Member Profile

Aiming for the Top

Stephen Lai, Global Board Member and Managing Director in Hong Kong and Mainland China of Rider Levett Bucknall (RLB), has reached the heights in his profession in more ways than one. RLB provided quantity surveying services to the Shanghai Tower, which at 632 metres is the tallest building in Mainland China. 

“It is a mix of hotel, apartments, offices and retail,” Lai said. “The 128-storey mega-tall skyscraper has the world’s highest observation deck within a building, and the world’s fastest elevators with a top speed of nearly 46 miles per hour (74 km/h).”

It has won many awards, including the Best Tall Building Worldwide award in 2016 from the prestigious Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. 

And RLB, an independent cost management and quantity surveying firm, is itself a prize-winner. For example, Lai said, it was voted the number one global cost consultant partner for the third year running in the 2018 World Architecture 100 Survey. 

Lai grew up in Hong Kong and studied in the United Kingdom, gaining a degree in Building Economics and Measurement from Aston University. He become a quantity surveyor and joined RLB in 1989. Since then, he has developed project-delivery strategies for clients throughout Asia, the Middle East, Europe and the United States. Besides setting up the company’s first office in the Mainland, where it now has 19 branches, he also established offices in Seoul and Muscat, Oman.

Lai is active in providing a voice for the industry through participation in various organizations. “I was the Past President of the Hong Kong Institute of Surveyors (HKIS), and during my presidency I set up the first HKIS office in Beijing.” 

He is also a Board Member of the Construction Industry Council and a Member of the Corruption Prevention Advisory Committee of Hong Kong’s Independent Commission Against Corruption (ICAC).
A career highlight came in 2014, when Lai was invited by the State Council to Beijing. “I was honoured to be invited to meet with the President of the PRC, Xi Jinping, along with other industry leaders of Hong Kong, to share opinions and knowledge on our professional areas. I was delighted to be recognized in this way.” 

Lai said that RLB appreciates the Chamber’s efforts to promote the development of business and industry in Hong Kong. “It’s a great channel through which our business sector can express our views, and on the other hand, to have more communication with regional and international partners.” 


Company: Rider Levett Bucknall Ltd 
HKGCC Membership No.: HKR0307
Established: 1962

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