Govt urges local authorities to make IBS mandatory

By IZZAT RATNA & SIOW NAN YEE  / Pic By AFIF ABD HALIM

The government wants local authorities to make industrialised building system (IBS) as one of the approving requirements, as the authorities seek to boost the application of pre-fabricated components in the country’s construction sector.

The IBS concept, where components are manufactured on-site or off-site and incorporated into construction project, has been dogged by claims of high costs and inadequate resources.

Developers and construction companies have resisted calls to implement IBS despite the government’s push for the sector to embrace the system.

Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof said the country needs to ensure that the construction industry embraces technology and shifts from the traditional way of doing work to embracing technologies like IBS.

“This is the way forward. Otherwise, we will not be able to compete with all the other nations that are moving and adopting new technology.

“Now, we want to get all the local authorities, who are the approving agencies, to make it as one of the mandatory terms where all submissions must be IBS-compliant. If this is done, eventually, people will adopt and migrate to IBS,” he said after the launch of the International Construction Week (ICW) 2018 in Kuala Lumpur yesterday.

The government’s push for IBS application had hit a snag without the support of local authorities. While the government sets the policies at the federal level and could force such conditions for its projects, local projects, especially housing developments, are approved by the respective local authority.

It is not known how the federal government can push local authorities to make IBS a mandatory requirement in approving projects.

“We are looking into some incentives to help the smaller-scale companies. But at the same time, what is more important is to create volume. By having volume, then it will bring down the cost,” Fadillah said.

He said the government hopes to replicate the same cooperation with the Ministry of Education (MoE) to enforce the IBS agenda.

“The MoE has engaged the teaching of new technologies on building information modelling (BIM) and IBS.

“They’ve started IBS for all the new schools. I’m happy that the MoE has been engaged. Now, we have to engage more ministries so that, eventually, all public projects adopt the IBS concept.

He said the ministry is making IBS compliance one of the mandatory terms to bring on migration to the system.

The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) is mulling the prospects of introducing new incentives for local players to adopt the BIM and IBS concepts.

CEO Datuk Ahmad Asri Abdul Hamid said CIDB is studying the kind of incentive packages to encourage more mechanisation and automation.

“One of the possibilities is to have some productivity fund for companies showing the most commitment in enhancing productivity through mechanisation and automation,” he said, adding that such proposal is still in the preliminary stages.

Ahmad Asri said the focus now would be on enhancing the ecosystem of BIM and IBS, and addressing the issues of higher initial cost and talent shortages.