Recommendations to encourage the use of IBS

The government should develop the Construction Industry Standard (CIS) and Code of Practice (COP) to implement IBS and migrating from conventional practices to IBS. It covers aspect of project management and other soft issues related to IBS. These standards will become an important reference document for contractors in Malaysia particularly to the SMEs which previously have not had sufficient knowledge to implement IBS.  

The government should run a comprehensive IBS training course on the soft issues related to IBS including course on developing and enhancing strategy for contractors (business, people and process). This course should targeted participation from the senior management of IBS companies and entrepreneurs who interested to set up businesses related to IBS.

The mass construction workforce especially the locals need to upgrade their skills to be involved in IBS. They must be equipped in design, installation and project management skills which are critical to IBS. Therefore, the government should introduce better training module. The government should adopt the training tools developed by the Manubuild. Manubuild has developed an advanced factory training module and a flexible mobile site training simulator. The training and simulation program involve the participation from large manufacturers. The involvement of the government’s linked companies and large contractors in Malaysia are critical for the success of these training scheme. The government can play facilitating roles and supporting the training by introducing soft loans or training loans.

The government should also endorse and certify the Master of Science (MSc) or Doctorate program in Advanced Manufacturing in Construction to be performed by local universities. This can be conducted by having twinning program with institutions which were already established this program including the University of Salford. With this regards, the government should provide scholarships or soft loans to the potential candidates in order to encourage their participation.

In larger perspective, there is a good level of willingness among industry and government to take things forward. However, there is reluctance among companies to take risk which is mainly related to unstable market and hence lack of investment. In this context, the contractors might need to consider creating an IBS “economic cluster” to boost this industry by creating a partnership between government and private sector when and where it is needed. This approach will help to create a new environment within which IBS can flourish in a much shorter time and will also put Malaysian IBS on the map. Economic cluster refers to all necessary components that are required to get IBS off the ground. 

Availability of cheap foreign labours doing manual job (at approximate RM 30 – RM 40 per day) is probably a root cause hindering IBS to compete with conventional. Nevertheless, the cheap labour rates and huge supply in local construction industry would not last forever, and a disruption of the supply would generate huge problems to the industry as experienced in 2002. The solution can be achieved by restricting the number of foreign workers employed on the construction industry or by imposing high levy for their employment, making the employment of skilled construction workers mandatory. Because of this, it is important for the industry to be ready. Local involvement on IBS should be encouraged and they need to be trained to embrace IBS jobs.

Since the application of IBS involves many parties such as manufacturers, installer, transporter and various government bodies concerned. Therefore there should be a governing body that is only in charge of the legislations, training, financing, controlling, research and development so that an effective strategy can be formulated and applies to all the parties involved. The body is also responsible to make necessary regulations, guidelines, legislations and looking into the implementation plan that are feasible to all the parties involved. Furthermore, rather than giving levy to the contractors, the body can offer flexible financing and tax reduction to manufacturers and constructor as to encourage the IBS implementation in the construction.

Partnering should be encouraged in IBS. Partnering delivers significant improvement in performance by empowering designers and specialist to do their best work.

Design and Build (D&B) contract route as the most suitable for IBS. D&B encourage innovation and improvement on the systems and processes.

It is important to promote a multi-disciplinary undergraduate and post-graduate degree and greater commonly in professional education with particular emphasis on design, technology and basic management skills. New education framework should be developed which is founded on a common core final year project should involve active collaboration with students from various academic background (engineer, quantity surveyor building technology and architect).

The government to launch a forum on regular basis of academics and associated practitioners active in IBS for exchange of information and experience, development of new technique and provide advice on promotion and implementation of IBS.

The whole-life cost needs to be emphasised with understanding of value rather than purely direct costs. A system or method is required to show and convince clients that IBS is beneficial.

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