CIBSE YEN Hong Kong trip - Day 1

This week, CIBSE Young Engineers Network (YEN) are in the enviable position of visiting Hong Kong to attend the YEN Conference, as well as meeting fellow engineers and seeing some of the amazing buildings the city has to offer. All week, we will be bringing you blogs and Tweets from the days - which you can see by checking out this page, and by following #YEN15 on Twitter.

Here are our Young Engineer's thoughts from Day 1, as they arrive in the city and let us know their thoughts!


The team arrive in Hong Kong
 ©Jason Smith

Carla Bartholomew,  YEN CIBSE Council Representative

So, finally I find myself sat on flight CX250, anxious and exciting for the 11 hour journey from UK to Hong Kong.  As I look around at the group of 16 young engineers preparing themselves for the trip with vigour, I feel very honoured and grateful to have the opportunity to be a part of it.

The HK Branch and YEN HK have been working tirelessly to develop a seamless programme, which truly represents life and work as a building services engineer in Hong Kong. Looking over the week’s events I can feel myself getting very excited and eager to meet my old YEN HK friends; Mandy,  Eve, whom I have had the privilege of meeting at past YEN Chairs Conferences, and also the rest of the YEN HK team.

Over the years, HK Branch have sponsored the YEN HK chair and vice chair go attend the technical symposium and YEN Chairs Conference following, and I am most looking forward to returning their resolute dedication, by bringing a global representation of YEN; to understand what life as a young engineer is like in Hong Kong.

Developments which I am very interested to learn about are the design of high rise buildings, how they view sustainability and ensure it is integrated into design, and to what extent. This I hope shall be answered in our visits to the ICC, and Zero Carbon building, I would like to get an insight into what they see as the future of engineering, not just in HK but globally. Does this match with what our other Centre's views are (based on their geographical location). 

I am anticipating that, like the technical symposium in London,  key issues and current thinking in design, building physics, analysis and research, will be revealed at the HKIE Technical Symposium on the fourth day of the trip. I am also hoping that we shall see an equal measure of young engineers presenting their work and findings, to those at more senior levels, as it does at the UK symposium.

For me, YEN is a support network for those who need guidance, professional reassurance and a general forum where they feel they can ask the “stupid question”, pose new ideas and share fears, worries, concerns and triumphs with other like-minded engineers. 

I like seeing those connections being made and the forming of strong and fruitful friendships. Our industry is a very small world and often it’s your connections which can help you along the way, both professionally and personally. I am constantly in awe of those incredible and talented people I have met through my work with YEN.

Jerrin Prius, The Fletcher Construction Company, New Zealand

In general for this trip would be how buildings are designed in Hong Kong, especially considering the climate and geography.  More specifically I am more than looking forward to the visit to the International Commerce Centre and the technical symposium. Plus meeting new people and learning about building services in their respective countries.

What inspired me to get into engineering would be a few things. My interest to improve things, to improve a process or function. Why limit a system to do one thing when it can do more. Secondly I like to design and build things. I am a firm believer in utilising new technology in different ways. E.g. would be the use of drones or UAV in a construction site, since that is where I work every day. 

The YEN Delegates are welcomed with a traditional banquet
©Elie Choufani

I am really excited about new developments in BIM and how organizations are using it around the world. I am hoping for some in the technical symposium. Especially the integration of seismic design in BIM since it is a hot topic in NZ. 

I am hoping to learn about new technologies and systems in building services and how I can take that info and apply to projects in NZ. Also networking with fellow young engineers around the world and learn about their experiences and knowledge. 

To be part of YEN is a great way to connect with other building services engineers to share ideas and knowledge. Also for me it is a gateway to introduce building services to future engineers in New Zealand.

Graham Stewart, ARUP

View from the ICC Observation Deck

©Graham Stewart
We’ve just completed our first full day so time for a spot of reflection. I very much anticipated that this would be a very interesting trip and so far it has not disappointed both from an educational and cultural perspective.

The welcome from our colleagues in Hong Kong has been fantastic and we have discussed so many 
aspects of work and life with them already. It is excellent to get to know our YEN counterparts in HK and from other places around the world who have travelled to Hong Kong. It is also very interesting to meet with colleagues from my company in HK and discuss in detail some of the aspects of working for the same company in different locations. This has only been made a reality as a result of the opportunity to travel to the YEN global conference.

I have previously worked for 6 months in Shanghai within the People’s Republic of China (and visited Hong Kong during this time) so am particularly interested in understanding the differences not only between Hong Kong and the UK, but also between what I know of the PRC and Hong Kong. 

Having been in this part of the world before the trip would for me be focussed on the people I meet and the engineering and culture of working exchange.

Today’s series of seminars were very interesting from a political, logistical and economic respect showing some similarities and the clear differences in the way Hong Kong operates compared with the UK and the PRC. I was also able to fill many gaps of my understanding of Hong Kong. 

There was some interesting discussion amongst the delegates and presenters today which stimulated discussion about where the engineering, economic and operational priorities lie within the sector for different regions around the world.

Today’s tour of the ICC was an eye opener. On a purely technical stance I have gained some interesting insight into the technical aspects of design and construction of “super tall” buildings today which I hope to use should I be involved in the appropriate project. 

Roll on day two.
Andrea Larkin, Laing O'Rourke 
Finally, today in the day of the CIBSE YEN trip to Hong Kong. As the current Vice Chair, I have been given the opportunity to represent the Scottish CIBSE YEN committee. When asked if I would be interested in going on this trip I jumped at the chance as, in my eyes, it was a once in a life time opportunity.

Since graduating in 2013 from Heriot Watt University in Edinburgh, I have spent the past 2 years working as a graduate MEP Digital Engineer for a large contractor in various locations throughout the UK. This has highlighted to me the significant differences in the way we work and how our methods of best practice can differ from North to South.

During the trip, one of the things I am most looking forward to is learning about how our colleagues in the Building Services Industry work in Hong Kong with such a vast difference in culture. The use of innovation has varied the way we work globally in construction, and as Hong Kong is known for its advanced use of technology I am very interested to see how this is applied within the construction industry.

The EMSD district cooling plant
As a Digital Engineer for Laing O'Rourke, one of my main roles is to facilitate the use of innovative technology to make the design and build process more efficient. This places a huge emphasis on the way we work, highlighting the many opportunities we currently have to increase the quality of service and product we deliver to our clients.

One of the factors I believe is key to succeeding in this process is collocation. Therefore, through networking with our colleagues in Hong Kong and various site visits planned to take place, one of my main objectives for the trip is learn about the BIM process in Hong Kong and how it is actively being applied on live projects in comparison to the UK.

From this trip, I hope to build strong relationships with not only the Hong Kong YEN committee but also wider members of the Building Services community. Being a part of YEN gives me the opportunity to connect with industry members from all backgrounds, which I find exceptionally valuable. In such a fast paced, changing industry, I believe that we can learn so much from one another and the opportunity to expand my network on a global scale will be an invaluable experience.

The Young Engineers engage with the panel on HCFCs

With so many fantastic site visits, presentations and day trips planned, I look forward  to the coming day's events with the global YEN community.


  1. Fantastic words and photos guys, once again demonstrating the truly international reach and influence of the work we do. Have fun!


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