Early construction activities in Peninsular Malaysia: Construction in Malaysia began in the early days, together with the formation of various states in the country. It started in around the 5th century with the development of Gangga Negara, an ancient kingdom in Kedah. Construction (yet to be considered as an industry) evolved through the establishment of Malay architecture in 14th and 15th century. Chinese and Indian settlements, on the other hand, introduced their traditional elements in Malaysian construction and architecture in this country, followed by colonial influence in the 16th (Portuguese), 17th (Dutch) and 18th and 19th (British) centuries in the construction of buildings. Construction in the post-independent Malaya (formerly known as Malaysia) had geared up towards developing better infrastructures and housing for the people.
Initial stage to introduce pre-fabrication system in Malaysia: By 1960, IBS or prefabrication system has been successful implemented in United Kingdom, Western and Eastern European as a stop gap to construct post-war buildings. IBS has been introduced in Malaysia since early 1960s when Public Work Department (PWD) and Ministry of Housing and Local Government (MHLG) of Malaysia visited several European countries and evaluate their housing development program. The story begins in 1963 when the government sent a group of architect from PWD to learn industrialised building in some of European countries. The following year, another group of architect from the Federal Capital Commission was sent to France for about 6 month for exposure in industrialised buildings. In the same year, Ministry of Housing and Local Government (MHLG) was being set up by the government to concentrate to development of housing. The ministry officers and representatives visited West Germany, Denmark and France to gather more information on industrialised building later that year
Development in 1964 to 1970s: After their successful visit in 1964, the government had started its first IBS project aims to speed up the delivery time and built affordable and quality houses as stipulated under the 2nd Malayan Plan 1960-1965 and the 1st Malaysian Plan 1966 – 1970. About 22.7 acres of land along Jalan Pekeliling, Kuala Lumpur was dedicated to the project comprising 7 blocks of 17 stories flat consists of 3000 units of low-cost flat and 40 shops lot. This project was awarded to JV Gammon and Larsen and Nielsen using Danish System of large panel pre-cast concrete wall and plank slabs. The project was completed within 27 months from 1966 to 1968 including the time taken in the construction of the RM 2.5 million casting yard at Jalan Damansara. In 1965, the second housing project initiated by the government comprising 6 blocks of 17 stories flats and 3 block of 18 stories flats at Jalan Rifle Range, Penang. The project was awarded to Hochtief and CheeSeng using French Estoit System. Both projects utilised the large panel system which required large concrete panel cast in the factory and transported to site on trailers for assembly. The speed of construction is much faster although the tendered price was slightly higher by 5% to 8%. Another earliest IBS project was at Taman Tun Sardon in Penang (consists of 1,000 units five-storey walk up flat). IBS pre-cast component and system in the project was designed by British Research Establishment (BRE) for low cost housing (BRECAST system). A similar system was constructed almost at the same time at Edmonton, North London and about 20,000 BRECAST dwellings were constructed throughout UK from 1964 to 1974. Nonetheless, the building design was very basic and not considering the aspect of serviceability such as the local needs to have wet toilet and bathroom.
Development in 1970s to early 1980s - In 1978, the Penang State Government launched another 1200 units of housing using prefabrication technology. Two years later, the Ministry of Defense (MOD) adopted large prefabricated panel construction system to build 2800 unit of living quarters at Lumut Naval Base. As one can observed, IBS was engage at first place in the construction of low-cost high-rise residential building to overcome the increasing demand for housing needs. Many construction in at this time utilised precast wall panel system. Nonetheless, the industrialisation of construction was never sustained in this period. Failure of early closed fabricated systems had resultant the industry to avoid of changing their construction method to IBS. Some of the foreign systems that were introduced during the late 60s and 70s were also found not to be suitable with Malaysia climate and social practices. Newer and better technologies were constantly being introduced than in the market since wet joint systems were identified to be more suitable to be used in our tropical climate and it was also better to utilised the bathroom types which were relatively wetter than those in the Europe. At the same time recent innovation the form of precast concrete sandwich wall panels developed in Europe, has received wide acceptability in countries having hot temperature climates due to better insulating properties resulting in a cooler in door environment and has been send in several pilot projects in Malaysia through 1970s to 1980s period.
Development in 1980s to 1990s - During the period of early 80s up to 90s the use of structural steel components took place particularly in high rise buildings in Kuala Lumpur. The usage of steel structure gained much attention with the construction of 36-storey Dayabumi complex that was completed in 1984 by Takenaka Corporation of Japan. In the 90s, demand for the new township has seen the increase in the use of precast concrete system in residential buildings. Between 1981 and 1993, Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (PKNS) a state government development agency acquired pre-cast concrete technology from Praton Haus International based on Germany to build low cost houses and high cost bungalows for the new townships in Selangor. It was recorded then, around 52,000 housing units was constructed using Praton Haus system and the state of art pre-cast factory was set up in Shah Alam. Other than the use of Praton House technology from Germany, PKNS was also embarked in other IBS systems at the same period; Taisei Marubumi - large panel are cast in factory using tilt-up system where one panel forms the base for next panel cast (1,237 housing units and 11 shop lots at PJS), Hazama system (3,222 flat units and 1,112 housing units at Bandar Baru Bangi), Ingeback system which is Swedish system using large panels in vertical battery mould and tilt-up table mould (3,694 flat units) All the project were constructed by local contractor with international technical support from established international firms in joint venture partnership. In that period IBS used in Malaysia are large panel system (housing project in Shah Alam and Taman Brown), metal form system in Wangsa Maju, Pandan Jaya and Taman Maluri and modular systems which are heavily promoted by CIDB in government project. Although the system originated overseas, local contractors has made modification to suit local requirement. Instead of steel, high quality film coated plywood shuttering is used in an innovative mould system. The form can be easily dismantled and handled by small crane and can be adjusted to suit architectural requirement. Other systems are framing system, modular system and partially pre-cast system (the Cemlock Built System which is originate in Australia and used by the National Housing Department in Pekan Selama housing project).A collective movement on Research and Development (R&D) towards construction industrialisation was first pioneered by researchers in the Housing Research Centre (HRC), Universiti Putra Malaysia in 1980s. The research centre had organised a series of national and international colloquiums and seminars on IBS starting as early as 1984. The focus at the time was to identify local materials for affordable housing schemes planned to be constructed using IBS. Their research on interlocking load bearing hollow block building led by Professor Abang Abdullah Abang Ali had won the prestigious Geneva Gold Medal.
Development in 1990s to 1998s - In this booming period of Malaysian construction 1994 -1997, hybrid IBS application used in many national iconic landmarks such as Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre (steel beam and roof trusses and precast concrete slab: Victor Buyck Steel Construction), Lightweight Railway Train (LRT), KL Sentral Station (steel roof structure and precast hollow core: RSPA – Bovis), KL Tower (steel beams and columns for tower head: Wayss and Freytag), Kuala Lumpur International Airport (steel roof structure: KLIAB – Eversendai) and Petronas Twin Towers (steel beams and steel decking for the floor system – Mayjus JV and SKJ JV). The booming period of construction during that time includes the development and construction of new administration capital of Malaysia; Putrajaya and Cyberjaya. Both cities are the massive development areas consist of new government buildings, business boulevard and residential area, and most of them were built in IBS or a hybrid IBS, combination between IBS and conventional construction. The establishment of the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) in 1996 (under Act 520) as a government agency under the Ministry of Work aims to enhance the development of the construction industry spearheading IBS adoption to new heights. In 1999, based on the resolution made during the Colloquium of Industrialised Construction System 1998, CIDB formed the IBS Steering Committee in an effort to bring to the fore all the IBS-related issues in a framework to drive the industry forward. The IBS Strategic Plan 1999 was published as a result of the establishment of this committee. The IBS Strategic Plan 1999 proved to be a good framework that set wheels in motion towards full adoption of the IBS industry. A rebranding of the prefabrication concept through the usage of the term IBS was introduced by the Steering Committee, differentiating it from the former in terms of better productivity, quality and safety
Development in 1998 – 2008 - At this state, the use of IBS as a method of construction in Malaysia is evolving. Many private companies in Malaysia have teamed up with foreign expert to offer solutions to their IBS projects (Eastern Pretech, BPB Malaysian Gypsum, Lafarge and Duralite). Many had acquired enough knowledge through technology transfer to build up own capacity in IBS technologies (PKNS Engineering, Setia Precast and Global Globe). Setia Precast and Global Globe using technologies first adopted by Taisei Corporation of Japan. In fact, Malaysian was also developed their own IBS technologies (Zenbes, CSR, IJM Formwork, Pryda, Baktian and HC Precast). The local IBS manufacturers are mushrooming, although the facilities yet to operate in full capacity. The IBS system is largely used for private residential projects in Shah Alam, Wangsa Maju and Pandan, Dua Residency, Taman Mount Austin and Tongkang Pecah, Johor. It used in public residential projects in Putrajaya Prescient 17 and Prescient 9, PPR Sungai Besi, Sungai Bedaun, and Telipok, Sabah. The new generation of building that utilised IBS is better in term of quality, and architectural appearance compared to the earlier generation. IBS is also widely used to construct government’s schools and teachers housing complexes (Kuala Kangsar, Yan and Sungai Petani), hospitals (Serdang Hospital and UKM Hospital), collages and universities (Penang Matriculation Collage, UiTM, Kuching and University PETRONAS and University of Malaysia Sabah), custom and immigration complexes (Kelana Jaya and Johor Bahru), private buildings (Weld Tower, Maju Perdana, Traders Hotel, City Square and Olympia Tower, Jaya Jusco, IKEA) and police quarters (Senawang). The implementer was also experimenting in the use of prefabricated drywall partitions for low rise housing. The IBS agenda was further boosted with the 2004, 2005 and 2006 Malaysia Budget announcements. IBS Roadmap was published in November 2003 to guide the industry to move forward in IBS. One of the important milestones in IBS Roadmap 2003-2010 was the introduction of Modular Coordination (MC). MC is a concept of coordination of dimensions and space where buildings and components are dimensioned and positioned in a basic unit or module known as 1M which is equivalent to 100 mm, as stipulated in MS 1064, and developed in 2000. The concept allows standardisation in design and building components. In 2004, new government building projects had been strongly encouraged to have at least 50% of IBS content in their construction elements which had been calculated using IBS Score Manual developed by CIDB. In 2006, a tax incentive was offered through Acceleration Capital Allowance (ACA). IBS manufacturers would be given ACA for expenses incurred in the purchase of steel moulds used for production of precast concrete components to be claimed within three years. The Construction Industry Master Plan 2006-2015 (CIMP 2006-2015) had been published in December 2006 as a means to chart the future direction of the Malaysian Construction Industry. The effort to promote IBS was highlighted under Strategic Thrust 5: innovate through R&D to adopt a new construction method. A number of programmes have been undertaken under the recommendation of CIMP including the establishment of the IBS Centre located at Jalan Chan Sow Lin, Kuala Lumpur.
2008 – 2012 - One of the most important milestones of IBS policy is regulation on the use of IBS in the construction of public buildings. 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 in that sense IBS must be incorporated as part of the contract document for tender. The circular letter took effect immediately and the Implementation and Coordination Unit (ICU) of the Prime Minister’s Department has been given the task of monitoring the level of compliance to this directive by the respective agencies. The decision was to create sufficient momentum for the demand for IBS components and to create a spill-out effect throughout the nation. To monitor the implementation, the government established the National IBS Secretariat. It involves coordination between inter-ministry levels to make sure the policy is successfully implemented. In order to optimise the benefit of IBS in public building projects, a project wide strategy on the systems and management involves in it have to agreed and applied at the early stage of the project. Further, it was observed that the construction costs are lower if the manufacturers are allowed to propose the design of the components themselves that best suited to their manufacturing capabilities. Therefore, the registration of manufacturers is necessary to reduce evaluation work during the Tender Evaluation stage. The Public Work Department (PWD) has launched Registered IBS System Provider (RISP) scheme in 2011. With this two-stage tendering, several manufactures would be asked to submit initial tender at an early stage of the project, based on the outline design produced by PWD’s project design team. Particular manufactures would then be chosen at this stage and asked to develop their design and approaches to achieve project deliverables. Effectively this second stage is tendered out based on the first stage tender. According to PWD, this scheme was established to create and capture value towards client’s satisfaction. The implementation of IBS can only be sustained by having the best value in construction. During a period from October 2008 and May 2010, about 331 projects under 17 ministries were awarded and constructed using IBS. The majority of the projects were construction of public schools, hospitals, higher learning institutions and government offices throughout Malaysia. The total cost of the projects was about RM 9.6 billion. In 2009, CIDB has introduced a registration scheme for IBS. Only companies listed in the IBS Directory for Manufacturers and Installers (Orange Book) will be considered to tender government projects. Any products manufactured in Malaysia or imported from other countries should go through a Verification, Validation, Testing and Certification (VVCT) assurance programme in order to be listed under the Orange Book. This program will be replaced by Assessment of IBS Company Status (AIS) by 2013. The new IBS Roadmap 2011-2015 to replace the current roadmap was published in 2011. The policy’s objective is to impose high-level intended outcomes of implementing IBS. To remain focused, it has been narrowed down to four policy objectives which are quality, efficiency, competency and sustainability. Main focus of this roadmap is to increase private sector adoption of IBS.
2012 onwards - In 2012, CIDB has shifted their focus on IBS towards mechanisation automation and robotics implementation. The use of modern machineries (adoption of mechanisation, automation and robotics) in the construction industry has been emphasize by YAB Dato' Seri Najib Tun Razak during the opening of the International Construction Week (ICW) 2012. The main aim of mechanisation is to reduce the dependency on foreign workers. As part of IBS agenda, the implementation of mechanisation, automation and robotics have the potential to improve the industry in term of productivity, safety and quality. The capability to generate higher output at lower unit cost, which better quality product could in turn improve global competitiveness. IBS is used in SPNB’s 1Malaysia People-Friendly Homes (RMR1M) projects and Perumahan Rakyat 1Malaysia (PR1MA) affordable housing projects. In 2012, SPNB had completed 6,041 RMR1M housing units utilizing the Industrialised Building System (IBS), which speeds up construction time to one month per unit. CIDB is providing assistance on the IBS to train 300 class F contractors. Private sector adoption is also increase due to sudden awareness on the benefits of IBS towards sustainability implementation and also the need to build affordable housing. Sime Darby’s 550 acre Bandar Ainsdale, which includes 150 acre of affordable housing and mixed development, will be constructed using IBS. 1,800 more affordable homes are planned to be built in Bandar Ainsdale. They are only a portion of the 21,120 units of affordable homes planned to be built by Sime Darby using IBS system. The group has to date identified 270 acres of its landbank for affordable homes in various townships across the Klang Valley and Negeri Sembilan. Coming soon will be 260 units in Putra Heights and 420 units in Elmina East, Shah Alam.