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Revolutionizing the Approach of Modular Integrated Construction with Smart Logistics

Quality inspection is the key in every construction project. The government has been adopting Modular Integrated Construction as a strategy to boost the productivity and quality of construction industry in Hong Kong. The remote e-Inspection system developed by the HKU architecture research team is a breakthrough to master the inspections remotely.

One of the repercussions of Covid was the disruption of traditional supply chains for Modular Integrated Construction (MiC) sites in Hong Kong that rely on finished prefabricated units from China. 

This was compounded by strict travel restriction on engineers who would normally visit factories in the Pearl River Delta for quality control inspections to approve all aspects of every module before shipment to building sites in Hong Kong.  

This led a group of architecture academics from The University of Hong Kong to develop a blockchain-based e-Inspection platform that allows all units to be checked and tracked from construction to delivery and final installation without the need to travel across the border.

Factory workers in China have to upload photographs and technical details of all stages of module construction. This allows engineers and architects in Hong Kong to inspect every aspect of the units, including joints, colour schemes, internal fittings and furniture, before approval is given to proceed.  

The e-inspection platform was developed by Professor Wilson Lu, Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Architecture together with Professor Anthony Yeh, Chair Professor of the Department of Urban Planning and Design, and Ir K.L. Tam, Director of the HKU Estates Office (retired).

“Once the modules are completed, they will be put in trucks or ships and transported across the border to Hong Kong,” said Professor Lu. “The whole process will be monitored by our award-winning Internet of things technologies that we developed to monitor the location, vibration, temperature, humidity, and any other useful information.” 

The e-Inspection platform – including i-Core, e-InStar and e-TranStar apps – is being used to construct the HKU Wong Chuk Hang Student Residence and is supported by the HKU Estates Office, Paul Y. Engineering, Logistics and Supply Chain MultiTech R&D Centre with funding from the government’s Innovation and Technology Fund. 

“The HKU Wong Chuk Hang Student Residence is a pilot scheme and a new way for construction by using MiC and also the e-Inspection system,” said Mr. K.L. Tam. “By using the MiC approach and e-Inspection method, we can now save at least 15 months in construction time.”

The remote e-Inspection system won the 2022 Hong Kong ICT Smart Logistics Gold Award and wascommended for using “innovative technologies to ensure construction quality and safety based on international standards”.

The system has also received four awards in the MiC Achievement Ceremony 2022, as well as other commendations in Hong Kong and overseas.

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