Date
17 December 2017
The Central-Wan Chai Bypass is among the public works projects where an outsourced contractor is suspected to have delivered falsified concrete test results. Photo: HKEJ
The Central-Wan Chai Bypass is among the public works projects where an outsourced contractor is suspected to have delivered falsified concrete test results. Photo: HKEJ

Contractor facing heat over bridge tests may be repeat offender

A civil engineering contracting firm that has been accused of falsifying concrete compression test reports on the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge project is alleged to have performed faulty work even earlier on other projects.

The Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) said on Saturday that more test data from a public works regional laboratory in Siu Ho in Lantau were found to be questionable, the Hong Kong Economic Journal reports.

The lab is run by Jacobs China Ltd., which was suspected of having altered the dates on the testing equipment to make it appear the concrete used for the cross-sea bridge was fully tested for strength.

According to the CEDD, test data on a total of 130 concrete cubes used for 55 other government projects show anomalies.

Of them, 127 were conducted between 2013 and 2014, while the rest took place between 2015 and 2016.

The projects included the Central-Wan Chai Bypass, Hong Kong Children’s Hospital, reconstruction and improvement of Tuen Mun Road, and Liantang/Heung Yuen Wai Boundary Control Point and associated works, among others.

Meanwhile, 116 more anomalies were found in test data of concrete cubes used for the cross-sea bridge, bringing the total to 326 so far. The tests were all conducted by the lab between 2013 and 2016.

Jacobs China also runs another lab in Tai Po, but the CEDD hasn’t commented on any test data from that facility.

The department’s acting director, Norman Heung, said the number of the detected anomalies is relatively few and most of them are not serious enough to endanger safety of structures of the projects.

But Democratic Party lawmaker Lam Cheuk-ting said the situation in relation to Jacobs China is unacceptable, as such anomalies would cause the public to lose faith in government works.

Given the serious allegations, the company should be permanently disqualified from bidding for quality test contracts, instead of being barred for just one year as announced by authorities on June 2, Lam said.

The call was echoed by Raymond Chan Kin-sek, former head of the Geotechnical Engineering Office.

Lam, meanwhile, also demanded that the CEDD investigate test data from the Tai Po lab.

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TL/AC/RC

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