The Lighthouse - Q2 2020

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Events | Benevolence | Industry News Q2 2020

Building a more benevolent landscape

Lighthouse Club International Australia | Cambodia | China | Hong Kong | Macau | Malaysia | Myanmar | Philippines | Singapore | Thailand | UK / Ireland | Vietnam

Aliis Cum Humanitate


Chartered Quantity Surveyors

Over 35 Years in Hong Kong and Asia Battersby Kingsfield Limited was formed in Hong Kong in 1985, providing bespoke quantity surveying services to the construction industry within Hong Kong. Over the last 35 years it has grown to incorporate other core services and operating locations and has combined with specialist expertise from other companies to create the BKAsiaPacific Group. BKAsiaPacific currently operates through 7 locally registered operating companies covering 6 countries in East Asia and employs over 170 staff. From its base in East Asia, BKAsiaPacific also provides its services to projects in other parts of Asia, Australia, Middle East, Europe and Africa. • • • • • •

35 years of Professional Construction Services Chartered Quantity Surveyors Local Resources and Experience International Expertise Over 170 staff in 6 Countries in East Asia Working on Projects Globally

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Vietnam


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Email: bksurcotraining@bkasiapacific.com


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The Lighthouse

Chairman’s Message

A

s I write this message, I am filled with optimism that there is light at the end of the tunnel and that we all soon will be able to emerge from the restrictions and measures that our various Governments have implemented to deal with the public health issue that has confronted all of us and our families. I have been heartened and impressed by the flexibility and innovation that our Branches and Chapters have shown in carrying on with meetings and discussions. You have not allowed the restrictions to close down activities entirely. Well done, everyone. In these challenging times, thoughts naturally turn to how we can assist the less fortunate in society, who perhaps are affected most by the restrictions. I am pleased to say that the Trustees of our various charity funds, assisted of course by Branch and Chapter committees, are looking closely at how our charities might be able to respond to the current needs for assistance. I am also pleased to welcome our first Lighthouse Club International Gold Corporate Member – FTI Consulting. This is a very encouraging step in the right direction as regards growing our International membership Thanks again for your continuing hard work and commitment to the Lighthouse Club and its values. I hope that travel restrictions ease soon so that I can meet you all in person. In the meantime, stay safe and healthy! Glenn Haley, Chairman, Lighthouse Club International

About The Lighthouse Club

T

he Lighthouse is the magazine of Lighthouse Club International, originally established in 1998 as Lighthouse Club Asia Pacific Region and superseded in November 2017 by Lighthouse Club International. With its roots in England in 1956, the Hong Kong Branch was formed in 1986. The aims of the Lighthouse Club are to promote good fellowship amongst its members who work in or are associated with the construction industry and to provide charitable assistance to those in need within the construction industry and to their dependents in qualifying cases. In addition to the charitable works of the individual branches of the Lighthouse Club, Lighthouse Club International has two related Hong Kong based charities which provide charitable assistance worldwide: The James Battersby Lighthouse Club Educational Trust which provides assistance for education and training to qualifying young persons; The Lighthouse Club Asia Pacific Region Benevolent Trust which provides assistance to relieving poverty and financial need to persons currently or previously employed in the building and civil engineering industries and allied trades.

The Lighthouse Q2 2020 Lighthouse Club International Suite 1901-2, Hopewell Centre 183 Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai, Hong Kong info@lighthouseclubintl.com Administrator: Elaine Man E: info@lighthouseclubhk.com T: +852 2736 9885 Editorial Committee: Elaine Man / Janey Rogers / John Battersby / Michael Hoare (Consulting Editor) /Mike Staley / Steve Tennant / Alfred Ng (Liaison) Publisher: Mike Staley E: publisher@rofmedia.com T: +852 3150 8988 Advertising: Bryan Chan E: bryan@rofmedia.com T: +852 3150 8912 Layouts: Michelle Morkel Designed & Published by ROF Media

Official website : www.lighthouseclubintl.com The Lighthouse is online at www.issuu.com/rofmedia

The Lighthouse Club International


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Contents

Honorary Life Chairman John Battersby Honorary Life Members Willie Kay – Singapore Les Leslie – Hong Kong & UK Nick Longley – Hong Kong & Australia Steve Tennant – Hong Kong Phil Thoburn - Manila

In This Issue

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Executive Committee: Chairman Glenn Haley, Glenn.haley@bclplaw.com Immediate Past Chairman Rod Noble, Roderick.noble@39essex.com

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Chairman Elect Robert Gordon, Robert.gordon@burohappold.com Deputy Chairman Keith Buckley, keith.buckley@lighthouseclubmacau.com Secretary Steve Tennant, stevetennanthongkong@gmail.com Treasurer Phil Clarke, phillip.clarke@lighthouseclubmacau.com

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Membership Secretary Jim Chessell, jchessell@bkasiapacific.com

Elected Branch Representative:

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Obituary Lighthouse Club mourns the passing of Chris Bennett

Australia

Paul Roberts proberts@secretariat-intl.com Nick Longley Nick.longley@hfw.com

Cambodia

Kerr Thomson kerr.thomson@covathinking.com

Hong Kong

John Battersby johnbattersby@bkasiapacific.com Steve Tennant stevetennanthongkong@gmail.com Robert Gordon robert.gordon@burohappold.com

Macau

Keith Buckley keith.buckley@lighthouseclubmacau.com Phil Clarke phillip.clarke@lighthouseclubmacau.com

Malaysia

Ronan Collins Ronan_hongkong@me.com

Feature

Myanmar

John Anderson johna@meinhardt.net

Landscape Architecture: The key to post-pandemic life will be living in harmony with nature

Philippines

Sam Powell samuel.powell@hmrphils.com

Singapore

Jim Chessell jchessell@bkasiapacific.com

Thailand

Gareth Hughes Gareth.hughes@rsmthailand.com

Vietnam

Colin Johnston cjohnston@bkasiapacific.com

Opinion

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Prof. Jason Pomeroy discusses Covid-19’s effect on cleaning up the air

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Special Report Benevolence

In the midst of the worst global health crisis in more than a century, Lighthouse Club International shines a light on the benevolent activities of all branches in the international fellowship

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Your donations assist the Club provide financial first aid to persons working in the construction industry

30 Nazrul Islam offers a first-hand account of life as a migrant worker in Singapore during the global pandemic

Branch Reports

50 Hong Kong 52 Singapore Members Lighthouse Club International Corporate Members

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In Memoriam

S a d pa ss i n g o f H o n g Ko n g L i g h t h o u s e C lu b' s F i r s t T r e a s u r er

Chris Bennett – by John Battersby

On 27 April I received an email from Chris Bennett’s daughter which read, “Dear John, I am so very sorry to be contacting you like this, but I currently have no access to Dad’s contacts except via his email. Sadly, Dad passed away on 20 April in hospital in Angouleme after a short battle with cancer.”

Although Chris and I both became one of the very first registered Lighthouse Club members on 11 and 10 April 1986, respectively, I managed to avoid doing any work on the Hong Kong Committee until a year later in April 1987 when I was elected.

This was such sad news for me, on a Monday morning, (as it must have been for his other old friends who I circulated) but, at the same time, it brought back so many memories of the camaraderie we shared in the Lighthouse Club during its early days in Hong Kong.

The first official meeting of the Hong Kong Branch was on 6 December 1985, again at the Mariners Club, when the Steering Committee was formed comprising Bryan Youngs as Chairman, John Wilson as Secretary, Chris as Treasurer and Hugh Emsley and Ian Ward as Members.

Chris was one of the founding members of the Lighthouse Club Hong Kong Branch and served on its very first Committee as Treasurer, a position he held for 10 years from 1986 until 1996 when he left Hong Kong to work in Thailand. I recall taking Chris along to the first meeting at the Mariners Club in Tsim Sha Tsui in 1985 which was called by Bryan Youngs who was General Manager of Marples Ridgeway in Hong Kong, to discuss the setting up of a branch of the Lighthouse Club in Hong Kong. Chris was Shui On’s Civil Engineering Estimating Manager at the time. We were colleagues at Shui On where I was working as a consultant, having previously worked as a consultant for Marples, hence being asked to the meeting by Bryan.

Unfortunately, I do not have much information about Chris’ early years but what I do know (because I remember them telling me at one of the many social occasions we were together) is that Chris met his wife, Helen, in Scotland. Chris was a student at Edinburgh University studying for his Civil Engineering degree. Helen came from Perth and became a teacher. They had two children, James and Hannah, who both went to school in Hong Kong at King George V School in Kowloon (KGV). Both went to university in the UK, James at Bristol and Hannah at Edinburgh. Hannah now has her own very successful veterinary practice in England and James manages a restaurant in Sai Kung.


In Memoriam

Chris worked for Marples Ridgway (in Bath, where his Mother lived) and Bovis International before coming to work in Hong Kong in 1981 for Harbour Engineering, just before it was bought by Shui On from Hutchison. I also know (because I remember him telling me when David Gem joined Shui On) that Chris worked for Holloway, when it was a subsidiary of John Laing, and worked directly under David who was a Section Agent on the first stage of the construction of Essex University at Colchester. I became very close to Chris while he was at Shui On. As I mentioned earlier, he was the Civil Engineering Manager and I was a consultant. I later became Group Commercial Manager. I remember so many discussions we had about whether or not there were errors in bills of quantities on Government tenders so that our tendering strategy could take these into account – nothing has changed! Outside work we met socially (in the pub and sometimes with our other halves!!) and then, of course, there was the Lighthouse Club where we had many mutual friends. Alas, many of them have passed on and Chris has, sadly, now joined them. Following the death of my son, Jamie, in 1996, Chris was one of a group of people whose friendship really came to the fore in the support they offered at that very difficult time. Many of the members of the Club will know that the James Battersby Lighthouse Club Educational Trust was set up shortly afterwards and Chris was, up until his death, a Trustee. He was also a Trustee of the Lighthouse Club Hong Kong Benevolent Trust and had been since its establishment in 1990.

Chris left Shui On in, or around, 1991, when he joined Dragages. In 1996 he left Hong Kong for Thailand, working for Unithai Engineering which was managed by Gerrit de Nys who was a former MD of Shui On. Upon his departure from Hong Kong, Chris was made an Honorary Life Member of the Lighthouse Club. Retiring to Hampshire, England, Chris and Helen lived near Basingstoke, initially, but moved to South West France where they finally settled. Helen passed away in 2013. I will miss Chris, not just as a good friend but also as a work colleague and Lighthouse Club comrade. As another of his former colleagues in Shui On said, “Chris was a good man, I am impressed by his sincerity and honesty. May God bless him.”

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Opinion

Clean Air in a Covid crisis But what next? The Covid crisis has caused unprecedented disruption to society and the global economy. But the international call to action of widespread lockdown has provided an environmental silver lining.

With industries shut down, pollution levels have been drastically reduced.There have been signs of wildlife returning to places not seen for years; and clearer skies, clearer rivers and cleaner air. Clean air should not be a choice but a right. We can live without food for three weeks and four days without water. However it only takes seconds for a life to evacuate a body if a person is unable to breathe. Therein lies the significance of how crucial air is to a human being. The advent of the industrial age created numerous opportunities for the progress of mankind in terms of mobility and innovation. New industries spawned new factories that churned out mass manufactured objects of necessity as well as desire. The automobile industry was one such example, as the invention enabled people to travel from one place to another with a heightened freedom of mobility. However this was not without detriment. Industrial fumes from factories within cities, exhaust fumes from the many vehicles that congested the roads, and anthropogenic sources of heat and pollution have continued to pollute the air. This in turn has brought correlating environmental and health problems. The World Bank states that more than US$5 trillion is lost from the global economy through the costs of mitigating the effects of air pollution, with a further $225 billion lost in potential income. Are we to be forever stuck in this cycle of air pollution and debilitating costs? Is clean air really a tall order for our progressive way of life, especially given how our current circumstances demonstrate that life and economies can continue (albeit in a drastically constrained fashion). How can striking a

more environmentally sensitive balance become the new norm, as opposed to being a default setting by virtue of industries currently being in a state of lockdown? One factor that can help mitigate this is the way we shape our cities with open space and urban greenery in mind. If cities are constructed in a way that are conceived as living and breathing organisms in their own right: with green 'lungs' and blue 'arteries' that can provide clean air and water respectively for the benefit of both the natural and built environment, we can reduce the pollution of the air that surrounds us. It is uplifting to see the number of people in this lockdown period who are taking to the parks and tree-lined streets for their morning run or evening stroll and clearly enjoying the cleaner air and the clearer skies. Hopefully this can promote healthier and more productive lifestyles through the embrace of the great outdoors, and balance the inordinate number of zoom calls made from the rooms of its 200,000,000 global users.


Opinion

This is where the symbiosis between sustainable architecture and landscape design plays an important role in the way we can preserve the natural and built environment and thus provide cleaner air for our consumption. If cities can be re-imagined in a way that transcends the automobile, embraces a new pedestrian era and promotes public transportation under and above ground, then we can look forward to cleaner air. Barcelona is a great example of a city that has implemented a remarkable initiative called the Superilla (superblocks). The concept is effectively the planned pedestrianisation of particular streets and thoroughfares within the district of

Eixample. Cars and public transportation are diverted to the perimeter of a series of 9 block grids - thus creating internal safe havens for pedestrian footfall, arts and cafe culture. Out went the noxious pollutant-spewing cars, and in came the trees, and the vibrancy of pedestrianised zones for peoples' interaction.Pedestrianising streets should not be the only tactic employed to remove pollution from our streets. Consideration should also be given to alternative methods of seamless mobility, the embrace of electric vehicles and acknowledging how the sharing economy is helping people realise that there are sound environmental alternatives to car ownership as a means

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Opinion

of movement. It will only be a matter of time when we will see drone taxis taking to the sky to help ease congestion at street level (though arguably noise pollution will be another challenge); and I was delighted to witness the test flights of Germany’s Volocoptor as one such passenger drone technology. At Pomeroy Studio, we have helped design and consult in Pantai Indah Kapok (PIK) city in Indonesia in a way that can help drastically reduce the reliance on the automobile and hopefully provide a liveable and lovable city. Seamless connectivity is made possible by multi-modal interchanges that bring train, electric bus, electric car sharing, e-scooters, water taxis and

pedestrian priority paths together within a lush landscape setting that collectively seek to provide a freedom of movement for all in a clean air environment. Another way to reduce air pollution is to cultivate a healthy respect for greenery in, on or over buildings. Over the years I have been researching the role of skycourts and skygardens as alternative social spaces in high-rise and high-density buildings. As one may expect from understanding the environmental benefits of parks and gardens at street level, we can see similar filtering properties of plants, trees and shrubs at height and how they can perform as wonderful 'carbon sponges' when applied to buildings. It should therefore come as little surprise


Opinion

that these skyward vertical terraces for people to enjoy the great outdoors are often featured heavily in our building projects and give our designs a green hue. Alice@mediapolis , a landmark green office building in Singapore, is such an example of how the elevated urban greenery that adorn the building's skycourts can absorb noxious pollutants, cool the temperature and reduce rain water running off into the streets - and all the while giving its employees an enjoyable and productive working environment.

We therefore need to be mindful of the lessons learned from this particular period which have allowed us to embrace the best that nature has to offer. This will inevitably mean less reliance on fossil fuel-based transportation and the use of cleaner alternatives (read public green transportation) alongside cycling and walking. When integrated into cities and buildings that embrace greenery as a fundamental component to their very being, we should be able to appreciate a more sustainable, healthier environment.

When the circuit breakers lift and the global economies re-boot, I sincerely hope for a speedy economic recovery (and this may very well be wishful thinking on my part). But what I'm fearful of is not just a potential spike in Covid cases given our natural human need for co-presence, but also a spike in air pollution as industries seek to regain the commercial ground it has lost.

Ultimately, we have the opportunity to do more to prevent the pollution of air in various ways than we think possible. More initiatives need to be studied and incorporated in our cities and buildings to minimise air pollution. This requires cooperation at all levels – government, businesses, academia and civil society.

After all, to be able to breathe in clean fresh air is a basic right; and not a privilege. However, every one of us needs to pull together to undertake such initiatives; protect this basic right and strive to ensure that future generations will similarly be able to do so.

About Professor Jason Pomeroy Jason Pomeroy is an award-winning architect, academic, author and TV presenter, regarded as one of the world's thought leaders in sustainable design. He gained bachelor and master degrees from the Canterbury School of Architecture and the University of Cambridge; and his PhD from the University of Westminster. He is the founder of Singapore-based interdisciplinary design and research firm Pomeroy Studio, and sustainable education provider, Pomeroy Academy. Pomeroy has edited Cities of Opportunities: Connecting Culture and Innovation (2020), and authored Pod Off-Grid: Explorations in Low Energy Waterborne Communities (2016), The Skycourt and Skygarden: Greening the Urban Habitat (2014) and Idea House: Future Tropical Living Today (2011). He continues to raise cultural awareness of cities through his critically acclaimed TV series 'Smart Cities 2.0', 'City Time Traveller' and 'City Redesign'. www.jasonpomeroy.sg

About Pomeroy Academy Pomeroy Academy are educators and researchers of sustainable built environments. The courses created and curated are specialist in nature and focus on the process of designing climate-responsive sustainable developments through an evidence-based approach. The courses seek to heighten awareness of the green agenda and provide students and professionals with the necessary skills to make a difference in their respective fields. The Academy was founded by Prof. Jason Pomeroy, whose interests lie in sharing sustainable design knowledge with an industry that is increasingly needing to respond to climate change. www.pomeroyacademy.sg

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Benevolence Feature

A pause to contemplate compassion The importance of health and wellness, family and community, have been highlighted in a catastrophic start to the year. At a pivotal point in the Covid-19 pandemic, this issue of The Lighthouse focuses on how the Club cares for our community.

Text: Michael Hoare Images: Lighthouse Club International


Benevolence Feature

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Happy faces at one of LHC Bangkok's supported construction site schools


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Benevolence

There is not a person on the planet that hasn’t had their lives impacted by Covid-19. As the grip of the outbreak begins loosening and the global community pauses for reflection, what experiences might an individual take from a once-in-a100-year pandemic? For one, the pandemic has revealed the fragility in some of the systems and processes upon which we rely. We might also pause to contemplate the importance of our relationships and how they have helped us through social distancing and, in some, cases, isolation. Perhaps you’ve also had the opportunity to meditate on humanity’s higher characteristics. The memory of the hundreds of thousands that have died, those that have recovered and the consequences of the economic shutdown have perhaps inspired compassion for your community. The Lighthouse Club exists to support the construction industry through the mechanisms of fellowship and benevolence. At the Club’s birth in 1956, the founders vowed to unite and to work for the benefit of the construction industry. Their ethos has spread around the world, and delivering assistance to members of the industry, their families and their associates is core tothe Club’s mission.

Part of the package The construction community embraces people from many and varied backgrounds. On every site, there are advantaged, whitecollar professionals working alongside disadvantaged migrant workers. There are language barriers and training deficits at work within the greater construction community. And there are significant differences in incomes across the industry.

With its branches and chapters spread across the world, and a flexible combination of complementary trust funds, each branch of the Club is empowered to make its own judgement of what their benevolence effort might look like. But there are also commonalities. The flexibility and timeliness of the assistance offered – just look at the Club’s outstanding response to the Covid-19 crisis – are hallmarks no matter where in the world you may be. And, of course, the organisation’s work in benevolence is held together by the unheralded volunteers and staff who ensure that assistance gets to those most in need.

Lighthouse Club International Chairman Glenn Haley says any assistance the Club provides must be flexible enough to suit the unique characteristics of the market and be best suited to the individual’s needs. Perhaps most importantly, any help must meet the cultural and legal obligations within the market. “Some countries have generous welfare and compensation systems, whereas others have Australia construction white card recipients 2019. little or no financial assistance available,” he says. “Even if assistance is available, the legal system and compensation framework means it may be years before any real help can be delivered.” In a similar way, legal and cultural issues go a long way to determining what type of support is offered by the Club. The key here is that assistance need not always be financial compensation. The provision of goods and services can also have a positive effect. “Some distressed persons need help with medical expenses or their day-to-day living expenses. Yet others will need assistance with education,” says Mr Haley.


Benevolence

After more than 60 years since the founding of the Club, it is clear that our ethos remains to ‘Be kind’. Glenn Haley Lighthouse Club International Chairman

Ben Wharton, Traction, receiving a donation. Traction provide practical construction skills training to disadvantaged young people.

In this issue, The Lighthouse takes a timely look at the charitable work of the Club, and we find that kindness truly takes all forms. “After more than 60 years since the founding of the Club, it is clear that our ethos remains to ‘Be kind’,” says Mr Haley.

Australia From the perspective of international best practice, workers on site in Australia enjoy an exceptional level of care. The combination of strict legal protections, sound training and the support of the union movement scaffolds workers and their families. However, more than a decade ago, tradesman Jorgen Gullstrup connected the dots to what he was seeing onsite. He was alarmed at what he saw as the failing mental health of those around him. He set about crafting a programme of training and support, based on the idea of “mates helping mates”, and launched MATES in Construction. MATES in Construction raises awareness about suicide in the workplace, and is committed to making it easier to access help and ensuring that any help offered is practical, professional, appropriate and safe. Funding to the programme pays for confidential case management and field officers that give face-to-face support to workers onsite. The research validates Gullstrup’s intuition; construction workers, miners and other “fly-in, fly-out” workers commuting to remote sites

A lucky recipient receives his bursary cheque from Lighthouse Club & TAFE. "Mates" in construction.

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Benevolence

Cambodia suffer mental health issues in disproportionately high numbers. The most damaging expression of that mental anguish is elevated suicide rates – more than 80 percent higher than the remainder of the population. With funding from public donations and the support of industry partnerships, the MATES effort has been shown to save lives. The Lighthouse Club’s branches in the northern state of Queensland, of which Brisbane is the capital, and in Perth, Western Australia, are among the long-term supporters of MATES. The Australian branches also contribute their combined expertise and financial support to skills development. Bursary programmes make financial contributions to families to assist struggling, but otherwise dedicated trade school students to complete their apprenticeships. The four Australian chapters also have an international focus. The southern Cambodian charity Happy Hub Kampot has received funding to carry out its mission to educate children and youths. The Lighthouse Club has helped establish a traineeship scheme that teaches youths the basics of construction, enabling disadvantaged families to build housing and maintain the infrastructure in their communities. Samat Rosikin & his family following his accident in Cambodia.

The Club’s activities in Cambodia since 2010 are a classic example of the grass-roots outreach Lighthouse branches undertake all around the world. Scratch the surface at any of the full calendar of community-building events, social evenings, golf days etc, and you’ll find a deep concern for the construction community. Our members know that, regrettably, working in construction can be a life or death choice. Samat Rosikin suffered significant injuries after he fell from the second floor of a site, through high-voltage power lines and onto the concrete slab below. The Cambodian company that had employed him did not have insurance and Rosikin’s medical costs – as well as the living expenses of his family, including three children – were accumulating rapidly. The Club intervened and began paying his medical bills, living expenses and children’s school fees. The sole provider for his family suffered permanent injuries and will not be able to return to fulltime work. The intervention has helped this family rebuild. That Rosikin was injured on the job is scandalous, but not uncommon in fast-emerging Asian countries. Here, and elsewhere, the Club’s benevolence role also extends to educating contractors and employers of the need for insurance, proper health and safety practice, and care for workers. Understanding the importance of education, the Club takes great pride in sponsoring young members of the broader construction family to undertake formal tertiary training. In offering these scholarships, the Club’s ties to the industry are invaluable and we thank them for their generosity.

Student Yun Soheng studying in Cambodia.

Student Sorn Bunvisal, studying in Cambodia.


Benevolence

Hong Kong The charitable work undertaken by the Hong Kong branch stretches back to 1986, when the club and its Benevolent Fund were established. The fund’s first payments, HK$4,000, went to two families whose relatives were injured on construction sites. Through decades of iteration and growth, success and disappointment, the Club’s support for charitable causes now stretches into millions of Hong Kong dollars annually. There is a well-documented process for fund-raising efforts and a formalised structure to manage this most important task. Cordia Yu is the Deputy Chairman of the Benevolence subcommittee in Hong Kong. An active member of the branch 2001, she is the Director of Planning and Engineering Services at BKAsiaPacific (Hong Kong) Ltd. After a work-related accident or fatality, or a serious illness that incapacitates a family member, Ms Yu is likely to be the first person from the Club to get in touch.

Cordia Yu (in blue), Hong Kong member, with her fellow Mount Kinabalu climbers, raising funds for the Club. Darvin Lo & Elaine Man with Pink Helmets at a Contractors Dinner.

She has played a role in the club’s benevolence sub-committee since 2006, seeing first-hand the life-altering impact that work-related accidents have on individuals, families and communities. Sadly, her work for Club has remained constant, with the number of workplace accidents steady over the long term. Some cases are referred to us by the Hong Kong Construction Industry Employees General Union or the Association for the Rights of Industrial Accident Victims. The latter is a more general union, but we have dealt with them over a number of years so they only refer construction-related accidents to us as they know about the club’s criteria for assistance,” she told The Lighthouse. We also receive case referrals from our corporate and individual Lighthouse Club members

This arrangement ensures families can handle the immediate expenses that come after a traumatic accident at work, and the companies involved can help without involving lawyers or The use of Tied Donations, first put in place by developer MTR insurers. The Tied Donations put in place by MTRC and other Corporation in 1996 following an accident which killed six workers, large companies can result in almost instant financial relief for a is another example of how closely some of the biggest Hong Kong family in need, and ensure financial assistance until insurance or companies work with the Lighthouse Club. At that time, the compensation payments are finalised. Benevolent Fund had nowhere near enough uncommitted funds to meet the initial requirement of HK$100,000 to each family so this While helping people get back on their feet is a reward in itself, Ms was met by MTRC on the understanding that it would continue Yu says the club’s Family Outing Days are a source of great joy. to make significant cash payments to the Club, who in turn would “Seeing everyone share their experiences, make new acquaintances handle the finer details of administering the cash to the victims. and know they are not alone is very enjoyable,” she said.

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Benevolence

Families, supported by the Club as well as some of Hong Kong's large construction firms, enjoying a day out.

Seeing everyone share their experiences, make new acquaintances and know they are not alone is very life affirming. Cordia Yu Deputy Chairman, Benevolence sub-committee, Hong Kong

Ian Thoms of the Kowloon Canton Railway Corporation presents a cheque for $500,00.00 to Lighthouse Club Chairman Hugh S H Wu at the 1999 Annual Dinner. This sum is a tied donation, held to the order of the KCRC with the intention that amounts may be released from time to time to address the consequences of any serious accident on all KCRC capital works projects. The Lighthouse Club Benevolent Fund will hold this amount in an interest bearing bank account.

A company sponsored trip to an organic farm in Yuen Long was educational as well as fun.


Benevolence

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Benevolence

Macau The Macau branch of The Lighthouse Club is back into its cycle of bonhomie and benevolence after a four-month pause caused by the pandemic. Despite a low number of Covid-19 cases in the city, the economy has been hurt badly by the shutdown of the tourism sector, which has inspired a meaningful government response. The Macau Municipal Affairs Bureau has rolled out small public works worth more than MOP 100 million (US$12.5 million) to boost capacity and connectivity, while creating more than 1,200 jobs. While that work is ramping up, the focus of the Club has returned to weighing the social and individual benefits in building resilience from benevolence. There will be more good news from Macau as it builds its community outreach. In November 2019, a very sad case that was not reported in the press, was referred to the Lighthouse Club Macau by the Macau Construction Association. A PRC worker had fallen from height from a project in Taipa. Ever since surgery the patient has been in a vegetative state and the hospital advises there is not much more which can be done in the way of treatment. The patient needs 24 hours close monitoring and care. He is only 41 years old and has three children aged 8 to 11 years old. Due to the Covid-19 situation and current travel restrictions his wife has been unable to see her children since November. Lighthouse Club Macau has donated MOP 70,000 and will continue to support her and the family with certain payments for a further year. In May this year, a self-employed local worker was carrying out some household repair work in an apartment in Macau. He accidentally fell from the apartment balcony and was seriously injured. He spent six days in the hospital ICU but, unfortunately, passed away. He is survived by his wife. As the worker was self-employed, he had no employment compensation insurance and his wife spent MOP 180,000 for 6 days ICU medical care for her husband from her own pocket. In June, Lighthouse Club Macau presented the wife of the deceased a cheque for MOP 70,000.

When tragedy strikes, every little helps. A beneficiary receiving finanical aid from LHC Macau.

Malaysia Always active and forever social, the Kuala Lumpur branch has doubled down on its charitable efforts as the shutdown of building sites throughout Malaysia has brought into sharp focus the day-today needs of workers. The Club launched the Sharing is Caring Appeal in April, a fundraising drive to supply daily necessities to construction workers and their families. The funds raised are directed exclusively to families in the most desperate need. The funds raised are channelled into three main areas: essential needs, such as milk powder and rice needed to food on the table; financial support: emergency payments of up to RM 500 (US$120) for each family; and education programme: financial assistance to the families of students already sponsored by the Club’s scholarship programme.

A significant number of the industry’s workers in Malaysia have a limited formal education – as is the same elsewhere in Southeast This case is a good example of Safety Training being essential for Asia – and their options to provide an income to their dependents self-employed workers who take risks in carrying out their work and are also restricted. With a constrained social security framework to probably lack any formal safety training. offer support, the Club’s work is immensely important.


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Students receiving bursary awards from the Club in Kuala Lumpur.

Lighthouse Club Kuala Lumpur's recent initiative to help those in need.

Stepping Stones Childrens Home, another lucky beneficiary in Malaysia.

Malaysia is home to about 2 million migrant workers, according to the International Labour Organisation, and there is a concern that clusters of outbreaks will rage through the country’s worker dormitories. If you would like to contribute, the Kuala Lumpur Club is eager to hear from you. You can leave your details here https://forms.gle/YrWwkU3oFUdPoL9eA


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Student Min Zaw, Myanmar

Philippines In the 23-year history of the Philippines branch, the big picture emphasis has been on education. From contributing to the construction of a school in the impoverished Tondo district of Manila or helping build a children’s home in Tanay, east of the capital, through to the ongoing provision of scholarships, the Club has been instrumental in turning around the lives of thousands of Filipinos with more than US$315,000 invested since 2012. Philippines Student, Christine Joy Tampo, studying Business Administration

Student Aung Myint Thu, Myanmar

Philippines Student John Vincent Magpantay, studying Electrical Engineering The brave Chariabella Baptista, always smiling.

Myanmar Myanmar’s prosperous economy has stalled this year, with up to one-third of all businesses shuttered and about three-quarters of all companies affected, according to the Asia Foundation. Its survey of 750 businesses found that about 15 percent of local businesses have laid-off staff, with labourers and manual workers disproportionately affected. The government and international agencies, including the World Bank, have pledged to help but the need far outstrips the assistance pledged. Doubly important is the Club’s work to support charities such as E4Y or Education for Youth, a programme directed by a Swiss nongovernmental organisation that has operated in Yangon since 2002. Support from the Club goes towards the programme’s Centre for Vocational Training.


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The Manila-based branch currently supports about 50 students as they continue with their studies. The bursaries account for about 90 percent of the amount needed to provide a year’s worth of education. The remaining share is provided by corporate sponsors. The scholars are often school aged, although support is also provided to students at technical or training colleges. There are occasions where the Club will also help sponsor the medical costs associated with rare and complicated medical conditions, with a view to ensuring the recipients can get back to their studies. Chariabella “Bella” Bautista was born in Singapore in 2009 to a Filipino couple working in construction. Aged 2 months, Bella was diagnosed with a rare cancer of the eye, retinoblastoma. With both eyes removed and months of chemotherapy behind her, Bella has completed Grade 4 with support from the Lighthouse Club Asia Pacific Region Benevolent Trust.

Bursary cheque presentation from the Singapore Lighthouse Club committee.

Last June, when the malignancy returned, the Manila and Singapore branches, in league with the regional benevolent trust, funded the chemotherapy to send the cancer back into remission. Bella is an inspirational 11-year-old who consistently outperforms her peers at her mainstream school. She cannot wait to get back to school when Covid-19 restrictions are lifted.

Singapore The impact of Singapore’s Covid-19 outbreak has been felt disproportionately by workers in the construction sector. While the Lion City has escaped the pandemic’s effects relatively lightly, the coronavirus outbreak has been almost exclusively limited to the dormitories used to house foreign workers, with hundreds of cases being confirmed daily. By the end of last year, Singapore was home to 1.42 million foreign workers – about one-quarter of the entire population – and the vast majority were in low-pay, low-skill jobs. The construction industry is a major employer of migrant workers. The workers are housed in dorms that are typically bunkrooms with often a dozen or more workers in unhygienic conditions. The government has promised an overhaul of the regulations that dictate housing for foreign workers.

Food donations for migrant workers in Singapore. Lighthouse Club Singapore members raising funds during their Amazing Race

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The pressing need among these disadvantaged workers is immense and the Club has been working with charities to supply emergency meals and other necessities. A campaign inspired by a corporate member, Movex, raised more than US$10,000 for emergency assistance by late May. Much of that money has helped 70 individual workers and additionally we adopted a dormitory with 80 workers during the second circuit breaker period.

Thailand The Club’s Bangkok branch has a stalwart heritage in supporting workers in construction and their families since 1991. This branch has sought to promote a safer working environment in Thailand through training, printed safety literature, and other means. With an emphasis on education, the branch sponsored teachers working at the schools for workers children during the construction of the Suvarnabhumi Airport, and then the school built to serve families and workers at the Chaeng Watthana Government Complex.

Learning is fun when you can go to school! A construction site school in Bangkok. The temporary school structure of Bangya Preak site.

Most recently, there are at least three sponsored teachers within construction worker camps. The camps house mostly foreign workers that have migrated to Thailand in the hope of a better life. The children at the schools range in age from 3 to 15. Bangkok’s Mercy Centre has been an invaluable partner is helping the chapter’s outreach efforts. Latterly, with further assistance from the Asia-Pacific wide benevolent trust, set up in 1993 specifically to help those outwith Hong Kong, Bangkok’s construction site schools are a safe haven for those children who would otherwise be left to their own devices in an unsafe environment.

Vietnam The booming southern capital, Ho Chi Minh City, is home to some of the biggest construction sites in Southeast Asia. The Lighthouse Club’s compassionate work here is focused on education for the children of disadvantaged construction workers.

Students in Vietnam.

With the support of authorised charities such as Saigon Children, the Club provides scholarships to college and university students. Most recently, there were five students supported by the Club, each of whom studies at a tertiary institute in Ho Chi Minh City.


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“Aliis cum Humanitate� Consideration for Others 100%

of all donations go directly to the benevolent fund.

The funds provide financial first aid to those persons (and their dependent families) working in the construction industry who have suffered from consequence of death, injury or illness. We support low-income individuals and families either with a one-off payment or monthly payments to help with day to day living costs and education. The vast majority of the persons who have been assisted are not members of the Lighthouse Club and frequently have not heard of the Lighthouse Club, prior to receiving assistance. You can help us to continue to make a difference by referring any potential benevolent case to any member of the committee of the Lighthouse Club. We will look into the case and see if it is one that we can help. You can also help to make a difference by joining or rejoining the Lighthouse Club, paying your subscription and attending some of our events. The beneficiaries will always remember the Lighthouse Club for being there when things seemed hopeless.

If any individual or organization would like to make a donation to the Trust or Fund, please send to your donation to The Lighthouse Club Asia Pacific Region Benevolent Trust Suite 1901-2 Hopewell Centre 183 Queen's Road East Wan Chai, Hong Kong

Bank Account Details Account Name - The Lighthouse Club Asia Pacific Benevolent Trust Account Number - 004 808 642235 001 Bank - HSBC, 1 Queen's Road Central, Hong Kong


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United Kingdom and Ireland At the Club’s historic home in the British Isles, the focus has been on helping workers and families affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. The main vehicle has been the Construction Workers Family Crisis Appeal.

The demand to support the construction community has never been more clear. In Britain, two construction workers take their life every working day and stress, depression and anxiety account for a fifth of all work-related illnesses. Mr Hill said the pandemic added another layer of impact on workers in the industry. In year-on-year Launched in April, the appeal is the Club’s response to catastrophic terms, calls to the charity’s Construction Industry Helpline had impact the pandemic has had on the construction industry. By May, increased by more than 55 percent by the middle of May this year. more than £320,000 (US$405,320) had been raised, with every penny to go to supporting the community. The helpline is the first point of contact that many have with The Lighthouse Club. The 24/7 dial-in ‘phone service will help workers “We are absolutely astounded by the magnificent response we’ve in financial hardship access aid, deliver advice on occupational received so far. We’ve received huge support from the House health and mental wellbeing and deliver advice on legal, tax and Builders Federation and also from five tier-one construction debt matters. companies, the most recent of which is from Ferrovial Agroman who have made a significant contribution to our appeal,” says “Calls to the helpline have been desperately sad and we need to Bill Hill, the Chief Executive of the Lighthouse Construction do our utmost to ensure our construction community knows Industry Charity. we are here for them,” says Mr Hill. Among them was a family rebuilding after the tragic suicide of a worker who took his life after “The pandemic has decimated our national and regional events a site shutdown. Without income to keep the family going and calendar which has had a huge impact on our income. So, at a time pay the debts, the Club has provided emergency money to cover when the construction community needs their support the most, the family’s food and utilities bills, cleared their rent in arrears and we simply don’t have the resources to be able to respond in the face offered emotional support. of this ever-increasing cry for help.” Mr Hill said the Club has a moral obligation to the community and has sought help from the government, private sector and individuals to help the pandemic appeal reach its £1-million target. If you would like to make a contribution, donations may be made online.

The Lighthouse Club UK's construction industry helpline app.


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The Lighthouse Club's lighthouse - St Mary's, Whitley Bay, England.

Photo: John Wraith

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Life As A Migrant Worker In Singapore Written by: Nazrul Islam, 6 June 2020


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Nazrul Islam is a Migrant Worker who is currently an Assistant Safety Officer at LT Sambo Global Singapore. He has worked in Singapore for over ten years. Outside of work, he volunteers to promote the wellbeing of society and community in Singapore and Bangladesh.He is the Co-founder and Executive Committee Member of Help Societies International.

I was born and raised in Gopal Nagar, a village in Bangladesh. There were 21 members in my family. My father has been a battery manufacturer since 1990. In 2007, my father's business was shrinking and it was very difficult for him to bear the cost of family needs. It was difficult to have to forego my dreams of a higher education, but as the eldest son, I had a responsibility to the family. Therefore I dropped out of junior college to support my family’s needs as well as the educational needs of my younger siblings. I decided to move to Singapore, drawn by the promise of a stable salary. The move was a tough process that had many obstacles such as language barriers (I was not fluent in English then), a fear of public speaking and a lack of IT skills. The biggest challenge was a lack of sponsorship : Agent’s fees and documentation cost over US$3,000, which was about eight times the average salary then in Bangladesh. With determination and hard work, I was eventually able to overcome these challenges. In 2008, I started on my first project in Singapore, which was the construction of the iconic Marina Bay Sands. Initially, work was tough and challenging. I had to adapt to a new culture, and the stringent construction standards of Singapore, in addition to being away from my family. However, my mind was focused on learning more. I was very enthusiastic to develop my IT skills, but I did not have a computer nor access to the Internet then. In order to learn about computers, I volunteered at a computer shop at Mayo Street after work, and in return the staff taught me how to use a computer. After six months of hard work and repaying the debts I had incurred to move to Singapore, I was finally free to resume my pursuit of a higher education. In 2009, I started the Lifting Supervisor course, which was my first course to enhance my skills. This allowed me to be promoted to a supervisor, which increased my salary and allowed me to save for a formal education. I eventually earned a diploma in 2017, earning academic honors (The Pearson Gold Medal for Outstanding Learner) for outstanding performance.


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I didn’t stop there, as I knew that knowledge was my ladder to a better future. In 2019 I finally achieved my dream of a higher education, earning a Bachelor’s in Environmental Health and Safety from the University of Newcastle, Australia. As I did not manage to secure sponsorship, this academic journey has cost me over US$35,000 of my hard-earned savings, but it was worth every single cent. Outside of work, I am very passionate about personal and professional development. I regularly conduct training and knowledge sharing to the migrant workers at Shaw Lodge Dormitory. Some of the skills I teach include computer skills and English skills. I believe the language barrier is a huge challenge in the Built Environment industry for migrant workers. As the industry is rapidly pushing digitalisation efforts, proficiency in English is important to help the migrant workers to stay abreast with these progresses. To spread awareness to my migrant brothers on the importance of increasing their skills and language proficiency, I have established a Facebook page to connect with them. I also partner with organisations like SDI Academy, Sama Sama and Migrant Worker Centres (MWC) to advocate this message. When COVID-19 first arrived in Singapore, my friends and I, who are staying in dormitories, were very worried, knowing the damage done by the virus in China, Italy and other countries. We complied with the authority’s instructions to practice safe distancing measures, twice-daily temperature taking and wearing masks everywhere. We hoped that these measures would help Singapore to defeat the virus. However, the situation did not improve, and Singapore implemented the Circuit Breaker measures. All construction work stopped, and we were not allowed to leave our rooms. Food, which was sponsored by the Singapore government, would be delivered to our doorstep. We were initially told that these measures would last for a month (it was later extended to two months). Hearing the news of these measures felt like the sky had dropped on us. I was hit exceptionally hard as I am a very outgoing person and was always the last to return to my room.


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Time passed by very slowly during the lockdown. My roommates and I started to exercise together and have more discussions, which helped to make the situation more mentally manageable. We also found solace in knowing that the distancing would reduce the chances of us contracting the COVID-19 virus. However, in the middle of May, we were called up for a swab test and were shocked to find out that we had contracted the COVID-19 virus despite all the measures put in place. We did not display any symptoms at all and felt normal. We were quickly shifted to the Community Care facility at Singapore Expo, so that we could be isolated from the others who had contracted the virus. Upon arrival, we were put through a health screening, which included an X-Ray test. Thereafter we were cleared for admission into the facility and instructed by the doctor to report for health screenings three times a day, where our blood pressure, pulse oximeter and temperature would be monitored.

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While we were initially worried about our health, the big halls with ample walking spaces lifted our spirits. It was a welcome relief from being confined to our dormitory rooms for over a month. Approximately 500 people stayed in a hall, and there were only two residents to every room. Food collection, however, was a challenge as there was a long queue of 20-30 minutes every meal. As external food delivery was forbidden, I had to go hungry on occasions when I missed the opportunity to collect my meal. For Muslims like myself, the Hari Raya celebrations are a big part of our lives. Being confined in the facility, and being unable to participate in the usual festivities such as communal cooking, breaking fast and appreciating the traditional red date was an unusual experience. This is the first time in my life that I have celebrated the Hari Raya in a healthcare facility. Many of us adjusted to the circumstances and celebrated with our friends and families over virtual platforms. For my parents and my family back in Bangladesh, knowing that I was good and well taken care of, despite contracting the COVID-19 virus, was a cause for celebrations.

Despite the press coverage, I believe that Singapore has managed the COVID-19 situation very well and I am deeply appreciative of the tremendous efforts from the Government, NGOs , doctors, nurses and other frontline workers. I am looking forward to being discharged, and to start on my next goal of pursuing a Master’s degree.



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Key to post-pandemic life will be living in harmony with nature

At the cutting-edge of the practice of landscape architecture is an emphasis on well-being that is as old as time


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Text: Michael Hoare Images: WAF


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At about the same time the sabre-toothed tiger was dying out in the late Stone Age, small tribes of proto-people in the Middle East had worked out that plants, when looked after well, would look after us. They settled in towns, enclosed slices of wilderness and cultivated green plants. It led to a boom in our shared human history, and ultimately to us.

While our ancestors in the Middle East still hadn’t worked out how to make pottery, Stone Age humans had an idea that plants enhanced our lives in myriad ways. By the way, 12,000 years ago, our ancestors were almost certainly creating pottery in Mainland China. Homo sapiens innately understand that interaction with the natural world leads to profoundly positive outcomes. Increasing the amount of time people spend in green spaces is linked to reduced incidence of cancer and heart disease, and several academic papers conclude that gardeners have better mental health than the wider community. Canadian research published in Nature’s Scientific Reports found that residents of Toronto living in leafy areas reported fewer health complaints than their peers living in areas with fewer street trees. A 2009 study found that South Korean women recovering from surgery to remove their thyroid glands reportedly spent less time in hospital if they had flowers by their beds. It seems that proximity to water is also good for us. Take the example of marine biologist Wallace Nichols. In his book Blue Mind, he summarises his experience of a life lived in and around the Pacific Ocean. He concludes that being around water is healing and calming, and leads to reduced levels of anxiety.

Meishe River Greenway and Fengxiang Park Haikou, China

On the edge of Haikou, a city of more than 2.3 million people on the Chinese island of Hainan, Fengxiang Park offers a vision of nature-based solutions to limit the impact of urban development. After more than 40 years of relatively unconstrained development, the 23-km long Meishe River had become a lifeless concrete conduit polluted by sewage and steeped in toxic run-off funnelled into it from the streets by heavy monsoon rains. Piecemeal interventions had failed to revive the river and in 2016 the local government intervened with a plan for a holistic overhaul by Turenscape, a Mainland Chinese firm of more than 500 multidisciplinary design professionals. Turenscape delivered the 80-hectare Fengxiang Park and 13-km of engineered river corridor in a project that has improved water quality, re-established wildlife colonies, seen the comeback of mangroves and created new recreational opportunities.

If knowing nature is a net plus for humanity, the landscape architect deserves more credit for their work to structure the outdoors. Here we look at four outstanding examples of landscape architecture that The practice undertook civil engineering works to limit the runwere celebrated at the World Architecture Festival in Amsterdam last year. These designs incorporate hard and soft materials to renew off from the city’s existing stormwater and sewerage systems by creating a “green sponge”, a term used to describe an ecological and beautify, to do good and make us feel good..


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infrastructure based on terrain, land use and hydrological process that would separate stormwater from the sewage. The wetlands filtering the fouled water were connected with pedestrian and recreational networks, and the existing flood barriers remediated to natural riverbank. The waterway was opened to the ocean to permit a more natural tidal environment, which has facilitated the regrowth of mangroves. The interconnected terraces built beneath the river surface assist in cleansing the 6,000 tons of urban runoff each day that reach the wetlands. Mobile pre-treatment facilities are used to remove pathogens and odours. While centralised sewage treatment systems are unaffordable for some urban villages and settlements, the studio’s nature-based solution shows how water quality can be improved and land repurposed for public use.

Comprehensive Management of Youdian River Area Project Changning County, Yunnan, China

In a remote part of southwest China, some 585km by car from Kunming, is the rural county of Changning. The Comprehensive Management of Youdian River Area Project hopes to reconcile several environmental and social issues in the district with a single project, spanning three phases across an area of about 470 hectares.

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Comprehensive Management of Youdian River Area Project


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When completed this year, the project will create a regional system of parks connected by green corridors. The chain of parks should help remediate contamination of the land, clean up the waters of the Youdian, restore the ecology of the surrounding catchment and deliver public facilities.


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Yŏu Landscape Architecture Design was responsible for the first phase of the project, an ecological water management park called the Agricultural Wetland Park. The 89-hectare parcel of land has three zones: Wetland, Lakefront and Farmland. The Wetland Zone is a transition zone between the park and farmland that maintains the quality of water within in the entire system. Diversion canals hold water and control run-off water in the wet season, and improve public safety when the threat of flooding is high. Plantings in this zone enrich the park’s biodiversity and deliver opportunities for recreation. A food-production area, the Farmland Zone is home to traditional crops, rice and cauliflower. Additional income for the park comes from introduced crops such as sunflowers and verbena. This area is also home to a grid, 50m by 50m, with geometric “cloud” structures built for resting, playing, experiencing and sightseeing. The design inspiration originates from the image of clouds in the sky over agricultural land in Yunnan. Paths provide access to the surrounding ethnic villages, including to a plum treelined avenue and the Lakefront Zone where water fountains play and musical performances and lighting displays are regularly held.


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A defining feature of the work is the concept of grey architecture, or the fuzzy spaces and structures between architecture and landscape that have the personality of both architecture and landscape.

Daxing Ecological Civilisation Education Park Beijing, China

With the opening of the US$11.4-billion Beijing Daxing International Airport, the Daxing district is the new gateway to the Chinese capital. On the district’s northern edge lies Daxing Ecological Civilisation Education Park, a parkland that celebrates the area’s rural past and connects it to an urban future. The work by Cobblestone Design Canada was delivered in 2018 and is modelled after an ancient hand roll that unfolds from west to east. There are four related gardens across the park, each with event spaces, that celebrate the interface between the urban and the rural.

The grey architecture concept is heightened by the use of demolition waste materials. Brick, concrete and broken aggregate have found a new life as landscaped low walls, sculptures, drainage ditches and sculpted buffers. There are also prefabricated rubbish bins, pavements and stone gabion walls composed of these materials. The reshaped terrain has a role in capturing summer’s heavy rainfall and storing it. The land is designed to increase plant habitats and house new plant communities, including wet and aquatic plants. Wet plants interweave between dried pebbles and sparkling water, and scatter rocks in part to set off the wild and natural scenery, like a wild crane, out of the dust. Several knowledge columns illustrate the importance of water in the ecosystem, the practices and functions of wetland ecosystems and constructed wetlands.

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Culture of Water Ecology Park Changchun, Jilin, China

Abutting a densely populated residential zone in the capital of Jilin province, the Changchun Culture of Water Ecology Park regenerates a water purification plant with an 80-year history. The disused Changchun No. 1 Water Treatment Plant was an essential element in the growth of the industrial city of more than 7.6 million people. Its industrial significance was important to celebrate and its green space a rarity worth preserving in this highly urbanised city. W & R Group led the design of the 50,000-square-metre park. Their work maintains the context of the plant, reuses the built environment and reduces the secondary damage to the established environment caused by the reuse of historical buildings. The site sees the adaptive reuse of the site, with buildings protected and materials reused on the site.

The design has three defining themes; integrated architecture and landscaping, a design to create a slowly evolving animal and plant ecosystem, and strict control. The net effect of this discipline is what the practice calls an “urban symbiosis� between the community, the natural environment and historical sites. Research on the composition, quantity, distribution pattern, habitat, ecological habits and seasonal dynamics of the flora and fauna, led to the clean up of invasive tree species and the reintroduction of native plants. Native animals are coming back to the site. With the completion of the park, the city gained a green forest in its centre and the improvement of urban facilities. Rents among the businesses located in the park have grown steadily and the social groups that occupy the park’s spaces are extremely active.


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Branch report – Hong Kong

Researching for the Common Good A decade of research efforts for construction safety Heat stress may lead to serious health conditions and even death. It also reduces productivity of construction workers. Researchers from the Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University care about the wellbeing and safety of construction workers and have spent the past decade conducting researches on ways to minimise the occurrence of heat stress. Their recommended work-rest schedule is now part of the Construction Industry Council’s guidelines, while their Anti-heat Stress Uniform is the standard attire for all public works contracts.

A

ccording to Hong Kong Observatory, 2019 was the warmest year on record, with the highest temperature of 35.1°C registered on 9 August. While the government consistently urges its citizens to stay in the shade in summer, not all workers have that option, including the unsung hero behind Hong Kong’s economic growth – construction workers. They are at risk of heat stress that not only compromises productivity and increases incident rate, but also leads to serious health hazards, such as heat exhaustion, heat stroke, and even death. As an ongoing effort to improve the wellbeing and safety of construction workers in Hong Kong, Ir Prof. Albert Chan, head of the Department of Building and Real Estate, as well as Able Professor in Construction Health and Safety, and his research team have spent the past decade conducting researches on ways to tackle the lurking risk of heat stress among construction workers in the hot and humid summer. Their findings on the optimal work-rest schedule to minimise the occurrence of heat stress were now part of the Construction Industry Council’s guidelines. Their interdisciplinary project to devise the optimal work clothing on construction site gave rise to the multi-award winning Anti-heat Stress

Uniform (AHSU), now a standard worker attire for all public works contracts commissioned by the government. Besides Hong Kong, AHSU is also adopted in other parts of the world, benefitting construction worers across the board. Optimal work-rest schedule Heat stress is the condition when the human body can no longer get rid of excess heat and regulate its internal temperature. It is caused by environmental factors such as air temperature, humidity, solar radiation and ventilation, as well as the clothing worn and strenuousness of the work. “To reduce the risk of heat stress, our team built a heat stress model to scientifically determine an optimal work-rest schedule that strikes a balance between productivity and worker’s health,” explained Prof. Chan. The team found that a 15-minute break after working for 120 minutes continuously in the morning, and a 20-minute break after working for 115 minutes continuously in the afternoon effectively maximise productivity and minimise the occurrence of heat stress.


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Such recommendations were adopted in the Guidelines on Site Safety Measures for Working in Hot Weather by the Construction Industry Council (CIC). Anti-heat Stress Uniform Another method to prevent heat stress is by improving the heat and moisture performance of workers’ attire. In the past, most local male workers went shirtless in summer to keep themselves cool, yet exposing themselves to harmful ultraviolet rays and other hazards. Prof. Chan and his team partnered with experts in occupational safety, textile science and sports science from universities in the Chinese mainland, Taiwan, Hong Kong and the U.K. to design the optimal clothing for construction workers.

To give back to the community, PolyU licensed the technology to CIC for a nominal fee. CIC duly ordered 20,000 sets for its trainees and recommended AHSU as the standard attire on construction The resulting multi-award winning AHSU offers protection against sites. In 2017, the Civil Engineering and Development Department ultraviolet rays and has outstanding breathability and sweat wicking also included a term in all public works contracts stating AHSU as properties. “The uniform is made up of a polo shirt top and cargo the standard uniform for all workers. pants bottom, both made with advanced fabrics that leverage nanotechnology to wick sweat away from the skin so that they feel Within the first year, contractors and organisations in Hong drier and more comfortable. Kong ordered about 100,000 sets. The project has also made international impacts as AHSU was licensed to governmental At the same time, sweat is evaporated more effectively because of a agencies and manufacturers in Macau, the Middle East and larger surface area while heat is absorbed from the skin. That is why Cambodia, a testimonial on how research can change the world the uniform also feels cooler,” said Prof. Chan. for the better. In the trial, workers wearing AHSU exhibited lower core temperature, reduced heart rate and better physiological strain index comparing to those in their usual work attire. Over 85% of the subjects preferred AHSU to their regular uniform. Source: Technology Frontier by PolyU, April 2020 issue


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Branch report – Singapore

Impact of COVID-19 on the Singapore Construction Market Written by: Conrad Campos (CFA, FSIArb, Acc Spec), 08 June 2020


Branch report – Singapore

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The impact of COVID-19 on the construction industry will be dealt with in 2 parts. In part 1, we discuss the control measures taken by the Singapore Government, the relief measures that have been passed into law, as well as government assistance rendered to the construction industry. In Part 2, we will discuss the rights and obligation under the more popularly used standard forms in Singapore, especially where they relate to time and costs issues, including the legal principles in relation to force majeure and frustration.

Introduction

T

he COVID-19 pandemic has wreaked havoc on the world. According to the BBC, as at 6 June 2020, there are more than 6.7 million confirmed cases in 188 countries with nearly 400,000 deaths. In an attempt to control the spread of the infection, whole cities and indeed countries have gone into lockdowns, disrupting supply chains and daily life, and suspending normal business activity. In Singapore, the Prime Minister announced on Friday, 3 April 2020 that stricter social distancing measures would be implemented from 7 April 2020 to create a circuit breaker for the spread of the disease. The COVID-19 (Temporary Measures) Act (the “Act”) was passed in Parliament on 7 April 2020 to provide, among other things: a. b.

Control measures restricting the movement of people and the suspension of business activity except for essential services from 7 April to 4 May 2020, with extensions if necessary; and Temporary relief to parties who are unable to perform their contractual obligations as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the construction sector in Singapore, the Building and Construction Authority (BCA) issued an advisory on 5 April that all building and construction works are to cease until 1 June 2020, except for essential services. Leading up to the implementation of the circuit breaker control measures, the Singapore government announced a slew of support measures to provide assistance in (i) manpower levies (ii) construction and supply contracts, (iii) business development and (iv) cashflow and business sustainability. A comprehensive list of support measures can be found at https://www1.bca.gov.sg/ COVID-19/support-measures-for-built-environment-sector-firms. Following the cessation of the extended circuit breaker period from 2 June 2020, construction works have been allowed to resume in phases but in a safe and controlled manner. More information on the safe and controlled restart of the construction sector from 2 June 2020 can be found at https://www1.bca.gov.sg/COVID-19

Temporary Relief for the Performance of Supply and Construction Contracts The supply chain disruptions for materials, labour, plant and equipment have slowed down construction activity and the control measures from 7 April 2020 to 4 May 2020 have effectively brought construction activity to a halt. Re-opening will also take time. These clearly have time and cost implications for the construction industry, but many of the construction and supply contracts entered into prior to the outbreak of COVID-19 may not have envisaged a pandemic or adequately provided for one. How do the different parties then address the time and cost issues caused by the COVID-19 Pandemic? The Act goes some way to provide relief as well as limit the potential mushrooming of expensive litigation. Application of the Act The Act only applies to Scheduled Contracts entered into before 25 March 2020 in respect of obligations that had to be performed on or after 1 February 2020. Construction and supply contracts as defined in the Building and Construction Industry Security of Payment Act (“SOPA”) are Scheduled Contracts, including those to which the government is a party. What this means is that the Act will not affect any rights or obligations accruing in respect of delays or breaches prior to 1 February 2020. It also means that parties entering into contracts from 25 March 2020 must take steps to provide for the foreseeable implications of the COVID-19 pandemic in respect of the performance of the contract. General Reliefs under the Act Section 5 of the Act prohibits certain legal actions from being taken against a party to a Scheduled Contract (“A”) who is unable to perform a contractual obligation to a material extent caused by a COVID-19 event (the “subject inability”) and party A has served a notification to the counterparty to the contract (“B”) for relief (“Notification for Relief ”), and as may be applicable, other relevant parties.


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Branch report – Singapore

The Act defines a “COVID-19 event” as: a. b.

the epidemic or pandemic that is COVID-19; or the operation of or compliance with any law of Singapore or another country or territory, or an order or direction of the Government or any statutory body, or of the government or other public authority of another country or territory, being any law, order or direction that is made by reason of or in connection with COVID-19.

That the inability to perform must be caused to “a material extent” by a COVID-19 event suggests that relief may not be available to a contractor who would not in any event have been able to perform had there not been a pandemic. B cannot take legal action until: a. b. c.

d. e. f. g. h.

A’s guarantor or surety or the appointment of a receiver over the property or undertaking of A or A’s guarantor or surety; the commencement or levying of execution, distress or other legal process against any property of A or A’s guarantor or surety; the repossession of any goods under any chattels leasing agreement, hire-purchase agreement or retention of title agreement, being goods used for the purpose of a trade, business or profession (e.g. plant and equipment); termination of a scheduled contract (being a lease or license of immovable property) whether the subject inability is the non-payment of rent or other moneys, or the exercise of a right of re-entry or forfeiture; enforcement against A or A’s guarantor or surety of any judgment, arbitral award under the Arbitration Act, or adjudication determination under SOPA; and Any other action that may be prescribed.

after the Prescribed Period ends, or A withdraws the Notification for Relief, or an assessor determines that the case does not fall within Additional Reliefs under the Act for the section 5 of the Act. Construction Industry

The Prescribed Period commenced on 20 April 2020 and will end on 19 October 2020.

In the case of construction and supply contracts, the further additional reliefs are:

The legal actions that are prohibited are:

a. b. c.

a. b. c.

the commencement or continuation of court action, or arbitration proceedings under the Arbitration Act, against A or A’s guarantor or surety; the enforcement of security over immovable property, or movable property used for purpose of trade, business or profession; applications for a s210 scheme of arrangement, judicial management order, winding up or bankruptcy of A or

“B” may not make a call on a performance bond in relation to the subject inability for which A has given Notification for Relief until 7 days before the date of expiry of the performance bond or such extended date. Where A makes an application to the issuer of the performance bond not less than 7 days before the expiry date to extend the term of the performance bond and serves a notice of the application on B at the same time, the term of the performance bond shall be extended to a date that is 7 days after the end of the Prescribed Period of relief or such other date as may be agreed between A, B and the issuer. A freeze on liquidated damages or other delay damages arising as a result of the subject inability occurring on or after 1 February 2020 but before the expiry of the Prescribed Period of relief.

“A” has to activate the right to relief by a Notification for Relief The relief measures under the Act do not operate automatically as parties who intend to seek relief are required to serve a Notification for Relief on the relevant parties within the period specified in regulations. Any party to the contract in question may then apply for an assessor’s determination. The appointed assessor may take into account, among other factors, the ability and financial capacity of the party concerned to perform


Branch report – Singapore

the obligation and must seek to achieve an outcome that is just and equitable in the circumstances of the case. It will thus be a case-bycase analysis when it comes to the question of whether these new measures are applicable to each individual. An assessor’s determination is binding on all parties to the application and all parties claiming under or through them and may be enforced in the same manner as a judgement or an order of the court to the same effect with the leave of court. No appeal lies from an assessor’s determination. There is no right of legal representation before the assessor, and each party has to bear his own costs of the proceedings before the assessor. SOPA proceedings The Act does not prohibit the submission of payment claims for the purpose of SOPA. Hence, it is important that respondents submit their payment responses in time. Similarly, the Act does not prohibit the lodging of adjudication applications, and respondents will have to ensure that adjudication responses are submitted within the 7-day deadline.

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It should however be noted that where the Act applies, adjudication determinations may not be enforced against A. This prohibition however should not apply to obligations arising before 1 February 2020 or in respect of contracts made or renewed from 25 March 2020. In addition, A must have given a Notification for Relief.

Conclusion It is hoped that with the above control measures taken by the government, the COVID-19 pandemic can be quickly brought under control, and that with the financial assistance and temporary relief measures, the adverse legal and financial implications for participants in the construction industry may be mitigated.

www.rhtlawasia.com


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