• Quiet Achievers

    7 July 2015

    The sophisticated finishes on Henderson Land’s Double Cove development are the work of a heritage business – Chun Fung Construction Ltd. – with a track record offour decades in construction.

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    Chun Fung Construction Ltd. drew on almost 40 years’ experience when it came to tackling one of their biggest projects to date – Henderson Land’s Double Cove development in Ma On Shan.

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    The five-phase project offers apartments from one to four-bedrooms, as well as a select number of garden units and penthouses, ranging in size from 55.7 square metres to 186 square metres with varying layout options.

    With its sophisticated design, the 21-tower residential development required complex exterior and interior fit-out work, including more than 118,000 square metres of aluminium cladding – all delivered in an exceptionally tight timeframe.

    Chun Fung Construction Ltd. Manager, Philip Cho, said the company faced many challenges in delivering the volumes of high-specification exterior finishes, the engineering behind the development’s striking feature lighting in its grand driveway entrance, and the detailed interior fit-outs that included the building’s lift lobbies, typical floor apartment kitchens and bathrooms and the expansive clubhouse, including its indoor swimming pool area.

    Up for a challenge

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    Philip Cho says the first step was to work on the exterior aluminium cladding of the striking-looking building, with its dark exterior punctuated by orange detailing as envisioned by master architect Lord Richard Rogers.

    “We got the job in early 2012 and because it was Phase One we had some design challenges that needed to be overcome,” he says.

    Aluminium cladding for Phase One was installed inside a three-month window. From the company’s manufacturing facilities in mainland China, trucks rolled day and night, with a team of more than 300 workers taking new daily deliveries.

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    They completed the job on deadline, with the final panels going up just as the scaffolding came down. In addition to the need for labour and materials for the project, such a large workforce required strong management. Philip Cho made daily site visits with the team to ensure the work was on track and on schedule.

    “Although we have 300 people we keep close control to maximise production,” he says. “When you have a big number of people it is hard to have full efficiency, you have to monitor the project closely. That was another big challenge.”

    One of the development’s most interesting features are the “UFO” lights that line the public thoroughfare through the landscaped gardens. Philip Cho says the combination of metal exterior cladding and polycarbonate covering was a totally bespoke touch, designed, developed and manufactured in house.

    “The mould is tailor-made and we spent a lot of time on this,” he said. “It was trial and error for our designer and construction team. The first few times we failed as we could not make it totally flat. You have to be very precise with the dimensions.”

    Curly questions

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    With the exteriors underway, Chun Fung turned their attention to the building’s interiors. “Like the exterior, the timeframe was very short and they wanted to finish the clubhouse to sell Phase One.”

    Philip Cho says the clubhouse presented its own hurdles.

    “The clubhouse is not like the typical floors where we’re able to finish one floor and copy that, repeated. It’s a massive scale but you learn to refine the process. Doing the clubhouse area is like doing several special projects,” he says. “We had to finish the entrance first in 45 days and then after that we had three months to complete the clubhouse, including the swimming pool, the basketball court, 3-D theatre, flight simulator and bowling alley.”

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    Philip Cho said much of the interior used marble sourced from the mainland, they had staff members on full-time quality control to reject pieces that were not up to standard. Of particular merit, is the more than 4,000 pieces of stone used to cover the 3-metre and 6-metre high supporting columns.

    “Almost all the walls and floors and even the columns used marble,” he said. “The marble is another challenge. The 71 concave supporting columns in the common areas are round. Our stone supplier needed to cut the marble in a curve and this takes time, plus there are not many factories that can do that.

    “We were pushing the stone supplier to cut faster but I understood they needed to take time. One piece needs hours to cut so they took more than a month to produce all the product.”

    Seen in high places

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    Philip Cho says the volume of work installing marble also meant the same rigorous, hands-on management.

    “It’s like the cladding work, but this time we have the marble,” he said. “It’s just the same, every day the truck comes with the stone and we unload the whole truck and the next day we do that again. Within one month the whole clubhouse was covered with marble because the marble needed to be finished first and then we put the dry things on like the wood.”

    The company continued to innovate when it came to the indoor swimming pool, using a special cement board for the sculptural ceiling elements. The company’s ability to be agile and respond to custom design and delivery requirements can be linked to the vision of company founder, Cho Yuk Ting – Cho’s father.

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    Mr Cho senior, who is still actively involved in day-to-day operations, started the company almost 40 years ago as a plastering firm. His son said his father’s vision has meant the company has been able to grow and diversify to keep up with construction trends.

    “The secret of his success is that he can do the job right from the ground up and he had the vision to develop the company and take it in new directions,” he says.

    “Thirty to forty years ago plastering was the main finish for residential interiors and exteriors. And now in the past 10 or 20 years clients have started to upgrade the inside fitting-out and they do marble, they do all the wood finishes and then we start to do that business and now that has become our main business.”

    Philip Cho says the company has an enduring relationship working with Henderson Land, built over time.

    “You have many challenges in every job that you do. Many unforeseen things will come up but you need to prepare for them and accept this is construction. I need to face it and find a way through it to meet the deadlines,” he says.


     

     

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