shall explain in details the “self-cleaning” being applied in aluminium cladding.


“Loose of Neutral” in Electrical Circuit in traditional expensive residential apartment

The night scene of Hong Kong is always representing the prosperity and the stunning pictorial attraction for many people . The backdrop of the night scenery is the densely packed high-rise buildings being lit up.

With the air-conditioning became introduced in Hong Kong , some traditional luxury residential development was designed with 3 phases supply to cope with the loading consumption

Effect of Neutral Loss and Over-heat

The 3-phased live wiring is pairing with the neutral wire. The power runs into your apartment through “live” and return through “neutral . There is a defect called “nentral loose” which means the neutral wire loose contact or in bad connection. If there is “neutral loose” , that may be caused by various reasons, there will be abnormal arcing around the point of connection, a flash phenomena or spake fire will be occurred from time to time to heat up the already loose connection point and adversely causing unpredictable loading of electric current passing through the entire circuit. This circuit connects the load side appliance such as air-conditioners, the electronic parts or protection fuses of these electrical appliances may be damaged.

Inspection by Infra-red scanning and WR 2 checking

Unfortunately, it was not always detectable the abnormal heat up around the connection point . I prefer to adopt the infrared thermography scanning technique in my project or my inspection. However, the electrician today prefer to do by visual inspection which in my view may be subjective in some occasion. Our in-house infra-red is E4 model from FLIR. This is not the latest model, but still fit to our general routine checking.




Acoustic performance in Curtain Wall

Curtain wall system is such a complex external envelope of the building . It is more than an enclosure but also to serve to reduce heat gain and sound proof. The evaluation of  heat gain is commonly considered by the amount thermal transfer in the energy unit. Nevertheless , lesser attention is given to the acoustic consideration . Thank to my friend Dr Man and our peers Lixil who shares me one table. The airborne acoustic reduction is considered by STC value which varies as per the glass panes composition and thickness of glass. STC is to measure the degree of decibel reduction. The reduction is further related to the hertz of sound transmission. For easy communication , each composition of glass panes will be assigned the STC value. The interesting observation is that the “laminated glass” is achieving similar STC value compared to similar glass panes thickness of “insulating glass unit”. Furthermore , A 12mm thick single panes can achieve similar STC value to 6+12+6 insulating glass unit. Indeed, there are more consideration to the curtain wall acoustic including the impact-borne sound transmission caused by impact to the mullion or transom . Sometimes, the provision of the noise barrier or the provision of the balcony projecting out from the external facade can help to reflect the unwanted sound such as traffic away.


Coring the rock stratum engineering our pile foundation

Site investigation is a term to cover a lot of aspect about the site. For the Engineer in construction site, it means the process to find out the soil and rock condition. From the project management perspective, we see the most essence is whether the quality control system is working well in place . This control system involves sampling , inspection, recording and counter-check. Although the PNAP has imposed a lot of restrains in the site investigation, the entire controlling mechanism still heavily rely on the professional site staff. The sample taken will be inspected the the engineer. This inspection is to be fed back to the Designer to confirm the design assumption of piling coincide well to what happens on site. This is the feedback loop essentially important in the entire QA process.

I witness the coring process and I can say the coring of soil / rock is not a pleasant job. Sometimes, the sample was damaged in the process, sometimes, the sample was dropped in pieces. Thus , a good sampling and coring process did demand patience by labour, right machine set up, on-site engineer inspection and recording.



Revitalizing and unlock the potential in Asset

GBE <> KPDO is teammed to give a touch to turn around the simple corner becomes seductive and eye-catching art piece . Apart from aesthetic pleasure, the new architectural design regenerates the lobby and enables the vertical transportation to the podium levels. The capex and the technical-know-how are low and simple, but the magical effects is profoundly sharp.

Technical Consideration to Residential units in UK

Real estate development in UK Great Britain.We have recently received a lot of inquiries regarding the UK residential market. Putting aside valuation and rental income for a moment, there are many technical considerations involved when dealing in the UK residential market. On a high level, the HK and UK residential market can be quite similar, such as residential unit layout, headroom, room size, window provision, bathroom design, and apartment provision. Nevertheless, there are many material differences between the two markets that demand caution. For example, the concept of “area” can be confusing from the various ways it is presented, the concept of “Air Rights” similar to that in New York City, the prevalence of historical external facades that are maintained at the owner’s expense, or lifts that may not reach your floor. One interesting thing is that the elevator may not reach your preferred floor. Also , remember the judge leading the Grenfell Tower Inquiry has ruled that the cladding installed on the tower did not comply with building regulations, finding that the polyethylene-cored panels were the “primary cause” of the rapid spread of flames. It can end your building apartment life immediately

One popular way to get into the market is via pre-sale. While pre-sale activities are increasingly common, there is little to no regulation that governs these activities. Some apartments on the market for sale may not even have “planning permission”. Hence, project delivery risks are often underestimated. Meanwhile, some projects are developed in special districts, such as “Business Regeneration Zone”, which may not be well understood by most potential buyers. Moreover, agency activities involving sales of UK property in Hong Kong may not be regulated under the HK legislative framework. Overseas buyers and investors should tread carefully and with guidance from experts.


Maintenance problem from wrong “water to cement ratio” of concrete cover mix

Concrete cover is the outer concrete layer serves to protect the rebar in RC structure. Its thickness and density dictates both the protection performance and fire – resisting ability.  The extract from the research paper by Albert K.H. Kwan in Department of Civil Engineering, University of Hong Kong , the concrete cover will become much permeability to water once the “water to cement ratio” exceeds 0.4. Adversely does the high water to cement ratio happen in many concreting process in Hong Kong. To account the reason behind , it is the slump of the concrete or the workability of the concrete affects the entire concreting process. The drawback from high permeability is very obvious . The concrete cover becomes lesser defensive against the water nor air penetration . The alkaline environment around the rebar is diminished along with the carbonation due from the air pollution



Real Estate Woes in the Digital Age

Why spend time and money to travel to places to do something that can be done in the comfort of home? Many find themselves asking this question as they acclimate to staying and working from home with the virus outbreak, by both employees and business owners. Internet connectivity has allowed the comfort of residential to compete with other sectors of real estate. For technology companies, the Coronavirus may even be a blessing in disguise in the long term, allowing them to eliminate most of their office space needs and overhead costs.

Real Estate’s historical performance has perhaps enabled landlord’s complacency.

As the internet becomes increasingly accessible, the rate of digitization and technological integration across companies and industries becomes exponential. Yet real estate remains very much a lagger. Partly due to QE stemming from the previous crisis, real estate has generally enjoyed decent ROI regardless of their level of technological adoption. As a result, landlords are not incentivized to invest in technology as much as they should. The situation brought on by Covid-19 shines a harsh light on real estate’s inadequacy in connectivity. Sectors like retail are among the worst hit, whose cannibalization by e-commerce is further exacerbated by the virus. Like many industries, real estate needs to reposition itself in the “Next Normal”, and technological integration could be the key in unlocking its dormant values.





Telemedicine, among a host of various digital service, is decreasing doctors’ demand for physical space.

Over the years, numerous technologies were employed to enhance real estate’s connectivity and value, such as VR for inspection, shared economy platform in the form of Airbnb, IoT sensors for development and maintenance, monitors for customer analytics, to name a few. Nevertheless, the real challenge lies in its connectivity with the online world. Numerous online services are now replacing our traditional way of life; Zoom replacing the need for office, telemedicine replacing clinics, etc. While these online services do not completely remove the need for real estate, they are more than capable of significantly dampening demand and therefore crippling valuation.