New technology allows company to construct isolation building in record time

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Covering 450,000 square meters, Penny’s Bay Community Isolation Center is by far the largest isolation center in Hong Kong that was built with support from the central government. Providing about 7,000 units and about 14,000 beds in total, the facility is nearly eight times the size of Huoshenshan Hospital in Wuhan.

The first phase of the Penny’s Bay facility providing about 2,000 beds for COVID-19 patients with mild or no symptoms was completed on April 19, taking just two months to build.

The time it took to build was only a fifth of the time such a project would usually take, thanks to high-tech Modular Integrated Construction (MiC).

The MiC method makes constructing a building more like assembling a car. This requires dividing buildings into standard modular units at the design stage. The production and assembly of each component is completed in the factories rather than on the construction site.

The Penny’s Bay facility is a two-story building, with each unit equipped with individual toilets and bathrooms.

Its 1,204 isolation units with 2,048 beds had been finely decorated and were ready for use at a production facility in Zhuhai, Guangdong. Then they were transported to the site from the factory.

Zhao Baojun, general manager of China State Construction Hailong Technology, the plant’s holding company responsible for producing the prefab rooms, said they have streamlined the entire manufacturing process of the insulation unit.

“During our peak construction period, an isolation unit can be built in just seven days,” he said.

According to Zhao, MiC technology requires 50% fewer construction workers, reduces material waste by 25% and reduces energy consumption by about 55%. An optimized digital and electronic system has also been put in place to ensure quality at every stage, he said.

“Today, approximately 14,000 workers from our factory participated in the construction of the Penny’s Bay community isolation facility, using half the labor compared to the traditional construction method,” Zhao said.

Another cutting-edge technology applied involves whole-process data tracking, which uses VR and AR technologies to greatly improve transportation and production efficiency.

The technique is useful, said Mao Ye, digital director of the Hailong Technology company. “Workers can see through our digital model the interior decoration of the isolation unit and each assembly process in real time,” he said.

In addition, after the isolation unit is equipped in Zhuhai, an intelligent traffic system is used for information collection. All data, including container loads, terminal checkpoints and video footage of the construction site, is updated to the minute.

“Through a mobile phone, our company’s managers and colleagues in Hong Kong can follow the progress of our project at any time, thus preventing defects from occurring on the production line,” Mao said. .

As one of nine central government-assisted community isolation facilities in Hong Kong, the Penny’s Bay facility is also designed for permanent use, which can serve as transitional public accommodation in the city after the pandemic. .

Zhao, the general manager, said their construction workers were working around the clock in two shifts to help fight the latest COVID-19 outbreak in Hong Kong.

“Following the handover of the first phase of the Penny’s Bay Isolation Facility, our workers took a break and immediately turned their attention to constructing units for the second phase of the Penny’s Bay Isolation Facility. and setting up Kai Tak Cruise Terminal with no hesitation,” he said.

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