Roundtable Worskhop (11 January 2011)


Malaysian construction industry has been urged to use innovative construction technique and to shift from traditional practice to Industrialised Building System (IBS) construction. The importance of IBS is highlighted under the Strategic Thrust 5: Innovate through R&D to adopt a new construction method in the Construction Industry Master Plan 2006-2015 (CIMP 2006-2015). Despite a well-documented benefits and strong support from the government, the take-up for IBS was not as high as first anticipated at this stage. Low labour cost in Malaysia could perhaps was the root cause of the problem. 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 fund and information to support feasibility of change to implement IBS construction. In November 2008, the Treasury Malaysia issued a Treasury Circular Letter, now referred to as SPP 7/2008, to all Malaysian government agencies directing them to increase the IBS contents of their building development projects to a level not less than 70 points of the IBS score and IBS must be incorporated as part of the contract document for tender. The decision was to create sufficient momentum for the demand for IBS components and to create a spill-out effect throughout the nation.

To enhance the adoption and to promote sustainable implementation of IBS construction in Malaysia, Technology and Innovation Development Sector (SPTI) of CIDB, IBS Centre, Construction Research Institute of Malaysia (CREAM), University Sains Malaysia (USM) and University of Salford, United Kingdom have jointly organised a workshop entitled Industrialised Building System (IBS): Towards Sustainable Implementation on 11th January 2011 at Grand Seasons Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. The workshop aims to measure industry perception towards sustainable issues, to reassess, and augment as necessary, factors that important towards sustainable IBS implementation in Malaysia and o formulate a clear way forward for the improvement of the IBS implementation . The workshop was facilitated by CREAM and representatives from Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) and University of Salford, United Kingdom and the programme involved strong participation from 45 member of the industry from various background. The inputs from this are used to formulate recommendations and a clear way forward for improvement to IBS implementation in Malaysia and to support the implementation of IBS Roadmap 2011-2015.

Workshop results:

Challenges in Implementing IBS in Malaysia

· 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. There is need for the industry to use IBS as a mean for promoting sustainable construction.
· There is also slightly concern from the government whether the current policy and implementation of IBS in public building projects under SPP 7/2008 is practical and sustainable in a long term and can really reform our construction industry.
· The number of IBS products is keep increasing as the government has make authorisation that 70% of IBS components must be use in government projects. However, the problem is that there are few IBS manufacturing plants in Northern Peninsular Malaysia, Western Peninsular Malaysia and Borneo Malaysia. This number of plants is still very limited and the location is mostly in Klang Valley.
· The implementation of IBS is hampered by lack of integration and communication among stakeholders involved during the design stage.

Towards Sustainable IBS Implementation in Malaysia

· The rising sustainability awareness around the globe has put the construction industry under immense pressure to improve project efficiency and deliverables. IBS has the potential to promote sustainable development and green construction by implementing controlled production environment, minimisation 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.
· Areas of focus that are important in promoting sustainable development and green construction in Malaysia are implementation of material security and preservation, waste minimisation plan, waste auditing, land use optimisation, eco-labeling scheme, implementation of Environmental Management Systems, regular audits on green environmental standards, measuring customer’s willingness to pay for “green construction” and energy saving
· Important factors affecting sustainable IBS implementation in Malaysia are standardisation, innovation, modular, mass-customisation and improved confidence, enthusiasm and motivation to adopt IBS. The enablers for IBS implementation in Malaysia are incentives (tax breaks and subsidies), encouragement policies, imposition of strict regulations and pressure from customers/clients
· To encourage more IBS plant other than in Klang Valley, a guideline should be established to help manufacturers in setting up their plant. The top five main criteria in selecting appropriate site for IBS plant are cost to set up factory, current and future economy markets, existing infrastructure, distance of projects from factory, and the factory capacity.
· The integration of IBS components or modules into the building requires various parties and supply chain to cooperate closely. It has been suggested that by implementing integrated approach and partnering in design and construction. The critical success factors in developing integrated team in IBS are company and client’s policies, management support, clear team structure, working environment, transparent communication, and utilisation of Information Technology.
· Integrated procurement is also suggested in IBS. Integrated procurement approach gives clients a single point of contact for both design and construction besides creates an opportunity to implement constructability principles early during design stage of project. However, culture and competitive environment in construction may hinder successful partnering and strategic alliance. The guideline should be developed to guide the industry implementing partnering.

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