GBE has been invited be the teammates in this wonderful and exciting project. This certainly is such a great experience to work with the professional in worldwide basis .
SCMP – 06TH JUNE 2022 – PAGE A5
The news today in SCMP referred . The HKSTP has confirmed failed to take reasonable step for controlling the lessee from sub-letting to 2nd or third tier of leasee. For us, it was not surprised , when we firstly highlighted the issue of mini-storage , shared office , co-working space which are all featured with 3rd tier of leasee in the lease structure, we have made notice to the issue about subletting down drifting the lease structure. Honestly, this kind of issue won’t be materialistic in private property like many in urban area, but it becomes profoundly sharp in the organisation such as HKSTP or probably other similar organisation which are duty-bound to some mission pushed forward by Government. To exemplify, we foresee the place such as West Kowloon Cultural area, Cyber port , Productive council ,…. may be in the rader.
More to discuss later
Great news to our industry. We have successfully extended our professional foot-print to Australia market. With the BIM technology backup and the Professional Knowledge, the residential projects has been accelerated from ground works, drainage works and now to timber structure. We are now in the process of window frame installation , which is posited in the cavity wall.
The land administration system there is alike to other commonwealth countries , where GBE has rided on similar system in UK. The country of the sub-urban took lead on the development control and impose the development constraint varying to the prevailing policy. They pose heavy emphasis to waste management , vehicles control and water supply system. Thus, when we entered into the Building permit stage, all the prerequisite requirement must meet the schematic approval .
The picture below is the ground sub-structure together with the drainage downpipe. The 2nd picture is the erection of the timber structure in pre-designed lattice form. To attain the insulation performance, cavity wall will be in place.
Though we are restricted travelling these day, the advanced telecommunication and BiM Technology has taken us far digitally.
Being a Hong Kong Surveyor, we are glad to participate in one small scale development project in Australia, a market where experienced a lot of upsurging in last 2 years.
From the professional perspective , the planning control there is highly similar to what we have practicing in Hong Kong . Indeed, the planning condition from local Australia Government has tightened and deepened control on both the construction details as well. The project program is usually short given the construction complexity is lower , but the distorted global supply chain and the shortage of labour there are hitting the progress.
Like Hong Kong and UK, there are Building control after the planning permission, but the Australian government is running the private sector manning the private sector . Developer, usually the professional Builder, will deploy the Building Surveyor to check and sign off the plan. Given the honest system, and accountability of the Surveyor upheld, there are usually sometime a conflicting view between the Builder’s and Surveyors. Well, a water running under the bridge at the end.
My office is glad to be the surveyor from Hong Kong to oversee the entire development. We have applied the latest BiM to showcase the design, progress and program. Though we were restricted going there , we mastered the entire progress at this moment. Good luck to us
(Sorry for all not be able to disclose more under NDA)
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:
Glare from the reflective surface
Insufficient data for thousand type of variation to build machine learning
Safety and Lack of Standardization
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
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
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-
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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 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 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/
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
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.
stone can be damaged in the quarry if it is extracted by the use of explosives which may cause internal fractures and cracks.
damage can be caused by excessive tooling of the surface of the stone, it may cause hairline cracks.
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.
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 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.
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 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|
|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
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.
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
Simmons G., Richter D. Cracks in building stone. International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences & Geomechanics Abstracts, 1993, 30(7): 1553-1557.
Again , again and again, the water seepage investigation demands a highly complex analysis to both in-situ environment and desk study. The case presented here has been left unresolved over 2 years before GBE was called on board and finally took the issue to the end.
The annoying water dripping in middle of living area.
The building is a 4 storey house. It is generally deemed a luxury town house in Hong Kong. A water damp appeared on the ceiling of ground level where is the living area for family gathering. The damp worsened onward and started water dripping everytime the heavy rainfall happened. The seepage spot is about 8m away from the external wall. It became very misery where the water came.
Don’t undermine the importance of desk study
Having reviewed the layout plan, structural plan, decoration record photos and some maintenance history, we have considered a few possible sources which might be attributed to the water seepage. Following with the desk study, we took the site inspection firstly to verify the information obtained from desk study, to survey any other information which were not found in desk study. This really demanded a lot of professional call because those items outside the desk study were also very tricky.
Patient is important – Elimination Method with “Right” Testing
With reference to many literature , the way to identify the water seepage sources is “Elimination”. We have to establish the few possible sources and apply the “Right” testing to verify the assumption. This needs some experience together with the professional judgement. Sometimes , the site condition can render some cues for this judgement. In this case , we have done the survey to window , external wall, roof and some interior fitting out. The condition of window suggested its good and fair condition while the rain outlet at the roof and the skirting at the roof have found not properly done. We thus started the pooling test to the roof.
Judgement Call for the possible seepage path
With the aid of fluorescent liquid, the pool of liquid is prepared and stayed for 48 hours. Followed to this , we then applied the UV torch for tracing the “possible path” . Again, the “possible path” demanded a lot of imagination , but we found the cues in the record photos. We found that the conduit were laid in the recessed chase formed on the floor level. It could be pathway for water running.
We found the seepage and fix it
The impact of Fire Safety Code in Hong Kong
The fire safety code has experienced a few rounds of reform. The most influential reform we opined was the code published in 1996 and also the code in 2011. While there are many honorable peers have shared the view to both code applicable in Hong Kong, GBE found one interesting HK-unique escape staircase arrangement which have been prevailing in 2 decades ago. This the verandah space intercepting between the apartment units and the requirement staircase (usually scissor-type)
Verandah Space being merged
This verandah space was a space designed in half-open to the external air. The space is connecting between the staircase and the apartment unit through the fire-rated doors. Driven by congested space in Hong Kong, some verandah, in this case, has been enclosed by the window and merged to the apartment units. This was deemed to be against the fire safety code or approved plan.
GBP for showing the Typical location of the verandah in a domestic unit
The Provision of HK CAP 502
In 2007, the HONG KONG CAP 572 Fire Safety (Buildings) Ordinance has been put into enforcement. The “Purpose Of Ordinance” is cited in clause 2 of Cap 572 and We copied here as follows.
This ordinance is aimed to provide protection from the risk of fire of occupants, users, and visitors to certain kinds of composite buildings and domestic buildings.
The law further explains the requirements including fire service installation and equipment and fire safety construction for different kinds of buildings in its Schedule 1 , 2, and 3 correspondingly. The governing requirements stated clearly is to apply the Code 1996 as the “standard” to satisfy the intention of this Ordinance. Thus, the said “Verandah” enclosure or modification is likely in this radar.
What did Code in 1996 talk about the “Verandah”
In our view, there was no direct elaboration to the “veranda” being designed for the intercepting lobby between the required staircase and the unit. From the MOE code 1996 and FRC 1996, there was a few relevant paragraphs which came up eventually the “veranda” application as a protected lobby. Since the author was not the Code writer nor in an authoritative position to comment, this blog of write-up serves to trigger some interesting discussion.
The provision of the “Protection” lobby was written in clause 13.5 in MOE 1996 and the design of “Protection lobby” was explained in 11.3 FRC 1996. Nevertheless, the enclosing wall of the Protected lobby was further explained in clause 11.7. Honestly, it was a complex integration of different clauses at different code and could easily lead to various explanation outcomes. This undesirable situation such complex set of codes has been improved in lately 2011 code.
The interpretations of Protected Lobby stated in MOE 1996 Code
The design of “Required staircase and protected lobby” was explained in Clause 11.3 at FRC 1996 Code
The Clause 13.5 in MOE 1996 Code
Indeed, the old 1996 code has remarked very clearly in clause 13.5 MOE 1996 code that “such lobby shall be designed as a common area and an integral part of the staircase so that it could not be readily incorporated as part of any adjacent unit(s) of accommodation” The 1996 code did aware the issue of merging the protection lobby to the private unit. Nevertheless, the complex nature of the set of codes 1996 which led to different explanations may undermine the intention in clause 13.5.
Plan for demonstrating the Verandah between the required staircase and the apartment
Above is another example where the “Veranda” was inserted between the escape staircase and the apartment. Interestingly, the kitchen doors also opened to the verandah. It was believed that this layout configuration is hardly survivable in today’s Code.