2.12.12

Re-examine the benifits of IBS implementation

Reduced build time - one of the obvious drivers to use IBS is a reduction of construction build time. IBS projects have proven to be quicker to complete compared to conventional construction projects due to the usage of standardised components and a simplified construction process. It has proven to be faster to build since on-site and manufacturing activities are usually undertaken in parallel. It cuts down the duration of work and simplifies the processes by reducing onsite activities and the number of trades.

Labour reduction - IBS offers significant savings in labour and material costs, as the number of labour forces required in IBS is far lower than those required in traditional methods. In many cases, the usage of IBS has proven that it will reduce substantially the amount of unskilled and skilled labourers directly involved on site. Based on recent study, IBS has brought savings in site labour up to 70% and savings in total construction costs of 5-8% compared to conventional methods. The usage of IBS will open up many opportunities to the younger generations who seem reluctant to be involved in the construction industry. It is necessary, however, to emphasise that there are relatively far fewer workers that still need the training and skills appropriate to IBS. It is expected that such trained skilled workers in IBS would be much more quality-conscious than the unskilled labourers doing manual jobs in conventional construction.

Solving skills shortages - IBS alleviates the issue of skills shortages in construction since all the construction elements are fabricated at factory. IBS eliminates extensive use of carpentry work, bricklaying, bar bending and manual jobs at site.

Fewer disturbances to the community - fewer tradesmen visiting construction sites in IBS projects have reduced local disturbances. This benefit is critical for hospital, school and hotel refurbishment projects, particularly in the city centre area.

Improvements in construction quality - IBS offers improvements in quality, productivity and efficiency from the use of factory-made products, thus reducing the possibilities of poor workmanship and lack of quality control. The quality of the final IBS products is normally far superior to conventional work as the former is produced under rigorously controlled conditions. Complex shapes and finishes can be inspected and any substandard component rejected before it gets erected into the structure. As observed, IBS also provides high-quality surface finishes where the joints section is the only part to be grouted, eliminating the requirement for plastering.

Clean site conditions and reduced health and safety risk - IBS construction sites have proven to look very tidy and organised compared to the wet and dirty conventional method sites. Wastage of temporary works such as timber formworks and props, which are normal in conventional construction, are not there when one applies IBS. Thus it reduces the risk related to health and safety by promoting safer working conditions.

Increase construction build rate - in the house-building sector, IBS improves the build rate of housing schemes dramatically by increasing the number of houses completed over a period of time. This will help developers to meet demands in housing and contribute to the government’s aim to provide a sufficient supply of affordable housing.

Waste reduction - IBS also proved that wastage can be reduced greatly due to prefabrication of most of the building components. The system offers the potential to minimise the environmental impact of construction activities in many ways. Prefabrication in a factory environment enables waste reduction through process orientation which entails controlled production and standardised processes. IBS also promotes economic and environment sustainability as component moulds could be used repeatedly for different projects, allowing economy of scale and reduction in cost.

Potential cost financial advantage - IBS in some ways could be a cheaper method of construction compared to conventional method. The saving could come from a lower number of workers. IBS can also be cheaper if one considers the whole life costing of the building.  There are direct cost savings in materials and construction overheads, while indirect cost saving occurs due to faster delivery of building.  This particular advantage is beneficial for the construction of small shops and offices, as demonstrated in the construction of McDonald’s outlets in the UK.. Furthermore, construction of prefabricated elements in IBS results in a considerable reduction in the use of scaffolding, shuttering and other temporary supports as compared to onsite construction. 

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