The History of IBS in Malaysia - The Way Forward

Although the large numbers of components in construction is to be fabricated under IBS, the construction is still forever site-intensive handicraft. Therefore, to move towards labour reduction, a degree of industrialisation should be an indicator to measure the level of industrialisation adoption in construction. The indicator represents the maturity of industrialisation adoption in Malaysia. Five degrees of industrialisation can be identified, mainly by extrapolating from what is going on in other industries such as manufacturing and automotive.

There are five degrees of industrialisation which are: prefabrication, mechanisation, automation, robotic and reproduction described as follows:  

  1. Prefabrication is a manufacturing process that generally takes place at a specialised facility, in which various materials are joined to form a component part of the final installation
  2. Mechanisation comes in whenever machinery is employed to ease the workload of the labourer.
  3. Automation is a situation when the tooling (machine) completely takes over the tasks performed by the labourer.
  4. Robotics comprises the ability of the same tooling which has the multi-axis flexibility to perform diversified tasks by itself. This allows the mass-customisation concept.
  5. Reproduction implies that the research and development of innovative processes are truly capable of simplifying the production process.

The Malaysian construction industry is currently positioned at prefabrication stage (production of IBS components) or lower. To reduce the extensive use of labour and create value on IBS, the way forward for IBS industry in Malaysia is through the adoption of mechanisation, automation, robotic and reproduction concept instead of prefabrication (IBS) alone.

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