Widening of Lin Ma Hang Road, New Territories, Hong Kong

Widening of Lin Ma Hang Road, New Territories, Hong Kong

The Highways Department (HyD) of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) has adopted an NEC3 Engineering and Construction Contract (ECC) for widening a section of Lin Ma Hang Road, an important route next to mainland China. The widening allows for increasing traffic from gradual opening up of the Frontier Closed Area over the next few years.

NEC Users’ Group silver member HyD let the HK$143 million (£14 million) contract to China Geo-Engineering Corporation in February 2020 under an NEC3 ECC Option B (priced contract with bill of quantities). The works involved widening of a 750 m long section of Lin Ma Hang Road at Ta Kwu Ling in the North District, including construction of a new bridge over Ping Yuen River using a design-for- manufacture-and-assembly (DfMA) method, with bridge piers manufactured off-site in mainland China.

HyD was working as the NEC project manager while Ove Arup and Partners Hong Kong Limited was appointed as the NEC project manager’s representative and supervisor to oversee daily construction works. The works were completed on time and budget in November 2023.

Collaborative approach

Arup’s senior resident engineer Raymond Cheung says the NEC requirement to act ‘in a spirit of mutual trust and co-operation’ resulted in a collaborative working relationship between the employer, project manager, supervisor and contractor. ‘The NEC contract management processes of early warnings, risk-reduction meetings, timely communications and regularly updated programmes helped to ensure this important road project was completed on budget and on time.’

He says an example was the construction of in-situ bridge piers under the contract when the contractor notified an early warning about unforeseen ground conditions, including a lower rock head and an unexpected soft spot during excavation of the pile caps. ‘As no construction of the bridge could be carried out in the wet season from April to October each year, it was vital to avoid any delay to progress during the dry season.’ 

linmahang02.jpgWhile a traditional solution would be for the project manager to instruct the contractor to increase the workforce to mitigate the potential delay, the project team decided to go for a more innovative and sustainable solution of adopting off-site fabrication and on-site assembly of the bridge piers.

Cheung says not only did this enhance productivity, quality and durability by fabricating the bridge piers in an off-site factory, it also reduced the greenhouse gas emissions of the project through less travelling of temporary works such as scaffolding for pier construction to site. The efficiency from higher productivity of the works also led to an early completion of the pier construction, which was three months earlier than the original programme, shortening the overall the construction duration.

Cost saving design

He says the project manager played a collaborative role in the change to off-site manufacture. ‘In addition to formulating the cost saving design, to which HyD swiftly gave approval, the project manager took an active lead in explaining the method to the authorities and assisted the contractor in obtaining the requisite consents.’

Cheung says the contractor then prepared detailed structural calculations to demonstrate the practicality of the method and assessed the potential manufacturers together with the supervisor to ensure their competency. ‘To overcome the constraint of restricted cross-boundary travel, the contractor arranged its works supervisor from mainland China office to carry out the supervision at the factory with a daily live broadcast, so the supervisor could make remote inspections.’ 

He concludes that the off-site fabrication solution would not have materialised to resolve the risk of delay without the NEC-inspired trust and co-operation among the project parties. ‘The outcome is a testimony of how project challenges can be satisfactorily overcome through the NEC framework and the NEC spirit it nurtures.’

Benefits of using NEC

  • NEC requirement to act in a ‘spirit of mutual trust and co-operation’ resulted in a collaborative working relationship between the employer, the project manager, the supervisor and the contractor.
  • NEC contract management processes helped to ensure this important project was completed on budget and schedule.
  • NEC-inspired collaboration led to an off-site fabrication solution to reduce the risk of delay. The change was triggered by an early warning and promptly agreed through the cost saving design.
Recent Projects

Recent projects

Palabora copper mine extension, South Africa

Palabora copper mine extension, South Africa

The NEC4 Alliance Contract (ALC) is being used for a US$700 million (£550 million) scheme to deepen a major copper mine in South Africa.

Read more
Universal accessibility lift-retrofit projects, Hong Kong

Universal accessibility lift-retrofit projects, Hong Kong

A programme of NEC contracts is being used to retrofit barrier-free access facilities to existing footbridges in Hong Kong to improve walkability in the city.

Read more
Widening of Lin Ma Hang Road, New Territories, Hong Kong

Widening of Lin Ma Hang Road, New Territories, Hong Kong

The NEC-procured project included construction of a new bridge over Ping Yuen River and widening of Lin Ma Hang Road next to mainland China

Read more
View all projects