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Safety
17 February 2022 By L. Cheung , J. Tam, A, Ng and D. Tsim HK Land Consulting team
Following Hong Kong’s landslides in 1972, Fugro in Hong Kong has been providing the Government, geotechnical engineering services to mitigate the risk of potential landslides due to extreme weather. Over the years, the company has innovated award-winning solutions that consider sustainability and climate change, revolutionising the geotechnical engineering services industry.

Hong Kong has a long history of landslide disasters brought on by extreme weather, most notably in June 1972, when the territory was devastated by a series of major landslides that cost over 150 lives and destroyed several apartment complexes and houses. The Hong Kong government knew it had to take action to fortify the city’s resilience against serious landslides and, in 1973, hired Fugro as the first company to provide geotechnical engineering services locally.

Back in 2010, in the interests of public safety the Geotechnical Engineering Office (GEO) of the Hong Kong Government’s Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) embarked on a landslip prevention and mitigation programme. Fugro was responsible for the investigation, design, construction supervision and administration of this vital contract.
Fugro has used its vast geotechnical expertise to undertake many slope engineering designs, upgrading and mitigation works since the Hong Kong government launched its first landslip prevention measure programme in 1995. Its engineering designs evolved over time to meet demand and now consider social inclusion, environmental responsibility, sustainability, innovation and climate change. This has resulted in several award recognitions over the years

Thinking out of the box

The team's recent award-winning design, awarded by the Hong Kong SAR Government, incorporated a few pioneering ideas, including:

  • a “sunken” main structure to lower the overall profile against adjacent terrain,
  • grasscrete and colouring of the interior to reduce visual contrast,
  • planter boxes with native species to encourage vegetation growth and assimilation with surrounding areas, and
  • 3D exterior facades to mimic rock outcrop and traditional masonry walls.

Fugro ’s automated 3D modelling tools have significantly enhanced the capability and speed of its 3D modelling work.

Fugro ’s automated 3D modelling tools have significantly enhanced the capability and speed of its 3D modelling work.

“In recent years, we’ve added a digital component to our consulting services by introducing Web-Apps to facilitate real-time monitoring of the groundwater level.”
Fugro

Harnessing digital solutions

In recent years, Fugro has also extended its consultancy services by integrating innovative digital works with its conventional engineering consultancy to the Hong Kong government and major utility companies. One example is the addition of its online groundwater Web-Apps to its instrumentation services line to facilitate real-time monitoring of the groundwater level at the mid-level area of Hong Kong Island at locations where the stability of the natural terrain is vulnerable to high levels of groundwater.

Using drone technology to remotely map rock slopes and reduce risk

Remote mapping of rock slopes and reduce risk 

The industry leader in BIM application

Fugro has also recently incorporated the application of building information modelling (BIM) technology to improve the quality of geotechnical engineering design works and has developed a set of automated 3D modelling tools, which have significantly enhanced the capability and speed of its 3D modelling work. As a result, Fugro is recognised as one of the forerunners in BIM application in the local geotechnical engineering industry. 

With this capability, the company has made use of its hand-held laser scanner to collect field data, geological mapping, landslide emergency inspections and digital twin applications with the use of 3D printing.

Remote mapping of rock slopes to reduce risk

Consistent with the Fugro’s “3S Together” Think Safe, Work Safe, Stay Safe approach, Fugro has innovated its approach to developing a safer, more efficient and more sustainable way of carrying out the mapping of rock slopes by implementing a digital data collection and analysis methodology using drone technology and remote sensing techniques. While traditional methods involved physically measuring and collecting data on the rock slope surface, which could be time-consuming and placed its geoscientists and engineers at potential risk, the new approach aims to reduce and eventually eliminate such risks.

The digital rock slope mapping (DRSM) technique, developed in-house, will also help to reduce the company’s impact on the environment and improve productivity and value to its clients. The technique is equally adaptable to single-assessment and engineering design as it is to multi-phased surveys and continuous slope stability monitoring.

Fugro Drones

Using drone technology to remotely map rock slopes and reduce risk 

Innovating into the future

Fugro will continue to leverage its decades of industry-leading experience in land site characterisation and engineering designs to provide a foundation to innovate. By further integrating automation and robotics, the company will continue to enhance its resilience and sustainability to climate change and provide accurate Geo-data to its clients.  

Did you know?

Hong Kong was devastated by a series of major landslides in June 1972 that claimed over 150 lives and destroyed several apartment complexes and houses.  

 

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