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Chapter 1 - First Draft

1.1 Rationale

The growing demand of affordable housing, increasing construction cost, lower productivity rate and heightened concern of energy-efficiency has prompted the construction industry to realize the immense benefit of industrialized and automated construction. Despite all plausible advantages, early effort to promote Industrialized Building System (IBS) in Malaysia construction industry has yet to greener a good response. Malaysian construction industry through Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), a government sponsor body has published IBS Roadmap 2003-2010 to guide and assist the construction stakeholders in Malaysia in changing their conventional ‘brick and mortar’ practice for the usage of more automation and pre-manufactured construction components. CIDB is also providing training, consultation and testing facilities for construction practitioners. The author has been sponsored by Construction Industry Development Board, (CIDB) Malaysia that currently promoting IBS in Malaysia. The sponsorship requires the author to seek knowledge on benchmarking and transfer of best practices as potential tool to share knowledge in IBS project and showcasing IBS good practices in other countries for the benefit of Malaysian construction industry. This research will develop a high level understanding on benchmarking and best practice transfer and also on IBS essential characteristics. The output of the research will be presented for Malaysian IBS Steering Committee and IBS Technical Committee for further action and implementation.

1.2 Background

The construction industry and particularly construction companies, is typified by the fact that its business mainly run trough projects. One of the claims is that construction is inherited differently from other industries in that its factory moves around and hardly ever develops the same product twice. One of the topical issues for construction managers is how to avoid reinventing the wheel by sharing good practices and knowledge. However, construction firms are faced with various difficulties when attempting to transfer good practices and put into use in actually. The main argument of these studies is implementing outside good practice and previous practice is not just a matter of copying and quick fix problems, but often requires a three-stage process of abstraction, transfer and application (Lillrank, 1995). In his overview of the construction industry, Rethinking Construction, Sir Egan has urged the industry to create the knowledge centre through the whole industry and all its clients can access to knowledge about good practice, innovation and the performance of companies and projects (Egan, 1998). It appears that the learning strategies recommended by Sir Egan is a best practice sharing. For all research in best practice transfer and benchmarking in construction, this research will be focus on Industrialized Building System (IBS) project’s cases. IBS is defined as a construction technique in which components are manufactured in a controlled environment (on or off site), transported, positioned and assembled into a structure with minimal additional site works (CIDB, 2003). It is classified as a project that use one or a combination of the following systems; pre-cast concrete frame building, pre-cast wall system, reinforce concrete building with pre-cast concrete slab, steel formwork system and steel frame building and roof trusses system. The body of literature on best practice transfer is still much dominated by scholar from management science, psychology, sociology etc. Benchmarking is still an uncharted territory in construction. Therefore, a research conceptual model based on existing benchmarking model is formulated, in order to investigate best practice transfer within the IBS construction perspective of a real life construction setting.

1.3 Problem statement

The construction industry constitutes an important element of Malaysian economy. Although it account for only 2.5% of the gross domestic product (GDP) in 2007, the industry is critical to national wealth creation as it acts as a catalyst for and has multiplier effects to the economy and also enable other industries namely manufacturing, professional services, financial services, education and others (CIMP, 2007). The construction industry also provides job opportunities for approximately 800,000 people (CIDB, 2007). Nevertheless, the state of the local construction industry is not in line with future development of Malaysia. The construction industry in Malaysia is always connected to insufficient level of quality, a 3D syndrome (Dirty, Difficult and Dangerous), pollution and excessive reliance on unskilled foreign workers. As such, the usage of Industrialized Building System (IBS) components as a part of construction process is a new construction trend introduced by the government of Malaysia to archive three major objectives; a) to promote systematic construction process that put quality, safety and environment issues into account and b) to reduce the dependency on foreign workers and, c) to reduce the overall cost of construction project and introduce value for money concept. For constructors, proper planning, procurement and co-ordination throughout IBS project cycle will give positive outcome in term of reducing construction time and labor cost. Despite all the plausible advantages and support from the government, early effort to promote usage of IBS in Malaysian construction industry has yet to greener a good response. CIDB (2003) reported that construction project using IBS in Malaysia only stands 15% in the year 2003. Completed project using IBS in the year 2006 only 10% (CIDB, 2007) less than one - third of total construction project (using at least one IBS product) in year 2006 (CIDB, 2007) as compare to forecasting IBS project of 50 % in 2006 and 70% in year 2008 (CIDB, 2003). This problem is due to lack of confidence and detail information that is able to convince the construction sector in Malaysia to use IBS technology. Low labor cost in Malaysia is also being identified as the root cause of the problem (CIDB, 2007). Although the members of the industry are open to the idea, a major portion of the industry stakeholders are indifferent, perhaps due to resistance towards change and insufficient information to support feasibility of change. The adoption in Malaysia is more towards client-driven rather than consumer driven as compared to developed countries. The development of ‘factory-like’ buildings (TESCO, Giant, Carrefour etc) tends to have higher adoption of IBS compared to dwellings and small commercial units (CIDB, 2007). Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia (CIDB) highlighted the barriers to IBS adoption in construction industry are as follows (Hussain, 2007); Mindset problem towards achieving acceptance by the construction community, The cost of using IBS exceed the conventional method of construction given the ease of securing cheap immigrant labor, IBS design concept is not being taken into consideration at the onset of the project, Designers will not design using components as they not find the components in the market, whilst producers will not produce components as they do not see design using components, Lukewarm acceptance of IBS among designers and developers especially from private sectors. Lack of best practice sharing and showcasing is a main reason the practitioners are reluctant to change their mindset. As one of the effort to encourage the adoption of IBS in Malaysia construction industry, the research will be conducted to develop best practice benchmarking model that will help the practitioner to benchmark themselves against the best in the industry and share the best practices that are currently being adopted in other organization locally and overseas.

1 comment:

Anis Sazira said...

Salam....sekadar nk memberikan pendapat...rasanya agak bahaya saudara mempamerkan draft isi kandungan tesis saudara seperti aim, objectives, problem statement etc...kerana bagi saya, perjalanan PhD kita masih jauh...jadi takut ada anasir2 jahat yg akan mencedok atau mengambil hasilkerja saudara ini sebelum sempat saudara menghabiskan PhD tersebut. Fikir2kan lah ye...tapi kalau rasa confident dan dapat restu atau sokongan dari pihak2 yg lebih berpengalaman/ berpengetahuan, boleh lah diteruskan...

sekian, wassalam