For discussion EC(95-96)69
on 17 January 1996


Subhead 001 Salaries

Members are invited to recommend to Finance Committee the creation of the following permanent post -

1 Chief Geotechnical Engineer
(D1) ($80,450 - $85,400)

offset by the deletion of the following supernumerary post -

1 Chief Geotechnical Engineer
(D1) ($80,450 - $85,400)


The Director of Civil Engineering (DCE) needs permanent directorate input to supervise the on-going fill management functions of the department in the formation of land for development.


2. DCE proposes to create a permanent post of Chief Geotechnical Engineer (CGE)(D1), offset by the deletion of the existing supernumerary post of CGE, to head the Fill Management Division (FMD) in the Civil Engineering Department (CED).


3. DCE chairs the Fill Management Committee (FMC), comprising representatives from related policy branches and departments at directorate level. The FMC identifies and manages the supply and demand of land and marine fill resources of the territory for all government, quasi-government and major private projects. It also provides public dumps for surplus spoil from construction sites and manages the extraction, use and disposal of marine mud, including the allocation of marine disposal sites. Presently a CGE occupying a supernumerary post heads the FMD which services and implements decisions of the FMC.

4. Whilst work relating to the Airport Core Programme (ACP) projects has passed its peak, the workload relating to New Town, urban area, port and other developments has largely offset the reduced ACP workload and will continue at a high level well into the next century. Currently, we estimate that we will require about 450 million cubic metres (Mm3) of fill for developments up to 2005. Much of this will come from the marine environment, and we anticipate a likely shortfall of about 85 Mm3 before 2000. Whilst the search for, and investigation and development of new marine and land-based fill sources continue, the increasing use of Chinese sand has become an important part of our strategy to meet future demands. This will require additional work and co-operation with the relevant Chinese authorities to ensure that fill supplies are available for Hong Kong projects.

5. In addition, we need to dispose of more than 100 Mm3 of uncontaminated mud over the next five years but the facilities currently available can only accommodate about 10% of this. Furthermore, CED operates a contaminated mud disposal facility at East Sha Chau with an estimated capacity of about 11 Mm3. Currently about 8 Mm3 of contaminated mud has been accommodated in containment pits capped with layers of sand and mud. However, we estimate that we would need to dispose of about 30 Mm3 more over the next five years. As the existing disposal facilities for uncontaminated and contaminated mud in Hong Kong are quickly approaching capacity, we need to identify alternatives to increase the capacity.

6. Given the magnitude of the capital works programme and the emphasis on forming land for development over the next decade and beyond, DCE considers that there is a continuing need to efficiently manage the competing demands for limited fill sources and mud disposal capacity in the face of continued development in the territory and growing environmental awareness. He also highlights the importance of maintaining centralized co-ordination of these functions currently provided by the CGE. This has enabled us to avoid a situation in which projects compete against one another for limited resources which will normally give rise to less than optimal utilisation with consequent wastage of available fill and mud disposal capacity, duplication of effort by government departments, and a variety of disbenefits to the community. The CGE and his team will continue to carry out studies and investigations in support of the FMC. One example is the Fill Management Study Phase VI which was approved by the Finance Committee in July 1995 at an estimated cost of $74.2 million. In future, an increasing part of the CGE's management role will be to ensure a range of potential fill sources in order to encourage competitive pricing for supply from outside Hong Kong.

7. The increasing public attention on fill management matters, particularly in respect of the environmental impacts, also calls for an experienced professional at directorate level to give advice on such matters, and regularly to attend meetings of the Legislative Council and its panels, District Boards and the Advisory Council on the Environment. He would also map out and monitor public information programmes targetted at specific groups or the general public.

8. In view of the complexity and importance of the on-going work outlined in the above paragraphs, DCE considers that there is a clear need for a permanent CGE post to head the FMD. He has reviewed the directorate organisation of his department and concludes that it would not be possible for other divisions to take on the additional responsibilities. He therefore proposes that the existing supernumerary CGE post should be made permanent. The CGE will continue to be supported by the existing team of two Senior Geotechnical Engineers, six Geotechnical Engineers and six technical and general support staff. There will be no requirement for additional staffing support. An organisation chart of the department and the job description for the CGE post are at Enclosures 1 and 2 respectively.


9. The additional notional annual salary cost of the proposal at MID-POINT is $994,200. We have included sufficient provision in the 1995-96 Estimates to meet the cost of this proposal.


10. The Planning Division, established in 1983 primarily to provide geological and geotechnical services to other government departments for land development planning purposes, assumed additional duties relating to directing FMC works in 1989. Since then, the workload has grown rapidly mainly due to the implementation of ACP, port development and Metroplan projects in addition to the continuing New Town development, and assumption of other important duties not originally foreseen in 1989. This included the management of uncontaminated and contaminated mud disposal, the undertaking of more stringent environmental studies, and the continued exploration of alternatives to address the shortage of marine and land-based fill.

11. On 11 March 1994, Members approved the creation of a supernumerary post of CGE for a period of two years to head a new FMD to take over the work on fill materials and dredged mud from the over-stretched Planning Division. The FMD’s main work concerns -

  1. management of fill supply and mud disposal;
  2. finding and making available new marine sand sources, having regard to economic, environmental, navigational and other factors;
  3. backfilling empty sand pits with uncontaminated mud;
  4. managing the existing open sea mud disposal areas and establishing new marine disposal areas;
  5. planning and managing further facilities for disposal of contaminated mud;
  6. undertaking environmental impact assessment studies for all the above;
  7. continuing the territory-wide programme of monitoring the effects of dredging and dumping;
  8. maintaining the centralised computer records and promulgation of statistics on fill and mud usage and requirements;
  9. investigating and managing land borrow areas, special rockfill supply, and use of surplus suitable material; and
  10. processing and explaining proposals to the legislature, District Boards, the Advisory Council on the Environment, environmental and other interest groups and the public.

The continued need for the supernumerary post was scheduled to be reviewed in late 1995 in the light of progress in public works.


12. The Civil Service Branch considers the grading and ranking of the post appropriate having regard to the responsibilities and professional input required.


13. The Standing Committee on Directorate Salaries and Conditions of Service has advised that the grading proposed for the post would be appropriate if the post were to be created.

Works Branch
January 1996

Enclosure 2 to EC(95-96)69

Job Description -- Chief Geotechnical Engineer/Fill Management

Rank: Chief Geotechnical Engineer (D1)

Main duties and responsibilities

Responsible to the Government Geotechnical Engineer (D2) of the Development Branch for -

  1. overseeing the effective operation of the Fill Management Division;
  2. servicing the Fill Management Committee (FMC) and ensuring that timely detailed proposals and submissions are prepared for the FMC in respect of -
    1. maintenance of a comprehensive database of fill requirements and disposal needs of all major Government and private projects;
    2. planning, co-ordination and controlling of Fill Management Studies for the identification of suitable marine and land fill resources, having regard to environmental, navigational and other constraints;
    3. preparation of proposals for the allocation of marine and land fill resources;
    4. preparation of proposals for the allocation of disposal capacity in the marine dumping grounds for dredged uncontaminated mud and dredged contaminated mud;
    5. monitoring the supply of special rock fill;
    6. statutory approvals and land clearance as may be necessary from time to time;
    7. preparation of proposals and programmes for the utilisation of pulverised fuel ash as fill material; and
    8. liaison with controllers of all Government and private projects in respect of all FMC matters;
  3. forecasting and controlling expenditure for the various Fill Management Studies undertaken as part of fill exploration programmes, marine disposal investigations, and development of the FMC database facilities;
  4. preparing consultants' briefs and agreements, and managing consultants engaged on FMC studies to ensure that cost effective and timely proposals are put to the FMC; and
  5. presenting the policies of the FMC to the public, District Boards, LegCo Panels, and environmental interest groups, and others as necessary, and ensuring that accurate and regularly updated information on fill requirements and surplus materials is publicised periodically.

Last Updated on 3 December 1998