20.10.08

IBS: Critical Succes Factors 6

Human Resources and Skill Training

Introduction - Training is considered as a management tool and instrument for addressing skill deficiencies, therefore it aim to adapt employee qualification to the job requirements (Krogt & Warmerdam, 1997) . Training can also been the medium to adopt organisation strategies and goals into procedures and style of working (Sleezer, 1993).

The Needs for Training of New Skills - Historically, the construction industry had a poor record at investing into training and education (Ball, 1996). The large proportion of construction industry are general labourers with narrow skill based and limited training. Although in theoretical, IBS is aim to address the skill shortage in construction industry (Barker, 2003), a skilled workforce in specific skill areas like integration, coordination and assembly are still vital to IBS Therefore a broader training program must be taken on board to cater demand in specialised skills personnel (Clark, 2002; Palmer et al. 2003 and Goodier & Gibb, 2004). In fact, IBS is likely require a high level of technique and precision compared to traditional method that will only derive from form high level of training (Pan et. al, 2008 and Housing Forum, 2001). In some situation, a lack of understanding about key aspects of effective maintenance of prefabricated buildings could prejudice good maintenance and potentially undermine warranties (Sharp et al, 2007). Clark (2002) observed that skilled workforce is required to enable innovation construction solution like IBS to be apply effectively at site as it require adaptability and able to work in a low tolerance environment. If we look into strategic decision making perspective, investment in training provide company stability and long term sustainability. This is observed by Clark and Hamond (2004) in their research. They had argued that investing in skill will enhance engineering capability and stable employment while maintaining low worker turn-over in a long term which is good for company's sustainability and competitiveness.

By taking the above mention points and arguments, an investment in training for IBS is inevitable and critical. According to Goodier & Gibb (2007), the training should focus on specialised skill related to IBS implementation. Contractors need to adopt with the role as system integrator at site with a full amount of responsibility in coordination and integration. Thus, training provide clear understanding on issues related to IBS implementation, monitoring , handling and installation of building components. Perhaps, professionals should undergo Continues Professional Development (CPD) program in system integration and managing coordination between design, supply chain and assembly. Soft skills needed for efficient communication between specialists (Bock et al, 2007). Beside, site personnel should also be train with standardization, tolerance, handling, commissioning, curing, crane operation, site coordination and IT. Pan et al (2007) on the other hand, observed a critical shortage on knowledge in decision making process and site integration as therefore they had proposed the training program that include the exploration of management principal and decision making process related to IBS. Bock et al. (2007) also observed that the training program must overcome an isolation view of construction process and promoting a multidisciplinary team methodical training.

Developing IBS Training - Developing a training program for IBS is a meticulous and complex task. The important aspect of emulating good training program is to correctly identified a skills gaps in the whole construction process of completing a construction work. Whilst training is an elemental part of organisational training along with change, and career development, Lingham (2006) identified that in this context the training focus should be on adult learning, experiential learning and cognitive abilities of adult learners. Therefore, the training concept for IBS should be based on 'proactive-practice based' and education approach to adapt employee qualification to job requirement and therefore enhancing contractor capability to compete (Alshawi et. al, 2007)

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