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Industrialized Building System (IBS)

Introduction and History

Not many among us all except those who are in the midst of  progressive development in the heart of the capital really understood the concepts and technologies lay behind the Industrialized Building System or simply known as IBS amongst the construction and build communities. Unrealized, the Government of Malaysia has put a lot of effort to start the implementation of IBS in their construction contract and roadmap for IBS toward 2010. Nevertheless, the industry stakeholders are indifferent of this idea and thus resist toward this change which probably due to ignorance (lack of idea and awareness or lack of effort in understanding the concept) and cost in technology transfer due to the initial high cost in implementation (however these technologies enable to reuse for reoccurring processes).

IBS in Malaysia has begun in early 1960’s when Ministry of Housing and Local Government of Malaysia visited several European countries and evaluate their housing development program (Thanoon et. al., 2003). After their successful visit in 1964, the government had started first project on IBS aims to speed up the delivery time and built affordable and quality houses. About 22.7 acres of land along Jalan Pekeliling, Kuala Lumpur was dedicated to the project comprising seven blocks of 17 stories flat there are 3000 units of low-cost flat and 40 shops lot. This project was awarded to Gammon & Larsen Nielsen using Danish System of large panel of pre-fabricated system.

The IBS system are well known in maintaining persistent in quality to standards required due to the factors where most of the IBS system members are manufactured in production line in the factory. To date there has been no one commonly-accepted or agreed definition on Industrialized Building System (IBS). However, there are a few definitions by researchers who studied into this area previously emphasizing on the concept on pre-fabrication, off-site production, manufacturing and mass production of building components (Rahman & Omar, 2006; Lessing et al. 2005; Thanoon et al, 2003 and Warszawski, 1999).

IBS and its barrier

IBS often misinterpreted with negative image due to its unattractive architecture, Rahman & Omar (2006). Aside from that, IBS are not familiar or make a deep impact in the industry due to other factors, viz:-

  • IBS is not favourable and popular among designers
  • Lack of understanding of among designers, client and contractors
  • Slow adoption among contractors with the available systems and high degree of skills, mechanism, coordination and logistic for transportation and erection of the system.
  • The lest standardized and non-concurrent for joints, design, adaptation, chemistry of the components produced coupled with the poor quality and bad aesthetic outlook have make it much harder to promote it within the build communities especially contractors.
  • The chances of securing a continuous project from government worries the contractor in term of cash flow where the break event point after investing on IBS system.

The use of hollow core precast slab in PETRONAS Kimanis Training Center building construction

Where MCS stands?

MCS stands as the promoter for the IBS system where we would assist contractors with designs by highly recognized local consultants and expatriate designers; setting up yards for fabrications, sourcing the value products and erection service which fits with your budgets as well as to undertake sub-contracts for IBS installations. Nevertheless, some criteria should be review before implementing this system to your construction or your development. 

In some of our past projects the common issues involving IBS are as follows

  • the limited production scale in comparison to demand to install in order to reduce time lost,
  • the quality of the production doesn't meet the quality standard required;
  • the redundant use of safety props (by certain client) even though parts of the IBS components are sufficient to function as temporary works, and
  • the combination of in-situ cast and IBS may cause some discrepancies and gaps if not controlled accordingly.

It is recommended that IBS maybe a suitable option depending on the construction type, methodologies, site personnel experience and the IBS fabricator. If one of these elements are not ready nor comprehend methods for IBS in construction, most likely IBS will be the critical path if not task that possibly be contributing to delay in the project schedule.