Potential roles of IBS in Green Building Initiatives

Paper published in (Please make proper citation): Kamar Anuar Mohamad Kamar & Zuhairi Abdul Hamid (2009), Collaboration Initiative on Green Construction and Sustainability through Industrialised Buildings Systems (IBS) in the Malaysian Construction Industry, proceedings of ICON-BSE 09, UTHM, Johor Baharu, 13-14 Disember 2009

There are several aspects of IBS that has the potential of contributing to different aspects of sustainability and green construction. Some of the major aspects are explained below:

1. Sustainability from Controlled Production Environment: IBS offers a controlled manufacturing environment with the ability to reach difficult nooks and corners, which are often inaccessible in regular in-situ construction. With the availability of production tools, and permanent jigs and fixtures, it is easier to control the workmanship of construction, ensuring a tighter construction resulting in lot lesser energy losses due to leakages (thermal leakage)

2. IBS and Waste: IBS traditionally has been known to minimize waste, with the ability to reuse material from one module or product into another, the sustainability agenda is supported through its use. However, several aspects of planning both in terms of materials management and production management have to be monitored in order to achieve the waste minimization benefits promised by IBS.

3. IBS and Building Materials: Several pre-fabricated technologies such as Structural Insulated Panels (SIPS) etc offer great potential in terms of fabrication of more energy efficient buildings. However, if appropriate process control and planning are not implemented these potential benefits could be lost due to expensive on-site assembly processes. Therefore, it is important that the advent of new technologies should be accompanied by proper process design for on-site assembly.

4. IBS and Logistics: Some estimates recently have put the amount of environmental impact from material transportation activities to be one-third of total environmental impact on the entire construction process. IBS offers another benefit, and that is the ability to order in large quantities thus reducing the number of trips to be taken. Despite this potential benefit, it is important that a detailed material transportation and logistics plan be put in place.

5. IBS and Economic Sustainability: With Malaysian government’s emphasis on reduction of reliance on foreign labour, and the ability of IBS to deliver to this goal is well documented. However, for this to succeed there is the need to develop a detailed training and dissemination strategy for promoting IBS and preparing the workforce for that.

With these potential benefits of IBS in mind, it is important that a detailed strategy for the implementation of sustainability through the use of IBS in Malaysia be formulated. The future research shall aims to provide useful insights that will result in the formulation of that strategy for the future.

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