Project Director Andy Raine Explains Extensive Rail Project in Hong Kong

To give Samsung C&T Newsroom readers an inside look at the Hong Kong Shatin to Central Link (SCL) 1109 project, one of its most important currently under construction, we sat down with Project Director Andy Raine to gain unique insights and perspectives about the project.

SCL 1109 is a multifaceted, large-scale civil engineering project in the densely populated areas of Kowloon City and To Kwa Wan districts. The project comprises 2 MTR Corporation stations with connecting tunnels extending almost 3kms on each of the two lines, together with 2 escape shafts and a long entrance connecting the SUW (Sung Wong Toi) station to Kowloon City.

The work scope covers all aspects of excavation and temporary support, all civil structures, Architectural Builders Works and Finishes works and builders Electrical and Mechanical works.

Once complete, the SCL 1109 project will play a vital role in Hong Kong’s (HK) growing public transportation system, providing rail services that will link the north-eastern part of the new territories to the downtown area, and across the famous harbor to Victoria Island.

To read more about the unexpected challenges we encountered during the construction of the project, check out our conversation with Project Director Andy Raine below!

Introducing Project Director Andy Raine

Q: Could you please tell the readers a little about yourself and your experience?

RAINE: I have over 30 years of experience in mining and heavy civil construction, including 20 years in HK where I’m currently in charge of construction management on SCL 1109.

I suppose I have acquired several specialties throughout my career, however I’m most interested underground geotechnical works and the management of complex large-scale construction projects.

Q: As Project Director, what are your major roles in this project?

RAINE: As the Project Director, my role has a dual purpose: first, to be Samsung’s lead representative on site and second, an equally important role is to be the joint venture (JV) representative in front of our client, MTRC.

As the Project Director for the JV, it is essential to form a cohesive team among the project employees coming from two different companies and numerous different countries and cultures.

Q: How does your experience assist in managing this project?

RAINE: Having worked in a number of different countries and companies and having spent a significant amount of time in Asia, particularly in HK, I have learned a great respect for several Asian cultures and different work ethics.

Experience is not just about technical expertise, although this is very important. Experience is mostly about how to communicate with people in an efficient and meaningful way. Most of the problems we encounter in project management are related to communication issues of one form or another. Thus, it is important to communicate with colleagues regularly and just as important to listen.

Unique Aspects of SCL 1109

Q: What complications arose from the complicated construction methods utilized?

RAINE: Like most major projects, there have been several challenges that we have had to overcome.

From tunneling through hard rock and station redesign due to artifacts discovered at SUW station, to very constrained site space and a tight construction program at TKW (To Kwa Wan station), this project confronted a lot of challenges.

Tunnel construction was perhaps the most difficult. The excavation process itself was a great adventure since the ground conditions varied and changed sporadically. Tunnel experts from various countries including Korea, gathered to find the best solution, and their efforts played a huge role in producing the best product in the desired time.

In the Ma Tau Wai area where TKW Station ran into some difficulties due to a plethora of facilities and schools. To deal with pedestrian safety issues and traffic problems, ‘Care Ambassadors’ were appointed via recommendations by local communities, to help respond to any problems that may arise during construction.

Q: How is it possible to build in an urban jungle such as HK?

RAINE: HK is a very densely populate urban area with a diverse range of housing from state of the art buildings to those built in the 1950s, which makes building and utility protection a huge challenge, particularly in older urban areas.

Moreover, there is little flat land in HK, meaning that extensive building development is done on the sides of mountains, which come with a strict set of geotechnical engineering controls.

Q: Was There a Particularly Surprising Incident During Construction?

RAINE: The discovery of the ancient Sung Dynasty artifacts delayed the project by 11 months. The client instructed major design changes to both the temporary works and the permanent works to overcome this difficulty.

Concurrently, Samsung C&T proposed a series of delay recover measures that ultimately reduced this delay to 5 months and allowed for completion more or less according to the original schedule, much to the benefit of the people of HK – our ultimate customers.

Optimistic About the Future

Q: What is your plan and outlook for the future?

RAINE: I’d love to have the opportunity to work on a similar project again. This project is the highlight of my career thus far.

I find the unique set of challenges such as technical difficulties in urban areas, land constraints, traffic, utilities and stakeholder management to be very interesting.

I think our highly capable and dedicated staff at Samsung is probably our single biggest asset. It’s all about people! If we continue to help our team members grow their careers, we have the potential to be very, very successful.

Q: What advice might you give to the next generation of people interested in civil engineering and construction?

RAINE: Construction has great appeal because when you finish the work, you can directly see the result of what was achieved. Civil works are particularly enjoyable as they build things for the benefit of society. Your ultimate customer is the people of a community, and you help create things that are for everyone.

This is quite meaningful and leads to a job satisfaction that is quite difficult to achieve in other industries and I think this is one of the most unique qualities that attract people to this line of work.

Moreover, in this career every day is different, and it allows you to work alongside people from across the globe. Due to the common mindset of many in the industry, once you become friends with someone on a job site, you remain friends for life!

Hard Work Pays Off

Q: The project has won several awards; could you please tell us about them?

RAINE: Yes, the project has been awarded numerous client safety awards, including the Grand safety award on 4 separate occasion, along with several Gold Safety Awards and Stakeholder management awards.

Recently the project was awarded the Gold award for stake holder engagement by the HK PR Association, the first time for a construction company, against competition from the likes of Disney and McDonald’s.

The project has also received recognition from Construction Industry Council in their considerate contractors award scheme and various other awards too numerous to mention here.

Receiving awards is recognition that Samsung has arrived and that we have a standard in line with, and exceeding, the norms in HK.

Building a Reputation

Having successfully completed major underground works on projects in Singapore, India, Australia, Canada, and now HK, C&T has amassed a ton of crucial experience carrying out these large, complex projects.

With the SCL 1109 project in HK, Samsung continues to add to its repertoire of expertise and further build its reputation for safety and efficiency.

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