COMMENTARY EDITORIAL FOCUS

Modular Integrated Construction for a Sustainable Future

Image by Paul Y. - iMax

COVID-19 has brought both challenges and opportunities as innovation flourished and new technologies found their ways to advance further. In April 2020, LWK + PARTNERS completed the temporary quarantine facilities in Sai Kung Outdoor Recreation Centre in collaboration with Paul Y. Construction and Paul Y. – iMax to assist the government’s response to COVID-19. It is one of Hong Kong’s pilot cases for Modular Integrated Construction (MiC), and it took only 77 days to design and build three blocks of three-storey facilities from scratch, setting the city’s record.

HONG KONG’S FIRST ADOPTERS
In Hong Kong, MiC is still in its early stages. The approval process takes much longer time and involves complicated preparation. In 2019, LWK + PARTNERS and Paul Y. – iMax took the initiative to work together on a MiC installation system which secured ‘pre-acceptance’ from the city’s Buildings Department. This provided critical technological foundations for the temporary quarantine facilities in Sai Kung Outdoor Recreation Centre.

There have been previous examples in mainland China, Singapore, the UK and the US. Singapore is leading the way in Asia with relatively mature technologies, providing references and benchmarking for others in the region.

“MiC is an innovative construction method based on the concept ‘factory assembly followed by on-site installation’. Free-standing integrated modules are fabricated, finished and inspected in the factory before being transported to the site for installation. On-site processes like foundation works can be carried out all the while the above take place, substantially raising the levels of efficiency and quality,” explains Paul Ng, LWK + PARTNERS Director who oversees the quarantine facilities project.

Three blocks of three-storey quarantine facilities; Image by Paul Y. – iMax

As one of Hong Kong’s first architectural firms to adopt MiC, LWK + PARTNERS has garnered experience in both design and management. The project will join the firm’s pool of common resources shared across its extensive global network, ready to be integrated into different types of future projects, serving also as an illustrative example for the whole industry.

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