Construction cost for building the Liantang/ Heung Yuen Wai boundary control point have sky rocketed by HK$500 million.
The cost have been attributed to a decline manpower efficiency, according to the permanent secretary for development Mr Wai Chi. The project which commenced on the 11th April 2013 mainly comprises site formation of about 23 hectares of land for provision of Boundary Control Point (BCP) buildings and associated facilities, construction of about 11km long dual 2-lane Connecting Road linking up the BCP with Fanling Highway, associated diversion/modification works at existing local roads and junctions, drainage, sewerage, waterworks and landscaping works.
Wai speaking on a TVB program yesterday, said that there are multiple reasons behind the cost overruns.
“In comparison over the past 10 years, the number of workers on the same job has doubled, depending on the projects,” Wai said, adding the industry faces manpower problems owing to aging workers and those who lack necessary skills. Although there are more than 330,000 registered workers, only 260,000 actually work.
Wai said the number of workers needs to be increased to meet the high demands of environmental protection and occupational safety.
“For example, working hours are shorter at night. Also, more demand is placed on workers when they have to produce quality work and use high-quality materials,” he said.
And, despite some workers getting a pay rise, “in general the increase is only a few percent,” he said.
Wai said a lack of skilled workers lowers the efficiency of the construction industry.
“An appropriate supply of skilled workers does need more consideration.”
He also called for the Legislative Council Finance Committee to approve the government application for additional funding to build the controversial boundary control point. If the application is not passed by Legco, this will affect the 2018 target opening date for the control point.
“The finished construction might then be a wasted resource,” he said
Foundation works for the Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai boundary control point have begun on both of the Hong Kong and Shenzhen sides. He hopes there will not be any further delay caused by filibustering in Legco. The expiry date for the tender will be at the end of this month, he said.
“If the tender is to be restarted, there will be another cost overrun, and this is estimated to be around HK$500 million.
“Even if the contractor is willing to extend the time of the tender, the delay in the whole construction will also lead to an increase in costs.”
The project has already exceeded its original estimate of HK$16.2 billion, by HK$8.1 billion.