Career Advice Archive

Arup engineer sees solid future for his sector

Tim Wong Ming-tai, assistant civil and structural engineer at Arup, thinks the best is yet to come for the Hong Kong building industry as the government continues to roll out various infrastructure projects. He welcomes the opportunity to contribute to Hong Kong through construction and is helping build new MTR lines. He talks to Wong Yat-hei  

What’s your academic background?
I graduated with a bachelor of civil engineering, majoring in structural and geotechnical stream, at McMaster University, Ontario, Canada. I also have a master of science degree in construction project management, majoring in construction law and dispute resolution, from the University of Hong Kong.

How do you start your day? 
I start my day browsing the news from around the world, and then I plan my day in order to complete my actions on any design matters in the office. I carry out routine site inspections and interface meetings to monitor construction progress when I am on-site.

What does your job entail?
In the design office, I assist my seniors in reviewing and commenting on the contractor’s submissions for the civil and structural design of the [MTR] station buildings. I am also responsible for co-ordinating with clients and colleagues to ensure our design works are accurately executed on-site. In the site office, I work closely with frontline colleagues to monitor progress.

I also have to supervise the implementation of temporary traffic arrangement at the nearby work sites, and try to minimise the impact on the neighbourhood. Site safety and environmental monitoring are obligatory during my inspection on-site.

What are the major challenges you have encountered so far?
In the design office, my task is to examine the site plan to define constraints and design the most appropriate solutions to tackle them. In the site office, I have to turn the designs from drawings into reality. Sometimes we need to make a quick and sound judgment, without affecting progress.

Public engagement is one of the major challenges that engineers encounter nowadays. We have to design the most suitable solutions for public use and, at the same time, do our best to minimise the potential impact on the public during construction.
What are your plans?
I have just completed my Scheme “A” training, managed by the Hong Kong Institution of Engineers, and will strive to obtain my professional chartership this year. To begin my career as a qualified engineer, I would love to become involved with, and gain exposure to, different kinds of projects. Hopefully, these projects will benefit society and raise public awareness of engineers’ contributions to enhancing our quality of life.

Any advice for those who plan to enter your industry?
You have to be an enthusiastic and optimistic team player. It is a respected profession, with tremendous job satisfaction. Your work is meaningful and can influence the community. The industry has no boundaries for engineers who wish to apply their skills and knowledge. You should have the mobility to gain global exposure on overseas projects.