By Kamarul Anuar Mohamad Kamar, Zuhairi Abd. Hamid & Riduan Yunus
The Malaysian Construction Industry has been urged to use innovative construction technique and to shift from traditional practice of brick and mortar to Industrialised Building System (IBS) construction. Since 2008, IBS is made compulsory in public building project, where 70% of components using in the construction to be IBS.
The rising sustainability awareness around the globe has put the construction industry under immense pressure to improve project efficiency and deliverables. Industrialised Building System (IBS) therefore has the potential to promote sustainability. This may be achieved from a controlled production environment, minimization of construction waste, extensive usage of energy efficient building material, a safer and more stable work environment, and possibly better investment for long term project economy.
In this case, the industry needs to merge IBS into the issue of sustainable and needs to create IBS industry that is sustainale and contribute to sustainable development.
The issues on sustainable IBS which lead to the need of research in this area are as follows:
1) Government Policy
- IBS is made compulsory in public building project, where 70% of components using in the construction to be IBS. With this regards, there is slightly concern from the government side whether the current policy and implementation of IBS in public building project are sustainable and practical for the long run and can really reform our construction industry.
- The uptake from private sector on IBS implementation is still non-traceble by the policy makers and does not reflect the true representation, thus measurement on its performance (quality, time, cost and safety) is critical.
- There is way for IBS as a method in construction industry to fully support the Economic Transformation Plan (ETP). Fast, quality and environment friendly construction offered by IBS is highly important in developing ‘Greater Kuala Lumpur’ and other mega project under the ETP such as Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), 1 Malaysia Financial District, Sungai Buloh and Sungai Besi mixed development project. The application of IBS in the construction industry can plays a enabler role in supporting 12 National Key Economic Areas (NKEAs) in the creation of infrastructures and buildings. Moreover, IBS is one way to establish high income society by creating high income economy and job opportunities. The potential usage of automation and robotic in IBS shall be operated by highly skilled and highly paid operators. Therefore, the policy on IBS should be effective and practical to sustain IBS industry.
- There is no specific policy on sustainable IBS. The initiative is on operational basis. Lack of structured way to map up the responsibility and allocating resources and far from strategic implementation
- To drive IBS at early stage, practical incentives by the government is still required but when the IBS industry matured it will be fully driven by the stakeholders.
- There is slightly concern on the economic aspect of IBS where the supply-demand (short term and long term) of IBS component is yet to be determined, thus hampering policy maker to chart the future policy on IBS. A holistic approach need to be adopted to determine the long term (10 years) supply-demand.
- Based on recent study, 30-40% of natural resources were exploited by building industry, 50% of energy used for heating and cooling in buildings, almost 40% of world consumption of materials converts to built environment and 30% of energy use due to housing. This is a huge amount of resources and energy consume in the building life-cycle, let alone the usage of resources and energy during the construction phase. Can IBS tackle this problem?
- To promote IBS as green and environment friendly solution, development of green rating i.e. GBI, LEED and Green Mark and Eco-lebelling sheme should be expedite in collaboration with SIRIM, KeTTHA, KKR and industry players. A research is needed to answer the readiness of the government agency to develop appropriete strategy on green and sustainable IBS certification.
- Looking onto the social and economical sustainability, at current state the construction industry employed more than half of the workforce from neighbouring countries. This labour issue affects economical sustainability due to outflow of our currency and also contributed into social illness. Did IBS really solve this issue?
- Issue of economic of scale and viability of IBS implementation effect total adoption where the mass majority of players did not favour IBS. This is also contribute to the lukewarm respond from private projects clients. How can this be addressed?
- A practical approach and structured professional fees for architects, quantity surveyors M&E and design engineers need to be established.
- A different wealth distribution between conventional and IBS construction is known as potential barrers to successful IBS implementation. How can this be addressed?