DESIGN consultants have been chosen to engineer two massive harbour reclamation schemes despite calls for a temporary halt on further awards until legislators debate the reclamation issue. Government engineers confirmed Scott Wilson Kirkpatrick Hong Kong has beaten three other firms to carry out a feasibility study to reclaim about 40 hectares at Kowloon Point. The reclamation cost is estimated at $1.36 billion. Keith Austin, project manager in the Territory Development Department's Kowloon office, said the multi-million contract would be signed in the next two weeks. 'Work will start on August 16,' he said. Working with Scott Wilson will be traffic consultant MVA Asia and environmental firm ERM. The consortium submitted the best technical and financial proposal. Rival offers were made by Atkins Haswell, Mott Connell and Pypun/ Rendel Palmer & Tritton. The 15-month investigation will suggest the optimum method to complete the West Kowloon Reclamation from Yau Ma Tei and taking in Ocean Terminal and the Star Ferry terminal. Mr Austin said consultants would be chosen in September to study the southeast Kowloon reclamation where 300 hectares of land would be formed as part of a plan to redevelop Kai Tak airport. Consultant Atkins Haswell has shocked the engineering industry by agreeing to do a pre-project feasibility study for free. The report, for the second phase of the Wan Chai reclamation project, is believed to be costing the firm more than $500,000 to produce. Atkins Haswell was in competition with Pypun and Maunsell Consultants (Asia) which submitted bids of up to $1 million to the Territory Development Department. The scheme will provide 52 hectares from Fenwick Pier near Admiralty to the Royal Hong Kong Yacht Club at Kellett Island and the Causeway Bay typhoon shelter. The estimated cost of reclamation is more than $3 billion because it includes the Central-Wan Chai bypass and the two cross-harbour road and rail tunnels. These tunnel works are particularly tricky because consultants have to design a special system of columns and beams to keep the weight of the fill material off the roof of both cross-harbour links. Engineering sources said the Atkins offer was being made as a loss leader with the hope of winning related design work in the future. 'The report will dictate how future feasibility and design studies are produced. Atkins has clearly taken a commercial decision to spend $500,000 of its own money now with the hope of winning much more work on the project,' said a director of a rival firm. Pypun and Maunsell is said to be unhappy with the situation, but there is little it can do now the TDD has accepted the offer. Nobody at Atkins Haswell was prepared to comment. Managing director Rodney Collins did not return telephone calls. TDD Hong Kong Island project manager Andrew Pang Ho-che said the Atkins report would be submitted in about a month. On Wednesday an alliance of legislators, town-planning board members and green groups proposed a harbour protection bill and a Save the Harbour Campaign to protect the seaway from further reclamation. The bill will be presented in the autumn session of the Legislative Council, and its backers want the Government to halt further design awards until the proposal is debated.