Trust and control are key to successful infrastructure projects, says expert

Former railway chief James Blake OBE, GBS called for engineers in Hong Kong to continue to improve control and transparency within projects to maintain its global lead.

James Blake OBE, GBS, speaking at an ICE 200 event in Hong Kong.
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James Blake OBE, GBS, speaking at an ICE 200 event in Hong Kong.
  • Updated: 19 September, 2018
  • Author: Doug Ho
Hong Kong has the best infrastructure design, delivery and asset management of the past and present – and potentially in the future, too, according to a railway engineering expert.
James Blake, OBE, GBS, former senior director of the Kowloon-Canton Railway Corporation (KCRC), said this to an audience of over 400 people at an ICE 200 Distinguished Lecture in the city. Mr Blake is also ICE Gold Medallist and former Secretary of Works of Hong Kong Government. 

"Hong Kong’s infrastructure development has been consistently recognised for their project performance and construction efficiency. Infrastructure in Hong Kong is ranked the first by the World Economic Forum for eight consecutive years,” he said.
Mr Blake said that Hong Kong had achieved its reputation thanks to three factors: projects are fit for purpose, command and control, and trust and transparency.
He used his lecture to highlight how Hong Kong has successfully delivered sophisticated and modern infrastructure between the 1980s to the 2000s - and challenged engineers to build on past achievements. ­­
Mr Blake also emphasised the importance of using emerging technology, in particular Building Information Modelling (BIM), to transform the delivery of projects. 

Room for improvement

Meanwhile, a panel discussion following Mr Blake’s lecture identified that there’s still work to be done.
The panel, comprising Mr Blake, Tony Shum, chairman of ICE 200 Distinguished Lectures, CS Wai, managing director of Urban Renewal Authority, Thomas Ho, chief executive of Gammon Construction, and Ken Ho, ICE Hong Kong chairman, said there was a need to continue to improve command and control, as well as trust and transparency, within the industry.
They also talked about how the industry can promote more innovation.
The lecture, ‘Pointers to successful delivery of infrastructure projects, Hong Kong’, was the second in a series of three ICE 200 lectures, held on 30 August 2018.

It was opened by Frank Chan, Secretary for Transportation and Housing in Hong Kong.

Major civil engineering projects in Hong Kong include the Harbour Area Treatment Scheme (HATS), one of the 200 projects highlighted to celebrate the ICE's 200th anniversary.

A video of the event is now available to watch here