Sustainable Issue and IBS

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.

2) Environment

- 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.

3) Socio-Economics

- 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?


Anonymous said...


Im a final year student that's doing a research on potential of IBS towards sustainable construction. I just need your point of view between the difference of 'sustainable development' and 'sustainable construction'. From what I've read, sustainable construction is a sub-matter of sustainable development as a holistic POV. And I would like to ask for your permission to citate and quote some of your works here in my thesis.

Muhammad Nazeef Muhamad Nor
Bachelor in Construction Management 3rd Semester
UiTM Shah Alam

Kamarul Anuar Mohamad Kamar said...

Dear Nazif

The above writing actually a research proposal submitted to the Board of Trustee CREAM for funding.

It is very good for you to research upon sustainable issue.

Yes. sustainable development involves larger issues such as socio-economic, policy and insitutional and of course environmnet while sustainable construction is more focus on designing for sustainability consideration.

Please let me know your email by sending email to kamarul2411@gmail.com, i will fwd to you few writings about this issue which you can cited in your research

all the best!

Anonymous said...

am final year student doing ma research i would like to ask about , how can we make a relation or find a relate point between green building and IBS.

Ummu Zahra' said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kong Su Yen said...

Hi! I am a Quantity Surveyor final year student doing my final year project in "roles of Quantity Surveyor in Sustainable Development". I have been searching for articles to support on my paper but unfortunately it has not been very fruitful. I would like to inquire from you whether do you have any papers or articles that you would like to recommend it to me? I would be very grateful! Thank you.

Anonymous said...


i'm student from uitm shah alam.i have to do an assignment about 'how ibs related to green building'.can i get more information about that from here?thank you.

uitm shah alam

Anonymous said...


i'm a phd student. i'm still looking for a proper topic for my thesis. i'm reading alot about sustainanable and environment management. i interested to know more about the environemnt and sustainable that you mention above. can u email me more writing about that topic. hope you can help me. thanks alot..


Anonymous said...


i'm final year student that doing research on the accaptance level of ibs usage in construction from the perspectives of perak contractors.i just need your help on the level and how far the implementation of ibs nowdays in the construction industry.would you like suggest me on good article or something related for my reference.i'm also would like to ask your permission to citate and quote some of your word in my thesis. thank you very much for your kindness.

Nur Melissa Shafinaz Bt Che Azid
Bachelor in Quantity Surveying (semester 5)
Uitm Perak