The challenges of building high-profile projects, such as the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, not only extend the boundaries of construction and engineering practices, but also hone the professional skills of the construction experts involved.
Barry Wong, associate director at URS/Scott Wilson, says the project is another opportunity for the construction and engineering company's staff to work on a flagship project that is vital to Hong Kong's cruise industry.
"It was a construction project at the decommissioned Kai Tak airport that first brought the firm to Hong Kong nearly 60 years ago," he says.
The current scope of the company's works in progress at the Kai Tak cruise terminal site include the construction of two 850-metre berths, capable of accommodating the largest cruise vessels, and the laying out of apron areas and temporary infrastructure for roads, drainage and services provision. URS/Scott Wilson was also responsible for dredging the adjoining seabed to allow manoeuvring and berthing of cruise vessels with deep drafts.
"Applying the principle of 'zero reclamation' within [the] harbour, fast-tracking the project, and meeting the tight project time frame have been some of the challenges we have faced," Wong adds.
To protect the harbour and to comply with the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance requirements, the cruise terminal quay deck must be built within the land limit of the old runway.
"We had to apply innovative engineering solutions to protect the harbour while accelerating the work to meet the Phase 1 target completion date in mid-2013," says Wong.
To achieve this, they built a massive wall to allow construction of the cruise terminal building while other works were taking place.
Wong says that while most of the hiring specific to the Kai Tak Cruise Terminal site has been done, URS/Scott Wilson is still recruiting for other projects, especially for infrastructure, structural and maritime engineers.
"Because of future demand in these areas, we are further strengthening our maritime, infrastructure and project delivery capabilities," says Wong, adding that URS/Scott Wilson offers a structured career path and plenty of internal support and external training.
"Our career development and training programmes at URS/Scott Wilson and our subsidiary company, Benaim, are recognised as some of the best in the profession," Wong says.
He says that, as a Fortune 500 company - a result of being part of the URS Corporation with 48,000 staff in 400 offices in 40 countries - URS/Scott Wilson offers widespread opportunities for career development and training across offices and regions. "We look for people who fit comfortably with our inclusive and friendly corporate culture built on the values of safety and excellence," Wong adds.