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Ground force

Hong Kong Government's Works Bureau is under increasing pressure to accept unforeseen ground risk because it is virtually alone among Hong Kong clients in offloading it onto contractors.

Other public sector clients, such as the Mass Transit Railway Corporation, are increasingly seeing the need to accept at least some ground risk Many in the Hong Kong construction industry argue that forcing contractors to take on this risk makes them price in the uncertainty or cut corners.

Corner cutting was most recently in evidence on a high rise housing estate in Sha Tin new town. There, blocks of flats had to be demolished after piles were found to have been constructed too short. As a result the Housing Authority has said it will take on unforeseen ground risk to prevent this happening again Unpredictable ground conditions are a particular problem for Hong Kong contractors. Many major buildings and structures are built on large areas of reclaimed land containing boulders and buried structures.

Faults and underground caverns can also force contractors to construct deeper than expected piles.

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