Home Renovation in Hong Kong: From Construction to Wellness Design with Liquid Interior’s Project Manager
From Design to Construction
Design is more than just creating the perfect space. It is about taking care of what matters most. Healthy and sustainable design is an increasingly positive investment. This is why we at Liquid Interiors are collectively dedicated to creating healthy homes built in harmony with our environment. Reducing our impact on the planet and cherishing the beautiful life it gives us is part of our key objectives, so we take great care in executing designs that meet our eco-friendly and non-toxic standards.
While building healthy homes and sustainable designs, we strive to keep waste and materials that end up in landfills to a minimum. With our expert team, including Liquid Interiors’ project manager Albert Hong who oversees the management of projects’ construction stages, we take an innovative approach that falls in line with our philosophy rooted in nature, beauty, wellness, and sustainability. We sat down with Albert who gave us his insights about Liquid Interiors’ methods to reduce waste in the design and build process.
Albert Hong worked on many commercial projects before joining the healthy and sustainable design firm. He recalled how his journey from graduating with a degree in interior design has evolved as he explored the realm of construction. He shared with us how his journey in his career has led him to Liquid Interiors, “I first joined Liquid Interiors because I wanted to understand the healthy and sustainable features of the firm,” Hong has described life in Hong Kong as “fast-paced” and focuses more on commercial issues. At Liquid Interiors, he observed how sustainable living is more than just possible within residential homes, but more so how it is executed from conceptualisation, demolition, and construction, to renovation and designing. “Ever since COVID-19, [we’ve seen the] need to be healthier; to eat healthier, taking care of wellness, and the importance of medicines and food especially.”
Process of Demolition and Waste
In preparation for our full home renovation, Hong explained how the firm must first identify and gather existing materials that can have a second life “We need to gather any excess materials and identify if they can be reused, donated or recycled [through segregation],” Doors, cabinets, or windows from the original construction can be reused, renewed or repurposed, in the renovated home and sometimes recycled. Construction materials such as debris, wood, and stones can be taken to recycling deposit centres. In Hong Kong, construction waste is divided into inert waste (such as debris, concrete, brick and rubble) that is reused for land reclamation and site formation. Non-inert waste such as timber, packing waste, metal, plastic and other organic waste can be recycled if properly separated and what cannot be recycled will be disposed of in landfills. Recycling stations are located in different areas of Hong Kong and are made accessible to the public.
Often when we are handed a site there are many used items that can be donated such as appliances, equipment, light fixtures and loose furniture. Hong then explained how these materials are then packed and wrapped up in either plastic or cardboard before being donated to third-party personnel.
“The demolition stage is very fast-paced in Hong Kong,” Hong told us. Coordination and attention to detail are vital in every stage of the design and build process. Contractors have to work hand in hand with designers and project managers like Hong to ensure a smooth and quick process. “There are work schedules for when we can do noisy work so we don’t disturb residents too much, along with hours when we can [execute] the messy demolition work.”
With the help of their trusty contractors, Hong and his team are also responsible for tracking waste and making reports of what is leftover. “We have to track what kind of materials are being dumped and the total weight of all these materials before being thrown into the landfill.” Hong then expressed how Liquid Interiors explore any healthy and sustainable way to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in the landfill.
A Cleaner Hong Kong
The journey to recycling is still a new concept that Hong Kong is trying to integrate, according to Hong. The usual way that construction waste management does to dispose of construction waste is by taking the waste to sorting facilities and landfills. “There are very limited actions that can be done within Hong Kong. [Without any] proper recycling centres due to the lack of space, Hong Kong previously sent out most of its recyclable materials to China.” However, since China is no longer taking the world’s recyclables it is much more difficult to recycle. “Now we have more materials that are piling up in the landfill which is really bad for the environment,” The HK government has recently been putting more effort into building new recycling centres in HK, however, the process is still not straightforward. Many centres closed down, especially during the COVID pandemic. Hong told us before continuing on, “but the efforts to control this problem really start with us.”
However, this method is getting less reliable when looking at its sustainable development in the future. Today, Hong Kong is running out of reclamation sites and landfill spaces, and the trend doesn’t seem to look any better if we continue on this path. As such, the government is exploring more sustainable ways to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfills. They are also looking for ways to promote the reusing and recycling of construction waste.
Hong shared with us how the efforts to take care of the environment start within one’s own home. He himself is “still adapting and trying to change” from old habits. He is trying to recycle things more and is more conscious of healthy eating. “For example, eating meat is good but it may affect the environment. We need to think about what our actions do to impact where we live.” This is why we take great care in building healthy and sustainable designs around a lifestyle perfect for each client to integrate and practice their own wellness habits.
When we asked Hong what drives him to continue in the work that he does, he smiled before answering, “First, it’s really about loving your work no matter what,” which he then connected this to the efforts to reduce negative impacts on the environment through the work he does in Liquid interiors. “This is the work and the passion that I love. There’s always new technology and new things to explore.” This is especially true in the ways that we at Liquid Interiors look for healthy ways to reduce waste. We find ways to recycle and repurpose old materials in new renovations and designs or search for charities who are looking for such materials to recycle themselves. The constant exploration with compassion for the environment is not easy. “But once you love your work, it’s what motivates you to do more. Not all people love their work, but work is a lifetime process.”