Weekend Property

Leading Hong Kong developers take rigorous steps to ensure the quality of projects before handing the keys to homebuyers

Companies such as Chinachem Group are now regularly using independent surveyors to identify any possible defects in a property before it is occupied

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 October, 2016, 11:36am
UPDATED : Friday, 28 October, 2016, 5:10pm

It’s now about quality rather than quantity for Chinachem Group, which is one of Hong Kong’s largest private developers.

The company, once owned by the late Nina Wang, is actively working to change its image to being a builder of quality projects instead of mass-market developments.

To push forward with its strategy, Chinachem, which has been into property development since the 1970s, has started hiring independent building surveyors to conduct in-depth inspections on its new property projects to ensure that every home, before delivery, has achieved a score of over 90 out of 100 points.

For example, all properties at Eden Gate and Parc Inverness, Chinachem’s two luxury residential developments in Kowloon Tong, and Jade Grove, another low-density development in Siu Lam, have achieved a score of over 90 in inspections carried out by independent surveyors.

“Nowadays, buyers are more discerning in choosing a new home. Their tolerance for defects is low. A developer’s credibility is important,” says Sunny Yeung, executive director and CEO of Chinachem Group, in an interview with Weekend Property. Yeung adds that quality means great architecture, and the use of high-quality materials.

Hong Kong’s leading developers have been hiring independent building surveyors to assess any defects and check a project’s quality before handing over the keys to a homebuyer.

Since Yeung took over the reins of the company in 2013, he worked hard to change the image of Chinachem as a mid-sized property developer.

The transformation is evident in the company’s The Papillons project, a large-scale development being built in Tseung Kwan O – and it has generated remarkable response from homebuyers.

Since it was launched for sale in late August, at least 830 units of the 857 units at The Papillons have been sold, according to Land Registry records. The project’s competitive pricing, coupled with availability of high loan-to-value (LTV) mortgages, discounts and rebates, also contributed to the impressive sales.

Nowadays, buyers are more discerning in choosing a new home. Their tolerance for defects is low
Sunny Yeung, executive director and CEO, Chinachem Group

Yeung says the company did not launch a massive publicity campaign. Instead, it relied on positive feedback from buyers. Yeung adds that comprehensive, systematic quality checks would also be carried out on homes at The Papillons to ensure that the final product would be handed over in excellent condition.

He points out that as Chinachem is owned by Chinachem Charitable Foundation, it adopts a prudent approach to its business strategy, placing an emphasis on corporate social responsibility and business ethics.

To reduce the carbon footprint, the company is working on a refurbishment and redevelopment programme on its commercial portfolio, aiming to achieve the BEAM Plus certification for existing buildings – a green building assessment and certification system tailor-made for Hong Kong.

It is also partnering with Professor Chan Lung-sang to redevelop the Nina Fossil Garden into an educational and tourist destination. When Yeung, an architect by profession, took over as CEO, he was tasked to lift the company’s image.

As part of the strategy, more resources have been devoted to architectural planning, materials selection and the construction process as it seeks to build higher-quality homes and enhance sustainability.

Wong & Ouyang, one of Hong Kong’s leading architectural and engineering practices, was commissioned to design the plans for some of its projects, including The Papillons.

Gammon Construction was also brought in earlier this year to carry out the construction works of the Tseung Kwan O project. Eco-friendly construction practices, such as using aluminium formwork to replace traditional timber formwork for the tower structure, was used to reduce construction waste.

Further down the pipeline, Chinachem is planning to introduce 11 luxury houses at Pik Sha Road and three other detached houses at Serenity Path, all in Sai Kung, later this year. Some stock units at Eden Gate in Kowloon Tong, The Golden Gate in Tai Po, and Redhill Peninsula on the south side are also available for sale.

Nathan Lee, chairman of building surveying, project management and environmental professional group of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, Hong Kong Board, a professional body of surveyors, says some leading developers began using independent surveyors a few years ago to identify building defects and ensure quality.