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Industrialized Building System


The industrialized building system is not new in the world, and also in Malaysia. In the United States, the steel beams were combined with precast slab panels and used in rapid construction of skyscrapers in the early of last century. In Europe, after the devastation that brought by the Second World War, some European countries adopted prefabricated system due to intensive shortage in material and human resources (CIDB 2005-a).   

In Malaysia, Traditional Malay House (TMH) was very common type of housing in the past. The components of these houses were prepared before construction like columns, beams, walls, floors, roofs etc. These houses provided good environmental, social, technical and economical aspects for Malay people and there was a good investment of timber in the nature (CIDB 2007-a).

The first manufacturer of standard designs of Traditional Malay House in Malaysia was Kayu Sedia (KS) Company which established in 1968. One of KS products was the ready made house with affordable price and variation in design. Kayu Sedia (KS) Company can be considered as an IBS manufacturer because of standard design module, applying standard dimensioning system (Imperial foot and inch), can be mass produced based on standard design module, in factory produced component and high quality product (CIDB 2007-a). Now, these traditional Malay houses have become pieces of cultural heritage and they can be a source of knowledge in this field.

After that, the usage of iron to enforce cement presented rapid development in construction industry all over the world and many types of industrialized building system (IBS) have been appeared. During the 20th century, precast concrete system has been developed in European countries and became more economical than conventional method (CIDB 2005-b).

The prosperity and high increasing in Malaysian population have generated great demands on construction activities. That case has created shortage in housing. The conventional construction method, due to the slow pace of construction and high cost, was not able to meet housing demands (Agus 1997). Therefore, Malaysian government has taken great efforts to adopt the industrialized building system. In sixties, the minister of housing and local government traveled to many European countries to utilize from their experience in housing field.

After that, the government initiated the first IBS pilot project in Jalan Pekeliling in Kuala Lumpur consisted of 3000 units of low cost flats and 40 shop lots (7 blocks of 17 story flats and 4 blocks of 4 story flats) using the large panel Danish System (Din 1984). After that, in 1965, the second IBS pilot project was implemented in Penang in Jalan Rifle Range, consisted of 3,699 units and 66 shop lots (6 blocks of 17 storey flats and 3 blocks of 18 storey flats), using French Estiot System  (Din 1984).  Because of using European systems, the design was inefficient to meet the need of Malaysian life such as wet toilets and bathrooms. So, the problems of leakage and sealant have become the common issue and contributed to bring a bad reputation to precast system. (Rahman & Omar 2006). Shoddy installations had also contributed to these problems. Today, these problems have become a part of early attempt for the past decade and precast technology has since improved (CIDB 2005-a).

According to Din (1984), a comparison was done to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of industrialized building system and if this method is more effective than conventional method in term of quality control, cost, speed of construction, and labor requirement. In terms of quality, IBS appeared higher quality if compared with the low cost buildings constructed using conventional method especially the finishing of IBS interior walls was more aesthetical than conventional walls constructed using cement-sand hollow blocks. Concerning cost, the first pilot project which located in Kuala Lumpur was more expensive than the conventional system for about 8.1%. Whereas the cost of the second pilot project was cheaper for approximately 2.6% compared to the conventional system housing project completed around that time. Industrialized building system was more time saving if compared with conventional method. The construction time of the two pilot projects took 27 months including establishing the plants. It has been found that the implementation of industrialized building system in both projects in term of saving time and materials involved in faster erection of scaffoldings, shorter constructions time and the construction process was unaffected by weather condition. In these two pilot projects, industrialized building system saved labour in about 30% to 40% compared to conventional practice particularly in the field of brick layers, plasterers and carpenters.

During the period from 1981 to 1993, PKNS obtained the precast concrete technology from Praton Haus International Germany and executed several housing projects ranging from low cost houses to high cost bungalows. The nineties witnessed many successful projects after the development of precast concrete and steel technology such as the Petronas Twin Towers, Bukit Jalil Sports Complex and Games Village, and the LRT lines and tunnels (CIDB 2003-a).

Malaysian government has highly committed the implementation of industrialized building system. The first strong indication by the government after the Cabinet's endorsement on IBS Roadmap in 2003 was through the 2005 Budget announcement back in September 2004. It was announced that all new government building projects were required to have at least 50% IBS content; which is calculated through the IBS Score Manual that was developed by CIDB (Budget speech 2005). The decision of making the use of industrialized building system compulsory for government buildings was to create sufficient momentum for the demand of IBS components (Shaari 2006). The second announcement was on the levy exemption for housing projects that have 50% IBS components as minimum to attract private clients (Budget speech 2005).

During 2006 Budget announcement, the government offered tax incentive through Accelerated Capital Allowance (ACA) for IBS manufacturers to purchase moulds used for production of precast concrete components. In addition, it was mentioned in 2006 Budget that the government would ensure that all IBS components used in public projects are complied with Malaysian standard MS 1064 to encourage and facilitate standardization of IBS components (Budget speech 2006). After that, the announcement of the Ninth Malaysia Plan has strengthened the commitment of IBS agenda through emphasis on IBS in public and affordable housing projects and offering more incentives for the users of standardized drawings based on the usage of IBS and MC (Shaari 2006).

However, the development of IBS was in slow pace. In CIDB survey 2003, it was found that the usage of IBS in the local construction industry was only 15% (CIDB 2003-a). The completed project using IBS in the year 2006 was only 10% (CIDB 2007 as citied in Hamid et al 2009) which is considered as very small percent as compare to IBS Roadmap forecasting IBS projects of 30 % in 2004 and 70% in year 2008 (CIDB 2003-b). Moreover, Malaysian own production of industrialized building system is still very few compared to the IBS production which is originated from other countries. It is reported that at least 21 suppliers and manufacturers are involved in the dissemination of IBS in Malaysia. Malaysian’s production of industrialized building systems are only accounted for 12%, whereas greater portion are originated from the United States, Germany and Australia with market share of 25%, 17% and 17% respectively. This result indicates that there are considerable needs to improve the application of IBS in Malaysia (Badir et al 2002).

A statistical study conducted in Northern Malaysia (Kedah and Perlis) amongst housing developers revealed that the majority of respondents have not use industrialized building system in their projects. The statistics showed that only 31.6 % of developers have used industrialized building system while the remaining still using the conventional method (Nawi et al 2007). A survey curried out by Wee (2006) indicated that industrialized building system is well accepted in Malaysia but the practice is still low in construction industry.

The successful of industrialized building system in some developed countries is implemented by applying two policies. Persuading home buyers about long term energy saving, indoor air quality, and other health and comfort related issues, and commitment of houses developers toward new innovated prefabricated technology. Malaysia can mimic their steps and achieve great success in construction industrialization field (Thanoon et al 2003).


[1]- (CIDB 2005-a), Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) Malaysia, “Precast Concrete Construction”, IBS Digest January – March 2005 Issue, 2005, pp 11-14.

[2]- (CIDB 2007-a), Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) Malaysia, “The First Industrialized Building System (IBS) Timber House (TH) in Malaysia”, Contributor: Ar. Zulkifli Hj Ismail (UIAM), IBS Digest 01-2007 Issue, 2007, pp 8.

[3]- (CIDB 2005-b), Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) Malaysia, “IBS a Short History”, IBS Digest July-September 2005 Issue, 2005, pp 11, 12.

[4]- Agus, M. R., ‘‘Urban development and housing policy in Malaysia’’, Int. J. Housing Sci. Applicat, 21(2), 97–106, 1997.

[5]- (Din 1984) Din H., "Industrialised building and its application in Malaysia", Seminar on Prefabrication of Building Construction, 1984.

[6]- Rahman, A.B.A and Omar, W., “Issues and Challenges in the Implementation of IBS in Malaysia”, The 6th Asia-Pacific Structural Engineering and Construction Conference (ASPEC 2006), 5-6 September 2006. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 2006, pp C-45 – C-53.

[7]- (CIDB 2003-a), Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) Malaysia, “Survey on the Usage of Industrialized Building Systems (IBS) in Malaysian Construction Industry”, Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) Malaysia, 2003.

[8]- Yab Dato’ Seri Abdullah bin HJ. Ahmad Badawi, “Budget Speech 2005”.

[9]- (Shaari 2006), Shahrul Nizar Shaari, “IBS Roadmap 2003-2010: The Progress and Challenges”, The Ingenieur Sept-Nov 2006 issue.

[10]- Yab Dato’ Seri Abdullah bin HJ. Ahmad Badawi, “The 2006 Budget Speech”.

[11]- (Hamid et al 2009), Zuhairi Abd. Hamid, Kamarul Anuar Mohamad Kamar, Maria Zura Mohd. Zain, Mohd Khairolden Ghani and Ahmad Hazim Abdul Rahim, “Industrialized Building System (IBS) in Malaysia: The Current State and R&D Initiatives”, Construction Research Institute of Malaysia (CREAM), Kuala Lumpur, 2009.

[12]- (CIDB 2003-b) Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) Malaysia, "Industrialized Building System IBS Roadmap 2003-2010", 2003.

[13]- Badir, Y.F., Kadir, M.R.A. and Hashim, A.H., “Industrialised Building Systems Construction in Malaysia”, Journal of Architectural Engineering, Vol. 8, No. 1, 2002, pp 19-23.

[14]- (Nawi et al 2007) Mohd Nasrun Mohd Nawi, Faizatul Akmar Abdul Nifa, Shardy Abdullah & Fadhil Mat Yasin, “A Preliminary Survey of The Application of Industrialized Building System(IBS) in Kedah and Perlis Malaysian Construction Industry”, Conference on Sustainable Building South East Asia, 5-7 November 2007, Malaysia.

[15]- (Wee 2006), Eng Chee Wee, "Application of acotec industrialized building system in Malaysia's construction industry", Bachelor Thesis, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 2006.

[16]- Thanoon, W.A.M., Peng, L.W., Abdul Kadir, M.R., Jaafar, M.S. and Salit, M.S., “The Experiences of Malaysia and Other Countries in Industrialized Building System in Malaysia”,  International Conference on Industrialized Building Systems, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, 10-11 September, 2003.