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Industrialised Building System: Precast Concrete Elements

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Construction
Wordcount: 5405 words Published: 10th Jul 2018

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In Malaysia, the implementation of Industrialised Building System (IBS) by using precast concrete elements were introduced since 1966 when the government lauched two projects which involves the construction of Rifle range Road Flats in Penang and Tuanku Abdul Rahman Flats in Kuala Lumpur.

From the survey conducted by CIDB Malaysia, the level of usage in IBS in the local construction industry is 15 % in 2003 although many government initiatives have been introduced to encourage the use of IBS. Therefore a study is conducted to study will be conducted to study the current awareness of the usage of IBS in Malaysia.

Furthermore this study will be conducted to analyse ways to improve the implementation of IBS in the local construction industry.

Chapter 1: Introduction

1.1 Rationale for the Research

Industrialised Building System (IBS) was introduced since the 60’s in Malaysia. There are several benefits of IBS such as speed up the construction progress and possibly reduce labour force, construction cost and risk as well. Even IBS have many benefits but there is still have some problems in implementing IBS into the construction industry mainly due to lack of knowledge in IBS among the contractor. Research done by Lim Sin Peng in year 2009 showed that the usage or implementation level of IBS is still low in Malaysia construction industry.

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According to Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) (2003b) report construction project using IBS in Malaysia stands 15 percentage (%) in the year 2003 and the complete project using IBS in year 2006 only 10 % ( CIDB, 2007b) less than one-third of the total construction project (using at least one IBS product) in year 2006 (CIDB 2007a). The first IBS project, Pekeliling Flat, was initiated by the Government at Jalan Pekeliling, Kuala Lumpur in 1964. The implementation of IBS in Malaysia was not well accepted by the construction industry after the first adoption of IBS proves to be a failure in keeping to construction cost within the estimated budget. Thus, the aim of study is to change the perception of the construction industry towards IBS.

1.2 Problem Statement

The implementation level of IBS is perceived to be lower compared to the advantages outlined by the construction industry. The following questions need to be answered before the issues could be addressed:

  • Question 1: What is the implementation level of IBS in Malaysia construction industry?

If the implementation level of IBS is consider low in Malaysia construction industry, then only can proceed to the next research question.

  • Question 2: Why there are fewer contractors implementing in IBS?

This will provide some ideas that about what stop the contractors from using IBS.

  • Question 3: How to motivate contractor to implementing in IBS?

This will provide recommendation to increase the level of implementation to meet the objectives of CIDB and Government to provide better production in construction industry.

1.3 Research Aim

The research aim is to examine the reasons and factors of why fewer contractors implement IBS in Malaysia construction industry

1.4 Objectives

The objectives of this study are to establish the implementation level of IBS here in Kuala Lumpur as general of Malaysia. The study also determines the barriers to contractors for not implementing IBS. In addition, it also evaluates the usefulness and advantages of using IBS. Moreover, the study also is to recommend factors that would encourage contractor to implement IBS.

1.5 Importance and Benefits of Study

The importance of this study is to find out the reasons of unpopularity of this system in Malaysia in comparison to other countries such as Japan, Singapore, and United Kingdom (UK) which have implemented the IBS successfully. In chapter 2, the literature reviews will discussed further. Beside that, the benefits of this study are

  • Getting familiar with the concept of IBS
  • Clear of view on the type and characteristics of IBS
  • Get to know the level of acceptance of IBS in Malaysia construction industry
  • Visualized the benefits and limitation of using IBS

1.6 Scope of Research and Limitation

In the dissertation, the scope of study will on focus on the adoption level of using IBS especially in the contractor point of view. Further more, some reasons and factors that might affect the implementation of IBS and what would be the best motivations for contractor to use IBS will be discuss as well. The limitation of this research is the questionnaire requires a lot of respondent around 200 and it does not ensure that they will make any feedback. Due to the limitation of the transport and there are many contractor firms, so this research will only remain in Kuala Lumpur and Klang Valley area.

1.7 Research Methodology

1.7.1 Questionnaire

Quantitative method will be used to conduct this research. Question survey will be conducted for targeting respondent from Kuala Lumpur and Klang Valley area to determine their awareness of the certain issues or factors. This method will take some time of conducting a survey, so time must be allowed for late returns and responses to follow up attempts. Moreover, this is the simplest way to obtain information from targeted groups. Data collected from questionnaire will firstly check for the accuracy before carried out to work out the analysis by using statistical analysis software such as SPSS.

Objective 1

To find out the implementation level of IBS in Malaysia

Objective 2

Determine the barriers for contractor to implement IBS

Literature Review

Quantitative method

Objective 3

Evaluate the positive effect of using IBS


Objective 4

Give factors that would encourage contractor to implement IBS

Analyze and develop solutions

SPSS software

Achieve aim and objectives.

Conclusion and Recommendation

Figure Research Methodological Method

1.8 Structure of Dissertation

This dissertation is consists of five (5) chapters as described as below:

Chapter 1 Introduction

This chapter includes brief description of the problem statement with the purpose of conducting this research and its aim and objectives. It also includes the scope of study and benefits of the study. In addition, a brief description of the method that used in study, collecting relevant data and information. A brief introduction on the subsequent chapters is discussed as well.

Chapter 2 Literature Review

This chapter focuses on the review made from articles, journal, newspapers cutting, quotes from authors and online articles related to IBS. The fundamental part of this chapter is to discuss in depth about the benefits of using IBS, limitation of using IBS and barriers implementing IBS in construction industry of Malaysia.

Chapter 3 Research Methodology

This chapter explains the methodology will adopted in detail including the method used by the researcher to achieve the earlier mentioned objective for the research purpose.

Chapter 4 Analysis of the Results

This Chapter will covers the presentation on the result from carries out the data collected from the respondents through the survey questionnaire will be analyzed and will be tabulated in the form of chart and discussed in detail.

Chapter 5 Conclusion and Recommendation

This chapter concludes the research, its findings and analysis regarding the issue of the study including the limitations encountered during the research. The last part of this chapter is the recommendations and some personal comment had been given to improve the study as well as future research.

Chapter 2.0 Literature Review

2.1 Introduction

In this chapter, the author reviewed works done by others through journals, articles, newspaper cutting, and quotes from authors and online articles collected. IBS system is a process to speed up the construction work and to minimize the dependency of labour on site.

The objective of this study is further discussed about the barriers of contractor in implementing IBS. Besides that, this chapter also will focus on the basic review of IBS such as definitions, background, types and characteristics in IBS and have a basic introduction about the detail of IBS.

‘Industrialised building’ is the term given to building technology where modern systematized methods of design, production planning and control as well as mechanized and automated manufacture are applied (Ingemar Lofgren and Kent Gylltoft, 2000)

While ‘Building system’ mean a building system includes design rules and a product system whose parts have compatible interfaces, thus permitting the use of several alternative components and assemblies is assured by means of a dimensional and tolerance system as well as connection and joint (Ingemar Lofgren and Kent Gylltoft, 2000)

2.2 Definition of IBS

There was no commonly accepted or agreed definition of IBS. Several authors have defined IBS as process or a technique. Blimas et. al. (2006) and Pan et. al. (2008) defined that IBS is often referred by literatures as off -site construction, off-site production, industrialised and automated construction.

Warszawski (1999) explain in detail that an industrialized process is and investment in equipment, facilities, and technology with the objective of maximizing production output, minimising labour resource, and improving quality while a building system is defined as a set of interconnected element joint together to enable the designated performance of a building.

Another definition by Trikha (1999) claimed that IBS also may be defined in which all building components such as wall, floor slab, column and staircase are mass produced either n factory or at site under strict quality control and minimal on site activities

Another definition that clarified by Junid (1986) where IBS as process by which components of building are conceived, planned and fabricated, transported and erected at site. The system includes balance combination between software and hardware component. The software elements include system design, which is complex process of studying the requirement of the end user, market analysis and the development of standardise component, establishment of manufacturing and assembly layout and process, allocation of resources and materials and definition of a building designer conceptual framework.The software elements provide a prerequisite to create the conducive environment for industrialised to expand.

According to Junid (1986), the hardware elements are categorised into three major groups. These include frame or post and beam system, panel system, and box system. The framed structures are defined as those structure that carry the loads through their beams and girders to columns and to the ground whilst in panel system load are distributed through large floor and wall panels. The box systems include those system that employ three-dimensional modules (or boxes) for fabrication of habitable units are capable of withstand load from various directions due to their internal stability.

CIDB defined IBS as construction system whereby the components are manfactured in a factory, on-site or off-site, then positioned and assembled into structures with minimal addtional site work.

2.3 Classifications of IBS

This section will focus on the classification of the building system that are published internationally and in Malaysia

There are four types of building system under IBS in Malaysia and there are namely conventional column-beam-slab frame systems with timber and plywood as formwork, cast in-situ system with steel or aluminium as formwork, prefabricated system and the composite building system is shown in figure 2.1. Each building system is represented by its construction technology, functional and geometrical configuration (Badir et al, 1998). (cited at Thanoon et. al., 2003)


According to Majzub (1977) has different concept in classifying building system that is the relative weight of the components should be used as a basis for building classification shown in figure 2.2. The factor of weight has significant impact on the transportability of the components and also has influences on the production method of the components and their erection method on site. This classification method is found to be inadequate to incorporate other building system flourish recently.


There are five types of IBS had being used in Malaysia:

(IBS Road Maps 2003-2010)

Type 1: Pre-Cast Concrete Framing, Panel and Box System

The most common group of IBS products is pre-cast concrete of elements in construction industry. For example, there are including columns, beams, slabs, Three-Dimension (3D) components (balconies, staircase, toilet, lift chambers), permanent concrete formwork, and so on. (CIDB, 2005). Pre-cast concrete framing, panel and box system is under categories of prefabricated system. The advantage using this is because it cans minimum waste due to work environment in factory is easier to control. Panel system is use for the construction of interior walls and exterior walls offer speed of construction in many ways. For box system will achieve ultimate objective of industrialization that is a maximum saving of human labour on site.

Figure Pre-cast Concrete Elements

Type 2: Steel Formwork Systems

This system considered as least prefabricated IBS, as they generally involve site casting and subject to offer high quality finishes and fast construction with less site labour can come in tunnel formwork, beams, columns, and slab moulding forms permanent steel formworks (metal decks) and so on. (CIDB, 2005) The steel formwork is prefabricated in the factory and then installed on site.

Figure Steel Formwork Systems

Type 3: Steel Framing System

This system always be the popular choice and used intensively in the fast-track construction of skyscrapers. Recent development in this types system included the increased usage of light steel trusses. Steel is non combustible material and improves fire safety and reduces amount of structural damages in the event of a fire happen. Example: Steel beam, columns, portal frames, roof trusses. (CIDB, 2005). Steel framing also consider as prefabricated system and it to be erected whereby welding at joints are conducted. This system cans faster the progress construction.

Figure Steel Frame Systems

Type 4: Prefabricate Timber Framing System

While the latter are more popular, timber building frame offering interesting designs from dwelling units to buildings requiring high aesthetical values such as chalets for resorts

Example: Timber frame, timber roof trusses (CIDB, 2005). The advantage of the system is mainly in the interior flexibility, as large space can be used for different functions and can be easily changed or modified according to the use.

Figure Prefabricated Timber Framing System

Type 5: Block Work System

This system has revolutionizes by the development and usage of interlocking concrete masonry units (CMU) and lightweight concrete blocks. The tedious and time-consuming traditional brick-laying tasks are greatly simplified by the usage of there effective alternative solutions. Block work system also consider under prefabricated system. The benefits of block work system are faster construction and increase bricklayer longevity. Moreover, it’s also increased energy savings like lightweight concrete’s resistance to heat flow is twice of medium and heavy weight concrete, it’s mean that less heating/cooling energy is needed.

Figure Block work

2.4 Characteristics of IBS

It is important to have the following characteristics only consider to be accepted as part of the IBS and ensure the achievement of proven benefits of IBS. Each of them will be discuss briefly at below (CIDB 2008):

Industrial production of components though pre-fabrication; or highly mechanized in-situ processes. For example, permanent steel formwork

Reduced labour during pre-fabrication of the components and site works.

Modern design and manufacturing methods involving information Technology such as the usage of Computer Aided design (CAD) and Computer Aided Manufacturing (CAM)

Systematic Quality control such as ISO 9000 principles

Open Building Concept i.e permitting the hybrid applications, and adaptable to standardization and Modular Coordination (MC)

Figure The Characteristics of Building System

Sources: Adopted from Abdullah M.R., 2009

2.5 Implementation Level of IBS in Malaysia

The use of IBS have various advantages such as the reduction dependency of foreign workers, less wastage, less volume of building materials, increased environmental and construction site cleanliness and better quality control compare to conventional method.

These advantages also promote a safer and more organised construction site, and reduce the completion time of construction. Many world-class Malaysian developers have chosen IBS over the conventional methods for important projects such as the Petronas Twin Towers, Putrajaya, KL Sentral, and KLIA. (IBS Roadmap, 2003 -2010)

Even so, the usage level of IBS in building is still low. From a survey conducted by CIDB Malaysia, the usage level of IBS in the local construction industry stands at only 15% (IBS Survey 2003). The early efforts of the Government to encourage the use of IBS in the construction sector has yet to garner a good response, and this sector is still practicing conventional construction methods that have proven time and again to be wasteful, dangerous and messy. Relatively, the low labour cost in this country is the root cause of the industry failing to reform and being complacent with the current level of productivity, quality and safety. (IBS Roadmap, 2003 -2010)

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Moreover, according to the newspaper the star 2009 stated that Jamilus explained that IBS was a construction technique in which components were manufactured in a controlled environment (on-site, off-site), transported, positioned and assembled into a structure with minimal additional site work. Beside that, out of 1,400 contractors in Johor, there only 4% of it are using this systems. Moreover, he said that since year 2008, there only 51 contractors in the state have been reported to use the IBS system in their building projects and the number were expected improve in time. (The star, 2009)

2.6 Malaysia’s Experiences in IBS

The usage of IBS is not new in the Malaysia construction industry. The idea using IBS in Malaysia was first purpose during the early 60’s when the Minister housing and Local Government visited several European countries and evaluated their building system performance. At the time, the government makes a big decision to give a try on a two pilot projects using IBS concept. The first project, Pekeliling Flat was constructed along Jalan Pekeliling with construction of 7 blocks of 17 storey flats, and 4 blocks of 4 storey flats comprising around 3,000 units of low cost flats and 40 storey shop lot and this project using large panel industrialized prefabricated systems. On the other hand, the second project was built in Penang with the construction of 6 blocks of 17 storey flats and 3 blocks of 18 storey flats comprising 3,699 units and 66 shop lots along the Jalan Rifle Range and this project was using the French Estiot System (Din, 1984).

Even though the first implementation IBS was not successful due to the failure to keep within cost estimation but there are some successful adoption too. Among the significant projects that implement IBS are including KL Sentral. KL Convention Centre, KLIA, etc

Following is the Successful implemented of IBS throughout Malaysia (CIDB Malaysia, 2003)

Year 2007 – Stormwater Management and Road Tunnel (SMART Tunnel), Kuala Lumpur

– The Spring Shopping Mall, Kuching, Sarawak

Year 2006 – Kuching International Airport, Kuching, Sarawak

– Persada Johor International Convention Centre, Johor Bahru

Year 2005 – Serdang Hospital, Serdang, Selangor

– The Curve, Mutiara Damansara, Selangor

Year 2001 – Kuala Lumpur Sentral ( KL Sentral), Kuala Lumpur

– Likas Stadium, Kota Kinabalu, Sabah

Year 1998 – Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Sepang, Selangor

– Malawati Indoor Satdium, Bukit Jalil, Selangor

Year 1997 – Petronas Twin Tower, Kuala Lumpur

– Bukit Jalil, Bukit Jalil, Salangor

Year 1984 – Daybumi Complex, Kuala Lumpur

Year 1981 – High end bungalows and low cost houses throughout Selangor

2.7 The Advantages for IBS adoption in Construction Industry

There are some several advantages using IBS (MCRJ, 2009)

1. Reduce Remittances by foreign worker:

The Government aimed to achieve 100 percent usage of IBS and to reduce to 15 percent or approximately 50,000 of foreign workers in the construction industry by 2010. With the current foreign workers totaling 227,000, the remittances of the foreign workers amounted to about 7.5 billion. It is expected that the Government would be able to reduce the remittances with the full implementation of IBS. (Bernama.com, 2006)

2. Enhance Efficiency of Construction Process and Higher Productivity:

IBS is a methodology whereby a local construction industry is driven towards the adoption of an integrated and encouraging key players in the construction industry to produce and utilize pre-fabricated and mass production of the building at their work sites. This will help to enhance the efficiency of construction process, allowing a higher productivity, quality, time and cost saving. (CIDB, 2004)

3. Produce Better Product:

IBS promises elevated levels of expertise throughout the industry, from manufacturers, installers, engineers, planners, designers, and developers. The benefits of IBS will ultimately produce better products for the population (CIDB, 2003)

4. Reduce Wastage, Less Site Materials, Costs, Cleaner and Neater Environment:

The IBS, which enables on-site prefabricated or pre-cast building components manufactured at factories offers minimal wastage, less site materials, cleaner and neater environment, controlled quality, and lower total construction cost (CIDB, 2003). For example, the repetitive use of system formwork made up of steel, aluminium, etc and scaffolding provides considerable cost savings (Bing et al. 2001).

5. Higher Quality of Component:

An industrialised building system component produces higher quality of components attainable through careful selection of materials, use of advanced technology and strict quality assurance control (Din,1984)

6. Reduce Labour at Site:

Prefabrication takes place at a centralised factory, thus reducing labour requirement at site. This is true especially when high degree of mechanisation is involved (Warszawski, 1999)

7. Faster Completion:

An industrialised building system allows for faster construction time because casting of precast element at factory and foundation work at site can occur simultaneously. This provides earlier occupation of the building, thus reducing interest payment or capital outlays (Waleed et al., 2003)

8. Not Affected by Adverse Weather Condition:

Construction operation is not affected by adverse weather condition because prefabricated component is done in a factory controlled environment (Waleed et al., 2003)

9. Flexible Design:

An industrialised building system allows fexibility in architectural design in order to minimise the monotony of repetitive facades (Warszawski, 1999). An industrialised building system provides flexibility in the design of precast element as well as in construction so that different systems may produce their own unique prefabrication construction methods (Zaini, 2000)

2.8 Barriers of Adoption in Malaysia Construction Industry

IBS can replace the conventional building system which is labour oriented However, since the first project of IBS not well accepted by construction parties because of fail to deal with the risks such failure of keep within the cost estimate. For example, the first project incurred 8.1 % higher costs than a similar building that using conventional construction method, while the second project was 2.6% lower than the cost. Both projects also completed in 27 months in term of compare to the construction speed but are inclusive the time of set up the recasting factories too. When come to the quality, the conventional method seems have better quality than IBS. In conclusion, there is a competitive with conventional construction method.

Even though IBS is good to implement due to its advantages but the implementation of usage level is still very low. According to Waleed et. al. (2003), the common consensus of all the stakeholders of construction in Malaysia is that, the IBS implementation in Malaysian building construction industry is still very low compared to the conventional methods. This is due to several reasons(MCRJ, 2009):

1. Costs and Return Investment:

Wide swings in houses demand, high interest rate and cheap labour cost, make it difficult to justify large capital investment. At present there is an abundance of cheap foreign workers in Malaysia and contractors prefer to use labour intensive conventional building system because it is far easier to lay off workers during slack period. The economic benefits of IBS are not well documented in Malaysia and the past experiences indicated IBS is more expensive due to fierce competition from conventional building system.

2. Lack of skilled and knowledgeable manpower:

Fully prefabricated construction system requires high construction precision. Malaysian labour force still lack of skilled workers in IBS implementation.

3. The Practices:

The construction industry is very fragmented, diverse and involves many parties. Consensus is required in the use of IBS during planning stage.

4. Knowledge based:

Lack of Research & Development (R&D) in the area of novel building system that uses local materials. Majorities of IBS in Malaysia are imported from developed countries, thus driving up the construction cost. Engineering degrees in local universities seldom teach about the design and construction of IBS.

5. Low Quality:

The use of IBS in Japan and Sweden are so successful due to high quality and high productivity but it sis the opposite in Malaysia. Previous projects constructed with IBS concept were of low quality and high construction cost.

6. Lack of Incentive and Awareness:

Due to the lack of incentive and promotion from government in the use of IBS, many many architects and engineers are still unaware of the basic elements of IBS such as modular co-ordination.

7. Lack of Scientific Information:

An IBS system can only be acceptable to practitioners if its major advantages are valuable compared to the conventional system. However, up to date, there is inadequate corroborative evidence to substantiate the benefits of IBS system. It is therefore, arguable that the implementation of IBS is particularly hindered by lack of scientific information (Badir et al., 2002)

8. Wastage of Material:

Standardization of building elements faces resistance from the construction industry due to aesthetic reservation and economic reason. One good example of this is when a 300mm thick modular standardized floor slab has to be used although a 260mm thick floor slab can achieve the similar structural performance. This results wastage of material (Waleed et al., 2003)

Issue that related to IBS and contractor

1. IBS first time use by DBKL in infrastructure project of build a bridge Jalan Dewan Bahasa-Jalan Hang Tuah because of time saving and reduce traffic jam. This also can give benefit for those students that around the school area. Beside that, around 75 % of IBS have been use to prevent any problem that not complete according to the schedule.

Ibs also can save time, reduce labour and site very clean, tidy and have quality. Mostly IBS is use for building. This project is the first infrastructure project using IBS. Moreover, the rest of the project will be using IBS.

2.9 Summary of the Chapter

Nowadays in Malaysia, IBS still being developed and applied in new building. Mean while, the implementation level is still very low what has anticipate by the government. The purpose of IBS is very clear as an alternative for conventional method and also reduces the dependency of labour, and increase the performance in time, cost, and quality. The Government of Malaysia promote IBS component to the construction industrials.

In the literature review have proved that there are many benefits of IBS but still is low usage among contractors and the implementation of using IBS level is still very low.

Chapter 3 Research Methodology

3.1 Introduction

Research methodology explains methods that used in the research study, what data have been collected, what method is adopted, why particular technique of analyzing data used; all of these will be answered in this chapter.

The quantitative approach will be carried out in this research and the questionnaire survey method will be used in this research. This section of study will focus on the method of the study to achieve the objective of this research.

The questionnaire has been chosen to survey the factors, and degree of acceptance, usage, advantages and comment of adoption in IBS. This method is saving in terms of time and cost as well as convenient as it can distributes to large amount of respondent but the possible also did not get receive any respond from respondent and the quality of the information gather from questionnaire might inconsistent and inaccurate and also need to be carefully analysis.

3.2 Method of Research

Figure 3.1 shows the methods that be carried out in order to achieve the objective of this study and followed by the explanation of each step.

  • Constructing Questionnaire
  • Distribute Questionnaire
  • Results Gathering and Analysing
  • Conclusion

Figure Method of Research

3.2.1 Construct the Questionnaire

For the purpose of designing the question, the research objectives and literature review had been taken into account to lead to differentiate various issues, topics and ideas to create the questions in the questionnaire.

The quantitative questionnaire will be use in this study. Before questionnaire to be produce out, there should be required to review thoroughly to the literature review and the research aim and objectives. This is to make sure that there will not be out of topic from the research, this is the initial stage for formulating question. Secondly, produce question that can achieve aim and objectives and related to literature review. The third stage is to make the questionnaire easy to understand and suitable with comprehensive but short enough, no leading question and double question. This will make respondents can fill up easily and faster due to the possibility that the respondents are busy. The Rationale of Questionnaire Design

The first part is ask about the background or experiences a


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