Underground Engineering

Chua Gim Hock faces the challenges of building an underground MRT station with minimal disruption to the busy streets above it.

To overcome the challenge of land scarcity, Singapore has been ­constantly exploring underground space to meet the needs of infrastructure construction. Engineers play a critical role in developing subterranean infrastructures. In meeting this challenge, they also have an ­important role in sustainable development and ­preserving natural resources.

Gim Hock embarked on his journey in the built environment sector in 2012, when he was awarded the BCA-Industry Built Environment Undergraduate ­Scholarship jointly offered by BCA and KTC Civil ­Engineering & Construction Pte Ltd.

The scholarship provided Gim Hock with a head start in his career with a myriad of learning opportunities. The company believes in developing young engineers both in terms of knowledge and soft skills, in line with their personal beliefs and ­ambitions. His career is expected to progress well under the mentorship of the Director of Infrastructure Division. This has provided him with valuable insights into how the company operates safely and sustainably in ­construction management.

In joining BCA’s direction towards ­raising productivity within the ­construction ­industry, Gim Hock has witnessed KTC’s commitment in bringing its employees along this journey. These include adopting Building Information Modelling / ­Virtual Design and Construction, automated equipment and productive civil engineering solutions in complex infrastructure projects.

Challenging Career
Upon graduation in 2014, Gim Hock joined KTC as a project engineer at Orchard Boulevard Station, part of Thomson-East Coast Line. Located at the heart of ­Singapore amidst the busy Orchard Boulevard/Grange Road junction, the construction of this MRT station is not only about dealing with soil, concrete and steel. The main challenge lies in the limited construction space and managing the living ­environment for the ­surrounding stakeholders while ensuring safe and timely delivery of the complex project.

To deal with the tight working space, careful and meticulous planning is required prior to the commencement of construction activities. This process has to be carefully thought and planned through to ensure the optimum use of site space and that there will be no abortive works. Machinery and equipment deployed must be carefully selected to ensure environmental sustainability and are cost-effective at the same time.

The construction of an underpass linking the eventual station and the ground level opening poses a great challenge to the team. The underpass is located about 2.5m to 5m beneath Orchard Boulevard and there is a need to conserve several heritage trees there. This constraint led to the adoption of using Pipe Roofing Methodology with months of efforts spent on designing, identifying and evaluating the associated risk and technical challenges. Gim Hock is entrusted with the role of leading the team of engineers in ensuring timely completion of the project.

The scholarship has enabled Gim Hock to play his part in the built environment sector. With endless opportunities ahead, he looks forward to continuing this meaningful and fulfilling journey in this industry.

Chua Gim Hock
BCA-KTC Built Environment ­Undergraduate Scholarship
www.buildingcareers.gov.sg
Now: Senior Project Engineer, ­Infrastructure Division, pursuing ­MSc (Civil Engineering) in NUS
Attained: BEng in Civil Engineering, NTU
From: Anderson JC

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