Various reasons have led to a long-term manpower shortage in the construction industry in Hong Kong. Not only grassroots personnel, but also professional grades such as engineers are also faced with the dilemma of insufficient manpower.
In recent years, the government has successively launched a number of large-scale infrastructure projects, ranging from "Lantau Tomorrow" to "Northern Metropolitan Area", together with the "10-year development plan" of two public hospitals. The annual construction volume of the construction industry has also increased to the level of 300 billion yuan, and the demand for employees has increased greatly, further exacerbating the problem of manpower shortage.
However, the author believes that these predicaments have become challenges instead. Taking the opportunity of large-scale investment in infrastructure resources to create more development opportunities, stimulate innovative thinking, and reshape the construction industry in Hong Kong to become a leading international smart construction city.
Written by: Yuan Bailiang, senior engineer and former president of the Institute of Engineers
Under the new crown epidemic, the government and all sectors of society have paid more attention to hospital infrastructure than before. In addition to temporary hospitals used for emergency treatment of new crown patients, the long-term shortage of beds in the public medical system cannot be ignored. The hospital development plan in 2018, together with other large-scale infrastructure projects, such as "Lantau Tomorrow", new railway projects, large-scale urban renewal plans, and the "Northern Metropolitan Area" in recent years, have all increased the number of manpower in the engineering sector. nervous.
Despite the thirst for talent, the industry and the authorities have noticed that in the past period of time, due to the fierce market competition, some consultancies have adopted below-market prices for engineering consultancy contracts, hampering the healthy development of the industry and creating a bad competitive environment.
With the cost reduction, the remuneration of professional grades such as engineers has also been affected, resulting in quality problems in the delivery of individual construction projects. The authorities have to hire experienced personnel from the private market to handle the supervision work.
As a result, the shortage of engineers in the private sector, coupled with the poor working environment, makes the newcomers less willing to enter the industry, and the old ones lose their interest, creating a vicious circle.
The author believes that it is very important to the development of the overall construction industry that not only public institutions but also private companies can hire suitable talents. In fact, industry peers also pointed out that the government has made great efforts to help improve the working environment and employment conditions of engineers and practitioners.
It is very important to improve the bidding environment. Although bidding is a commercial act, there are still laws and regulations to avoid serious "low bidder wins" situation during bidding. Efficiency" and "open and fair competition" as the principles, and use clear procedures and operating methods to review bids. In addition to considering bid prices, the technical capabilities and performance of bidders should also be reviewed, including bidders' innovation, environmental protection and sustainable development, The use of digital technology and other areas will be scored.
At present, the highest technical score can account for 50-60% of the overall score, and the technical score of construction and engineering-related consultancy contracts can be as high as 70%. This ratio helps prevent bidders from rushing to bid at low prices. Reasonably priced tenders.
After a review in recent years, the authorities have optimized the mechanism and introduced a point deduction system. Points will be deducted if a company’s bid price is lower than the median bid price by as much as 80%, so that consultants cannot obtain high points through low bid prices, thus making them more vulnerable. Focus on the content of technical proposals to improve the quality of consulting services.
These are all part of the Fee Diving Control Mechanism.
In addition, in order to allow contractors or consultancies of different scales to participate in public works projects in a balanced manner, the authorities have divided public works contracts into different groups according to their type and estimated tender amount, so that different companies can participate in tenders on a level playing field.
As for contract arrangement, large-scale engineering projects are also divided into multiple smaller and easier-to-manage contracts where feasible, so as to increase the opportunities for small and medium-sized companies to participate in bidding. The upper limit of the contract amount to be undertaken is conducive to the fair and healthy development of the industry.
In fact, the industry can consider five comprehensive management principles, including "people (the reasons related to manpower), machine (machines and tools used), material (materials used), law (work methods or procedures), environment (work environment) )” to improve the overall development and ensure the smooth implementation of various large-scale infrastructure projects.
This time, the author will start with the "law", that is, regulations and rules, to understand how to deal with the reduction of unhealthy competition in the industry. I believe that these measures can have a profound impact and allow the engineering industry to develop healthily.
As for the "man, machine, object and ring", the author will discuss it in another article.
"01 Medical Clinic" cooperates with senior engineer Yuan Bailiang to launch a column "Yuantu has you" every Monday to share the big and small matters of engineering and medical care.
Yuan Bailiang has always been committed to promoting the professional development of the engineering field, and he has just stepped down as the president of the Institution of Engineers.
Decades of professional journey are really worth remembering, and I am convinced that later generations may be able to understand the key points of the engineering profession.
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