Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway system has nearly doubled in capacity over the last twenty years, helping to make developer CK Asset’s Ocean Pride project – which connects directly to the Tsuen Wan West MTR station in the New Territories – the most popular place to buy a home so far in 2018.
While being connected to the city’s 218 kilometre rail network is appealing to future residents, building 970 condominiums directly atop a busy MTR station was a major challenge for the builder, Aggressive Construction Company, which completed major works of phase one of the project in just 30 months.
The first phase includes five residential tower blocks on top of a six-storey podium that houses the OP Mall and a two-level underground car park. Aggressive Construction overcame a special set of challenges to build the complex project on time and under budget – beyond the usual space constraints and time pressures faced in the world’s most expensive real estate market.
Building 5 Towers Atop an MTR Station – Fast and Safe
Ocean Pride received its Occupancy Permit in July of this year, allowing homebuyers to begin moving into their new homes in early 2019. Aggressive Construction, which commenced work on the superstructure in September 2015, drew on its unique business model to build the towers with a typical floor construction cycle of four days per floor, allowing enough time for follow-on works and government inspections.
“The high costs of land and construction in Hong Kong induced tight construction schedules for development projects. We as a main contractor’s value is to deliver the project safely, to the desired quality and on time.” said Jeff Cheung, Assistant General Manager with Great Harvest Group (the parent company of Aggressive Construction), “So we helped our clients to build these towers on a typical four-day cycle using in-house designed aluminum system formwork. This allows more time for follow-on works and government inspections.”
As a principal contractor, the group performs most of the engineering design in-house and supplies and installs all of the critical elements of the project. “We are capable of doing projects from foundation to building construction including curtain wall systems, and this allows us to achieve early completion and ensure weather-tightness,” Cheung explained.
This integrated approach to design, supply and installation of critical project elements allows the companies in Great Harvest Group to fully implement an effective statutory submission and approval schedule, and has other benefits as Cheung points out, “We gain the advantage of direct control which boosts quality, productivity and value creation. Our holistic co-ordination in the early structural frame stage can minimize the double handling work in interior fit-out even in the most technically challenging projects.”
Aggressive Construction prevailed over a series of hurdles in the process of turning the 25,000 square metre site into an attractive project, which saw buyers snatch up all 496 apartments available on the first day that the initial batch of homes hit the market in May of last year.
Setting the Stage for Podium Rooftop Construction
One of the biggest challenges in building Ocean Pride required Aggressive Construction to peel back the protective concrete layer over the existing MTR station to expose the sound concrete and column heads that would underpin the 84,000 square metre retail podium as well as the residential towers of the project.
The task required supervising a team of workers using handheld breakers to hack off a 500 to 600 millimetre thick layer from the roof of the MTR station, creating 1,900 truckloads of debris which were disposed of via a tailor-made refuse chute. With trains from the MTR’s West Rail line running the entire time, the team then applied a new waterproofing layer and built the reinforced concrete structures above.
“Many general contractors sub out some or most of the work to first-tier trade subcontractors to save on their management resources,” Great Harvest’s Cheung commented. “But given the technical challenges of getting CK Assets’ projects done on schedule and budget, we used our own team of engineering designs and site management personnel. It’s the approach that sets us apart.”
Harnessing Experience and Tech to Streamline Construction
Building nearly 1,000 homes on a fixed schedule also meant that Great Harvest turned to technology and advanced management approaches to streamline the construction process.
All falsework and formwork (temporary structures to support vertical loads and retain fluid concrete until it hardens) as well as the curtain wall systems and covered walkway for Ocean Pride were designed by the company’s in-house team, being produced and delivered from offsite manufacturing facilities in mainland China – an approach that Great Harvest now adopts for all of its projects.
“Our business approach is all about taking direct control of complex processes without subcontracting out,” Cheung explained. “By directly managing critical tasks and taking control of the supply chain for the main structure and the facade, we can save time and money, while still meeting the client’s quality standards.”
This streamlined approach to project management also means that for Ocean Pride, the company designed and used precast concrete facades – handling the mock-up, manufacturing and installation of all elements. This included conducting trial assembly and joint inspection of the metal system formwork in the company’s mainland factories, to ensure high quality and correct dimensions for the end product.
Crossing the Finish Line with 2018’s Biggest Selling Project
Overall, Great Harvest handled more than 50 design and build items in the process of building the Ocean Pride complex, which has successfully sold 95 percent of its units from May to July – the most of any project in Hong Kong this year.
Formed in 1989, Great Harvest has greatly expanded its business scope over the years to become a principal and main contractor and a real estate developer providing all-in-one construction services. The group’s completed projects include Stars by the Harbour in Hung Hom, Yuccie Square in Yuen Long, 41 Heung Yip Road in Wong Chuk Hang and The Beaumont II in Tseung Kwan O – all of which were completed from 2015 to 2017.
Great Harvest Group’s Ocean Pride Project
This feature story is provided courtesy of Great Harvest Group.