HKCA targets safety, quality
Better safety and quality standards are among the main objectives for the Hong Kong Construction Association (HKCA) in its long-standing relationship with the Works Bureau.
The aim is to halt the appalling toll of death and injury that occurs on construction sites every year and help stop the shoddy building standards which characterised the 1960s.
'The Works Bureau demands high standards from the construction industry in terms of quality and safety,' said Patrick Chan Wing-tung, HKCA secretary-general.
'The bureau is responsible for the welfare of society at large. The projects they develop are important, not only because of the scale of the project but also the type of project is important,' he said.
He said the $155 billion airport core programme was typical of the variety of projects, both large and small, that the bureau undertook.
The 350-member HKCA, which represented international and local contractors, had built up a lasting relationship stretching over many years, starting with what was originally the Department of Public Works, Mr Chan said.
This had enabled the HKCA to advise the Government, through the bureau, on public works policy including conditions of contract, improvements in construction quality, site safety, training, standards and new techniques and technologies.
One association initiative supported by the bureau is the Green Card training system for construction workers.
Under the terms of the scheme, workers receive training relevant to their own trade. After the successful completion of these courses, workers receive a Green Card which acts as a passport for future employers, giving details of the courses and the skills obtained by the worker.
Each site must have a proportion of workers with Green Cards working on site.
To enforce this requirement, the Works Bureau had written the Green Card system into its contract conditions, Mr Chan said. Other measures included safety audits and a safety management scheme, where the bureau agreed to pay two per cent of the contract value for contractors to hold courses and buy safety equipment, including helmets.
Much of this has been done at the behest of the HKCA.
'The first safety audit was only at the beginning of the year. In mid- November, we met to review the performance of audit systems. It shows the co-operation is continuing between HKCA and the Works Bureau,' Mr Chan said.
'There has been a remarkable change in the culture of the industry towards safety. All this has happened in the space of a few years.' A considerable amount of the co- operation which exists has developed through regular meetings between representatives from the association, the bureau and its seven departments.
There is a Construction Advisory Board which discusses a wide range of topics, including housing and labour importation.