Hong Kong’s construction workers can now cool off with new uniform design

Latest version made in city boosts protection against ultraviolet rays, breathability and rate of evaporation of sweat

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 07 September, 2016, 6:18pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 07 September, 2016, 6:20pm

An award-winning uniform designed and manufactured in Hong Kong can help the city’s more than 300,000 construction workers beat the heat and humidity during the hot summer months.

The Construction Industry Council, in collaboration with the Polytechnic University, has officially launched the second generation of the uniform for construction workers, which enhances ultraviolet protection, and allows for better breathability and a faster evaporation rate of sweat.

Professor Albert Chan Ping-chuen, head of the Department of Building and Real Estate at Polytechnic University, explained that after testing 30 types of fabric, the research team selected Coolmax, a type of synthetic polyester fibre with good moisture-wicking capabilities.

Unemployment in Hong Kong’s construction sector down

But the biggest change was its look, with the polo shirt coming in a cool, light blue shade instead of the bright yellow seen in its previous design. Chan said the colour was found to effectively repel ultraviolet rays.

“But there was another reason for the [colour] choice – the uniform now looks smarter and more attractive. We even teamed up with PolyU’s Institute of Textiles and Clothing to fine-tune the design,” Chan added.

Both the polo shirt and the khaki pants – also made from moisture-wicking materials – can withstand around 300 washes, with a typical lifespan of about one year.

The uniform, which is designed and manufactured in the city, even won the grand prize at the annual International Exhibition of Inventions of Geneva this April, with a number of exhibitors from the Middle East and Africa expressing interest.

The construction council also streamlined procurement procedures to lower administration and storage costs, resulting in lower price tags for the apparel.

Justin Wong King-chung, projects and contracts administration manager at the council, said the local supplier was sourced from an open tender process, and orders could be filled in as fast as five days.

Deputy Secretary for Development Chan Chi-ming said relevant contract clauses will be introduced in future government projects to encourage the use of the uniforms, although there were no plans to phase out the existing ones as it would create wastage.