10.10.12

The needs to redefine IBS


One major hurdle for research in the area of construction industrialisation was to define the boundaries and establish clear basis of measurement. The terms used in construction industrialisation are ill defined, often interchangeably with other term and their precise definitions depend heavily on user’s experience and understanding, which vary from countries to countries. 

The lack of uniform definition and uncertainty in context and boundary contributed to the prejudices and misunderstanding. Many industrialised construction technologies coexist with onsite work in hybrid construction and so demarcating what constitute offsite practice is problematic. As such, the workable definition needs to be developed for the research fraternity and practitioners. 

Through many of the prefabrication and industrialisation terminologies are still in use, Industrialised Building System (IBS) is become a term to represent those terminologies in Malaysian construction industry. The term IBS is widely used by the government, practitioners and researchers in this country to represent industrialisation in construction. The term is defined by Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) as construction technique in which components are manufactured in a controlled environment (on or off site), transported, positioned and assembled into a structure with minimal additional site works 

The term is however, cover very wide scope which include the application of onsite systems and one can not distinguished it properly with conventional practice. While other terms used to represent construction industrialisation are often relates to innovative solution, current definition by CIDB includes low-tech solutions and other of practices which already become common and not substituting conventional practices.

The terms and classifications provided by the CIDB were also misinterpreted as a system limited only for construction of buildings, while IBS can be interpreted as an approach or process used in making construction less labour-oriented and faster as well as fulfilling quality concern.

The broader view of IBS is about the changing of conventional mindset, championing human capital development, developing better cooperation and trust, promoting transparency and integrity

There is a consensus however that the move towards industrialisation of construction industry is a global phenomenon and not merely a local or isolated initiative. The definition and classification should also evolved and incorporate with global views and understanding.

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