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Barrier-Free Access Facilities

WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff is working to upgrade barrier-free access facilities in Hong Kong. As part of two detailed design and construction supervision contracts with the Highways Department, we are retrofitting ramps and 36 lifts around the city for improved access to the public. WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff has completed the design consultancy and is now in the construction supervision stage.

APPROACH

All of the outdoor lifts under this contract were carefully designed for outside visibility with reduced solar heat gain. This was done by placing concrete walling along the sun path while maintaining sufficient glazing. Most notably, the lift cars were designed to be mechanically ventilated, rather than adopting the air-conditioned approach typical for outdoor lifts. This innovative mechanical ventilation system sources its fresh air intake from the outside through a tailor-made ventilation duct directly to the lift cars. This design circumvents the need to draw hot air from the lift shaft and subsequently cool it through air conditioning. The project team’s design will substantially improve the lifts’ indoor air quality, while reducing operating costs by 15%. Based on the project’s Final Carbon Audit Report, 150 tonnes of carbon dioxide will be saved each year.

Throughout the consultancy works, we conducted a series of one-on-one meetings, focus groups, site visits, and value management workshops to get agreement from various authorities and local district representatives.

Barrier Free Access

Our project team involves members from across our mechanical and electrical, civil, traffic, and structural disciplines. We worked closely together to optimize the redesign of the facilities, and design decisions reflected a comprehensive outlook and coordination across entities. For example, the size of the lift shafts were designed to fit lift cars from various suppliers, while still minimizing structural size to maintain the widest pedestrian walkway possible. Also developed through a collaborative effort, the team devised a foundation scheme that delivers on structural efficiency while minimising environmental impact and lessening traffic impact during project works.

Effective coordination with local authorities brought to fruition the lifts’ innovative mechanical ventilation system. WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff continues to conduct on-going consultation with the general public, stakeholders, and government committees. The works are supported by district council members and progress is reported on a periodic basis.

OUTCOME

When the retrofit is complete, stakeholder accessibility to the facilities will be significantly improved, especially at footbridges and underground walkways where only staircases were previously available.

Read also: the interview with Emeric Wan.