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Pioneering award recognises surveying excellence

The First Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (HKIS) Best Development and Conservation Award (BDCA 2020) successfully kicked off on 16 January 2020. After months of preparation the award was officially unveiled at a briefing session that attracted much attention from media and industry stakeholders.

Themed as “Surveying Excellence in Development and Conservation”, this pioneering award recognizes exceptional achievements and excellence of construction projects in relation to both development and conservation. HKIS President Sr Winnie Shiu said, “It is my great honour to introduce the launch of this award. We believe that our Institute is a world-class professional surveying organization and wish to align it with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) set by the United Nations in 2015. Therefore, our thoughts were that we should do something to meet the goal of further promoting our professional image, and not just within Hong Kong. I was privileged to be the one bringing together the six divisions and paying tribute to the surveyors who have made substantial contributions in sustainable development and conservation.”

“Not only will the BDCA support SDG, it will also promote the professional image of surveyors from the various divisions, recognizing how their untiring efforts contribute to development and conservation and raising public awareness of conservation in development projects.

“I take this opportunity to invite all surveying practitioners to showcase their masterpieces by applying to take part in the event. Such widespread participation will illustrate how surveyors are striving to serve the community to the best of our ability.”

The award is designed to address the contribution of surveyors from various backgrounds throughout the development cycle, and BDCA’s five award categories are named after each stage: (1) Planning; (2) Pre-construction; (3) Construction; (4) Sales & Leasing; and (5) Post-occupation.

During the briefing session, BDCA Organizing Committee Chairman Sr Alexander Lam briefly walked the audience through the 10-month programme with key information such as milestone dates, award categories and judging criteria. Sr Lam said, “The award focuses on the use and application of surveying knowledge and/or professional expertise across the disciplines in the respective phases within the project development cycle, which brings about economic, environmental and social sustainability. Any projects with an in-depth participation of surveyor(s) are welcome. Submissions can be made by any parties, including developers, consultants, and contractors. Frankly, the existing awards touched on final project results rather than unveiling the construction process. There is no single award focusing on the surveyors’ contribution, which is immense, and therefore the general public is hardly aware of their hidden role and contributions, e.g. problem solving and application of innovative technology. We want to publicise what they do and, from there, to promote the surveying profession and let our members realise the effort involved in the process, not just in the end result.

“Our 14-member Organizing Committee (OC) is made up of two representatives from the six divisions of HKIS plus a chairman and vice chairman. In terms of a fair judging process, there are two stages, with HKIS divisional chairmen handling the first stage — screening — in May 2020. The final round of judging will be done by a team of jurors from academia, government and the industry, meaning that fresh eyes will be vetting finalists’ projects. My best tip for entrants is to communicate what’s so special about your project.”

The distinguished jury panel consists of prominent figures in the surveying industry plus professionals and academics. Leading the panel is Sr Prof Bay Wong, former HKIS President. Members of the panel include past HKIS Presidents Sr Hak Chan and Sr Prof K W Chau; Mrs Sylvia Lam, JP (Director of Architectural Services, Architectural Services Department), Mr Raymond Lee, JP (Director of Planning, Planning Department), Mr Douglas So Cheung-tak (Chairman of Antiquities Advisory Board), and Sr YU Tak-cheung, JP (Director of Buildings, Buildings Department).

Sr Prof Bay Wong, who heads the jury panel as the convenor, also shared with the audience some tips for winning. Firstly, the deadline for submissions is 29 April 2020, with no concessions for late entries. When compiling information for the report, teams must pay attention to criteria specified for respective award categories covering the five development stages and match information with the theme, score distribution, criteria and requirements. He said, “Entrants should craft the content to be balanced coverage with no excessive focus on several areas or they will lose marks. After the first round of screening, stage two is scheduled two-day site visits inviting jurors to meet potential winning teams on their project sites on 13-14 June and hear their presentations along the way. Good time management and precise information will provide applicants with an edge. The finalists will be disclosed on 19 June 2020 and we specifically expect their final presentation (3-4 July) to convey how surveying contributes to the project and overcomes difficulties as well as challenges.”

“While many other competitions and awards in the market target or reward design and whole project teams, ours recognizes low-key surveyors who work diligently and contribute a lot behind the scenes. That’s why we support this award as a token of encouragement for the six surveying divisions.”

Having been a juror for various competitions, Sr Prof Wong strongly believes that winners should satisfy various parties, e.g. owners who invest, society, participants and industry. Therefore, it is vital to strike a balance and achieve integration. Then, it’s how a team enhances the value of Hong Kong through the project’s excellence. The panel will also look at sustainability from economic, social and environmental perspectives.

The award presentation ceremony-cum-dinner will take place on 16 October 2020. For more details of the award, please visit