The installation of a noise barrier on the Tuen Mun Highway was completed without compensation disputes and has won an international award for adopting a new engineering contract model, the city’s transport chief has said.
Secretary for Transport and Housing Frank Chan Fan wrote in an official blog post that no disputes were raised between the Highways Department and engineering teams over the four-year project, which involved nearly 300 compensation items.
“Under the ‘new engineering contract’ (NEC) model, the Works Branch and engineering teams worked with a spirit of mutual trust, and by responding to changes caused by risks, that is, compensation items mentioned in the engineering contract, to prevent disputes,” Chan said.
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Chan added that 48 risk mitigation meetings were held to discuss problems that were identified using the NEC model. Some 85 per cent of compensation items were implemented within three months, and the rest were processed before completion of the project.
“[This] enabled the project to be successfully finished within the approved budget, and there were no project disputes at all,” Chan said, “That was not easy in the case of public works.”
The noise barrier project has since won Transport Contract of the Year at the New Engineering Contract Users’ Group Awards 2020, organised by the Britain-based Institute of Civil Engineers.
The installation of the 800-metre noise barrier, equal to 875 yards, which was completed in March, has also helped reduce noise levels by an average of 25 decibels.
The new infrastructure has significantly cut noise pollution for about 1,800 residential units in Rose Dale Garden and the Lakeshore Building in Tuen Mun, Chan added.
The project cost an estimated HK$826.5 million (US$106.6 million), according to figures from the Highways Department.
In traditional public works contracts, project disputes arise from challenges such as tight deadlines and complicated work, and can lead to higher prices, with contractors normally having to bear the responsibility.