Scholarly article on topic 'The Potential Application of IBS Modular System in the Construction of Housing Scheme in Malaysia'

The Potential Application of IBS Modular System in the Construction of Housing Scheme in Malaysia Academic research paper on "Civil engineering"

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{"Industrialised building system (IBS)" / "modular system (MS)" / "IBS modular system" / "housing schemes"}

Abstract of research paper on Civil engineering, author of scientific article — Mohammad Fadhil Mohammad, Addey Sham Baharin, Muhamad Faiz Musa, Mohd Reeza Yusof

Abstract Industrialised Building System (IBS) Modular System (MS) is a construction delivery method where buildings are manufactured 60% to 90% off-site in a factory-controlled environment and transported, assembled and fixed at the final building site. Findings from the questionnaire survey indicated that the MS may be able to reduce the total construction time and minimise the construction wastage considerably. However, the high initial cost and lack of technical expertise are among the hindrances in the implementation of Modular System in Malaysia. This paper will also look into options in achieving the quality of life aimed for its tenants and community.

Academic research paper on topic "The Potential Application of IBS Modular System in the Construction of Housing Scheme in Malaysia"

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Procedia - Social and Behavioral Sciences 222 (2016) 75 - 82

ASEAN-Turkey ASLI Conferences on Quality of Life 2015 AcE-Bs ver. 2: AicQoL2015Jakarta AMER International Conference on Quality of Life Millenium Hotel, Sireh, Jakarta, Indonesia, 25-27 April 2015

"Quality of Life in the Built & Natural Environment 3 "

The Potential Application of IBS Modular System in the

Construction of Housing Scheme in Malaysia

Mohammad Fadhil Mohammad , Addey Sham Baharin, Muhamad Faiz Musa,

Mohd Reeza Yusof

Construction Economics and Procurement Research Group, Centre of Studies for Quantity Surveying, Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia


Industrialised Building System (IBS) Modular System (MS) is a construction delivery method where buildings are manufactured 60% to 90% off-site in a factory-controlled environment and transported, assembled and fixed at the final building site. Findings from the questionnaire survey indicated that the MS may be able to reduce the total construction time and minimise the construction wastage considerably. However, the high initial cost and lack of technical expertise are among the hindrances in the implementation of Modular System in Malaysia. This paper will also look into options in achieving the quality of life aimed for its tenants and community. © 2016PublishedbyElsevier Ltd. Thisis anopen access article undertheCCBY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of AMER (Association of Malaysian Environment-Behaviour Researchers) and cE-Bs (Centre for Environment- Behaviour Studies, Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia. Keywords: Industrialised building system (IBS); modular system (MS); IBS modular system; housing schemes

1. Introduction

Innovative Industrialised Building System (IBS) can be defined as the modern method of construction through innovation and "green" characteristic as a main element; which is advanced than the previous version of Industrialised Building System (IBS). It is the total manufacturing of IBS product in control environment (by means of high technology IBS plant, generated by the sophisticated program and

* Corresponding author. Tel.: +0-000-000-0000 ; fax: +0-000-000-0000 . E-mail address:

1877-0428 © 2016 Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (http://creativecommons.Org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/).

Peer-review under responsibility of AMER (Association of Malaysian Environment-Behaviour Researchers) and cE-Bs (Centre for Environment- Behaviour Studies, Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Malaysia. doi:10.1016/j.sbspro.2016.05.189

machine). Modular System (MS) is a co-ordinated unified system for dimensioning spaces, components, fitting etc so that all elements fit together without cutting or extending even when the components and fittings are manufactured by different suppliers (W.A Thanoon et al,. 2003 & Trikha, 1999). Due to the poor architectural design, the old pre-fabricated buildings have given the public bad impression about precast concrete (Ahmad Baharuddin Abd. Rahman,2006). The so called "old version" of IBS is irrelevant; technically speaking. Design is the main factor to be considered by the customer's / home owner's eyes.

The most common problems encountered in IBS systems are improper assembly of the components that normally involved the beam-to-column and column-to-base connections (Ahmad Baharuddin Abd. Rahman, 2006). This is due to factor that highlighted by W.A Thanoon et al,. 2003 which states fully prefabricated construction system requires high construction precision. Typically, most of the IBS design process deals with offsite production through the concept of design for preassembly and prefabrication process. A number of previous studies indicated that a weakness of IBS lies in its cumbersome connections and jointing methods that open to errors and sloppy work (Thanoon et. al., 2003a and Nawi et. al., 2007b).

After the lessons learnt from previous public projects involving the IBS system, the government through the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) initiated the IBS roadmap whilst enforcing the IBS system application to all public works in the country; which emphasises the promotion of green, recycled, recyclable materials towards sustainability in the Malaysian construction industry.

On the other hand, the Modular System offered the potential and realistic characteristics in its system and it is believed that Modular System is able to resolve some of the conventional IBS issues. Other than speed of construction, reduced wastage, cost effective and green environment; Modular System is the system that promotes reused and recyclable materials, flexibility in many areas as well as possible relocatiblity.

2. Literature review

2.1. Introduction

As a developing country, Malaysia is moving towards a sustained growth rate that has been proposed in the Brundtland commission report. According to the report, a sustained growth rate in the developing countries should be about 5 to 6 %. This is required to provide an economic basis for an increased level of distributional equity without placing any restrictions. To support this vision, the Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia (CIDB) has identified the importance of increasing the level of knowledge within the construction community in the Malaysian Construction Industry Master Plan 2005-2015. This approach is mandatory to drive changes in the local construction market to pursue long term sustainability and to ensure sustainable capabilities to the stakeholders. In addition, the improvement will enhance the ability of local construction players to compete in the global market by emerging sustainable development principles. However, it is important to note that the progress of adopting sustainability in the Malaysian construction industry is still at the early stage and awareness on this issue should be improved immediately.

However, the concept of constructability started in the late 1960s to integrate the optimum use of construction knowledge and experience in the conceptual planning, detail engineering, procurement, and conduct field operations in phases to achieve the overall project objectives; and ease of construction (CII, 1986). The constructability concept has been extensively developed and applied in UK, Australia and Malaysia where numerous studies have proved that constructability concept manage to save cost and time in the process of completion of the projects (Nima et al., 2001, Trigunarsyah, 2004, Wong et al.,2007).

The construction industry has currently been transformed into a mass production to develop standardisation of products in line with the global market. The Malaysian government is aware of the importance of developing a capable construction industry, which has to be driven by technological developments in a manufacturing and service industry able to contribute to the economy. In Singapore, a great concern was stated in the C21 report (reinventing construction) that highlights the blue print of their construction industry which reported the most recent review of the state of the construction industry. The report identifies six strategic thrusts requirement for Singapore to become a world-class construction industry and Dulaimi et al. (2004) find out that Singapore is seen to lag behind from Australia, Japan and the United States in the performance of the construction industry.

On the other hand, prefabrication is a manufacturing process generally taking place at a specialized facility, in which various materials are jointed to form a component part for final installation (Tatum, 1986). But on the other hand the prefabrication process could also run onsite (onsite fabrication). While off-site construction is a description of the spectrum or part which are manufactured or assembled remote from building site prior to installation in their final position (Goodier and Gibb, 2007a). Thus prefabrication is use by the term off site construction as well as Modern Method of Construction (MMC); Off-Site Manufacturing (OSM) and Industrialized Building System (IBS). The definitions for the term MMC, OSM and IBS have the interrelated concept of prefabrication and on site fabrication (Azman et al., 2011a).

2.2. Degree of industrialisation

Five degrees of industrialisation can be identified, mainly by extrapolating from what is going on in other industries such as manufacturing and automotive. In theory, the degrees of industrialisation (Richard, 2005) as illustrated in Figure 1 are:

2.2.1. Prefabrication is a manufacturing process that generally takes place at a specialised facility, in which various materials are joined to form a component part of the final installation.

2.2.2. Mechanisation comes in whenever machinery is employed to ease the workload of the labourer. It is a condition of having a highly technical implementation or the act of implementing the control of equipment with advanced technology; usually involving electronic hardware; automation replaces human workers by machines.

2.2.3. Automation is a situation when the tooling (machine) completely takes over the tasks performed by the labourer.

2.2.4. Robotics comprises the ability of the same tooling which has the multi-axis flexibility to perform diversified tasks by itself. This allows the mass-customisation concept.

2.2.5. Reproduction implies that the research and development of innovative processes are truly capable of simplifying the production process.

2.3. Modular systems

There are many new construction methods being introduced due to the innovation and improvement of construction technology such as Modular System (MS). According to Modular Building Institute, modular building is segment or part of a building constructed off site, under controlled plant conditions,

using the same materials and designed to the same codes and standards as conventionally built facilities -but in about half the time. Structurally, modular buildings are generally stronger than conventional construction because each module is engineered to independently withstand the rigors of transportation and craning onto foundations. Once together and sealed, the modules become one integrated wall, floor and roof assembly. Building off site ensures better construction quality management. Materials that are delivered to the plant location are safely and securely stored in the manufacturer's warehouse to prevent damage or deterioration from moisture and the elements. Manufacturing plants have stringent QA/QC programs with independent inspection and testing protocols that promote superior quality of construction every step of the way. Beyond quality management and improved completion time, modular construction offers numerous other benefits to owners. Removing approximately 80% of the building construction activity from the site location significantly reduces site disruption, vehicular traffic and improves overall safety and security. So, for schools, hospitals, or other active businesses, reducing on-site activity and thereby eliminating a large part of the ongoing construction hazards, is a tremendous advantage. As owners and designers look for more sustainable designs for improved environmental impact, modular building system is inherently a natural fit. Building in a controlled environment reduces waste through avoidance upstream rather than diversion downstream. This, along with improved quality management throughout the construction process and significantly less on-site activity and disturbance, inherently promotes sustainability ("Why Build Modular?", 2013).

Fig. 1. The degrees of industrialisation (Richard, 2005)

2.4. Benefits of modular system

There is a growing demand for the construction industry to provide better value by improving the quality and performance. The 1998 DETR Egan Report 'Rethinking Construction' called for a culture of

co-operation and greater innovation in procurement, design and construction, leading to demonstrable savings and benefits to the client, the contractor and to society in general. Modular construction uses pre-engineered volumetric units that are installed on site as fitted-out and serviced 'building blocks'. The use of modular construction is directly influenced by the client's requirements for speed of construction, quality, added benefits of economy of scale, as well as single point procurement. These benefits may be quantified in a holistic assessment of the costs and value of modular construction in relation to the more traditional alternatives.

The attributes of Modular System are:

i. reduced construction costs, especially when combined with economy of scale production (10%+)

ii. much reduced construction time on site (50 to 60%)

iii. increased profitability of the industry due to economy of manufacturing scale

iv. increased site productivity (up to 50%)

v. greater certainty of completion on time and to budget

vi. much reduced wastage in manufacturing and on site

vii. greater reliability and quality

In the majority of buildings, there are a wide range of possible materials and construction systems that may be employed. The choice of primary structure is generally determined by the initial cost, with less regard to functionality and performance characteristics. Previous studies have often failed to look at the whole building holistically, but have concentrated on the individual elements, without taking advantage of the whole process and the impact of the following trades or components. This is where the Modular System comes into play.

3. Methodology

The research methodology for this study involves the questionnaire surveys that have been conducted among the IBS manufacturers and IBS contractors companies around Klang Valley, Selangor. In order to establish the sample of appropriate respondents, a list of construction companies have been obtained from the Construction Industry Development Board's database. There are approximately 40 IBS manufacturer and IBS contractors in Klang Valley which are registered with the CIDB. The purpose of the questionnaire was to obtain the responses on the acceptance of Modular System in IBS projects.

3.1. Sample and population

Jackson (2011) indicated the sampling involved two basic issues like making the right decisions in the selection of items (people, products or services) and feeling confident with the data generated by the sample which can be transformed into accurate information about the overall population. Further, sampling can be used when it was impossible or unreasonable to conduct a census. Hence, when using the census, the researcher was interested in collecting the primary data about or from every member of a defined target population. The construction company list that was related to IBS projects has been obtained from the Construction Industry Development Board, Malaysia (CIDB) was updated up to the period of October 2014.

3.2. Sampling techniques

The sampling techniques used is the Stratified Random Sampling due samples are drawn from within different strata that are more or less equal on some characteristics. A variable (sometimes several variables) is identified as an efficient basis for stratification. The criterion for stratification variable is that

it is a characteristic of the population elements know to be related to dependent or other variables of interest (Jackson, 2011). For instant, the researcher interested in measuring conventional IBS system might choose various respondents involved in IBS project. In this case, the mutually exclusive strata are IBS contractor and IBS manufacturer. Through this, the researcher generally selected the companies based on the listing address provided from the data obtained from CIDB.

3.3. Research limitation and challenges

Due to the time constraint with only four (4) weeks to spare in distributing the questionnaires survey to the participants, therefore, only the Selangor region has been covered for this study. In addition, Selangor been selected to conduct this study because this region is the busiest states in Malaysia, in term of IBS projects. Thus, future studies could explore a wider parameter such as the Malaysian construction industry as a whole. There are few hindrances throughout the surveys as such the respondents changed their address, phone number, offices under renovation or closed for business. Furthermore, the process to obtain their permission to distribute these questions also took some time although the majority of them were busy, on leave or working outstation.

4. Findings and discussion

4.1. Methods used to interpret data from questionnaire

Data in Part A on Respondents Background were analysed using frequency and percentage method. Data were compiled according to their numeric value and presented in the form of charts. Using frequency method, all the data were compiled according to their numeric value using Microsoft Excel 2013. Data in Part A are also analysed based on frequency and percentage. Meanwhile, Data in Part B on Issues in Current IBS Projects and Part C on the Effects on Performance and Benefits Gained from Modular System were analysed using the percentage and Index Method (Likert Scale). The Index Method is psychometric response scale primarily used in questionnaire survey to obtain respondent's preference or degree of agreement with a statement or set of statements. It is a non-comparative scaling method and one dimensional technique (only measured a single trait) in nature. The analyses using this method were presented in a sum of average index or average score. Respondents need to evaluate by giving answers in the form of scale 1-5 as per Table 1.

Table 1. Rating scale used in this survey

Strongly Disagree Neutral Agree Strongly

Disagree Agree

Value 1 2 3 4 5

% of use 0% 1% - 33% 34% - 60% 61% -99% 100%

4.2. The overall findings from the questionnaire survey

Based on the questionnaire survey that has been conducted among IBS Manufacturers and IBS Contractors, a number of findings can be made based on issues raised by the players. The followings are the issues identified in the conventional IBS system in ranking order: 1. Cost overrun

2. Delays due to conventional procurement approach

3. Quality issue

4. Jointing issue

5. Labourers are not fully skilled in IBS system

6. Delays due to improper planning

7. Machinery redundancy

Meanwhile, it was also found that the respondents (contractors and manufacturers) also have their own opinions in choosing Modular System in IBS projects. They strongly believed that apart from the Modular System having the potential to be adopted in housing schemes, the reasons for them preferably choosing Modular System over the traditional IBS system in ranking order would be for them to be able to:

1. Reduced the overall costs

2. Reduced the overall construction time

3. Reduced the construction waste

4. Produce high quality and durable product

5. Reduce and limit construction noise

6. Weatherproof construction - not depending on climate conditions

7. Reduced unnecessary plant and machineries cost

5. Conclusion

In conclusion, IBS players in Malaysia should start looking seriously at the possibility of moving up to the higher degree of industrialisation as mentioned by Richard (2005) in Figure 1 which include the Modular System that incorporates mechanisation and automation in the process. Developers should also be encouraged to participate and involved in promoting, investing and constructing new housing schemes that adopts the Modular System that has many strong points and benefits especially in promoting sustainable, high quality and much desired end products which thereafter will lead to quality living.


The Authors wish to thank and acknowledge the contributions of the IBS Centre, Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) and Universiti Teknologi MARA that have funded and supported the study.


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