5 Minutes with Hong Kong-based Betty K Y Lo

Hong Kong-based Chartered Engineer Betty K Y Lo CEng C Build E MCABE on the challenges in her profession

Q Have you always had an interest in construction/engineering?

I enjoy turning ideas into physical reality with the use of science and technologies for construction/engineering solutions.

Q What was your route into the profession? 

I studied building technology and then started my career as a subcontractor, followed by a wide spectrum of related areas of the construction/engineering profession including client, consultant and contractor for private and public works projects.

Q Did you change direction at any point, and if so, why?

I didn’t – I stayed in construction/engineering and instead chose to enrich my domain knowledge, communication, problem-solving and decision-making skills and experiences for the best collaboration with a range of stakeholders.

Q What are the current challenges of your role?

Fast-tracking, design feasibility, safety and sustainability of several projects concurrently.

It is also a challenge to involve many stakeholders across a variety of disciplines, including construction managers, architects, engineers, surveyors and supervisors.

Q What question do you get asked most often?

How to provide the most efficient and effective construction/engineering solution with the least impact on the environment.

Q What inspires you?

Bringing a female contribution to the wellbeing of society inspires me. That, and the fact that hard work pays off.

Q What is the biggest challenge facing the profession, in your opinion?

Making sure we have enough competent personnel available – the right team, workflow and process to complete a project in accordance with the scope, on time, within budget and at a quality standard.

Q What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

I would give my 20-year-old self advice on acquiring construction/engineering knowledge and skills through innovation, creativity and change in connection with the levels of risk, with a view to facilitating work in the dynamic industry environment.

QDid you experience any difficulties entering the profession because of your gender?

I experienced difficulties in entering the engineering/built environment because it’s a male-dominated culture with limited prospect of career progression for women.

However, my enthusiasm and passion came through. I’ve demonstrated key communication and management skills by facilitating collaboration with stakeholders – including clients, contractors, subcontractors, consultants and service providers of different disciplines.

QWhat specialist considerations are there for construction in Hong Kong?

Hong Kong has a humid subtropical climate. It is compact with high-density space utilisation – this means that it’s packed with major high-rise buildings and massive structures.

This is all in a region that has low-to-moderate seismicity and is in close proximity to the sea. 

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