Got a question? We're here to answer! If you don't see your question here, drop us a line at our Enquiry Page
What is IBS?
The Industrialised Building System is a construction technique whereby components are manufactured in a controlled environment. The controlled environment can be on-site or off-site and depends on the component manufactured or the type of building being constructed. Industrialised Building System is the Malaysian term used in Malaysian construction industry for prefabricated construction or pre-fab in short. Its usage has seen an increase in the worldwide construction industry. The system is commonly used in residential and commercial developments in Malaysia.
How IBS system is used?
Industrialised Building System has many uses in and out of the construction industry, though most of its uses revolved around the construction industry. Prefabrication is commonly used in the automotive sector, where different vehicle components are manufactured in various sections of a factory and put together at the final assembly.
In the last few decades, prefabrication has made its way into the construction process and is more commonly used today. The system can be used for small components like wall sections or, on a larger scale, as a full-scale floor on a building. Initially used in homes and small-scale projects, the IBS system is now being used in large-scale construction such as hotels.
To put it in simple terms, take a landed property. Using traditional construction methods, every square inch of the property would be constructed on-site, and every component has to be delivered to the construction site. Applying the IBS system, parts of the property, say the walls or stairs, would be constructed off-site, transported to the site and assembled with ease. Imagine building your house to build a house using building blocks or Legos.
How does the Industrialised Building System Work?
The CIDB IBS oversees the Industrialised Building System in Malaysia using The IBS Score, which is determined based on the Construction Industry Standard 18 (CIS 18: 2010). The scoring system has a maximum score of 100. The higher the IBS Score, the higher the percentage of prefabrication used in the project. While it is impossible to achieve a perfect IBS Score today, some projects can achieve an IBS Score of 70, closer to being a modular structure.
Advantages of IBS system
The Industrialised Building System, better known as prefabrication, has many benefits:
One of the biggest challenges the construction industry faces is logistics, especially when numerous materials are involved. With prefabrication, the raw ingredients can be assembled off-site and transported to the construction site. With more efficient transportation methods available in the 21st century, large volumes of prefabricated parts can be transported at any given time.
Space matters in the construction industry, and often builders are faced with the lack of space to perform the on-site assembly. With the Industrialised Building System, the need to allocate dedicated zones for assembly is eliminated, freeing up valuable space. This greatly benefits projects that are being undertaken in a tight space and heavily developed urban areas such as Klang Valley, Penang Island, Johor Bahru and Melaka.
While the weather is not a concern in places such as the Middle East and parts of Australia, Malaysia, being a tropical country, is susceptible to sudden and unpredictable weather changes. With prefabrication, most of the work is undertaken indoors without the need to worry about the weather.
Prefabrication is often done in a controlled environment, which results in a more efficient usage of raw materials, controlled noise pollution and efficient recycling. With the push for eco-friendly constructions increasing daily, the Industrialised Building System is an environmental-friendly construction method.
Traditional construction methods often leave behind temporary falsework that would have to be dismantled permanently after completion. But that’s not the case for the Industrialised Building System. Once a specific component has been fully prefabricated, the factories can be retrofitted accordingly to the next component. This includes expanding the building, adding necessary machines, and installing a niche safety system required for the new component.
Using the Industrialised Building System, the number of manual workers can be reduced as they would not be needed on the construction site. Also, the need for the human touch in difficult and dangerous works can be eliminated as prefabrication often employs machines and robots. The machinery usage would also enable prefabrication to be done around the clock, and human contact would only be needed for supervision and emergency maintenance.
Prefabrication allows developers to carry out more work in different places at the same time. A shorter construction time can be achieved to deliver the date production of housing units. Developers can also coordinate their prefabrication processes and the actual construction for a seamless build process without delays, resulting in a shorter construction period. This is evident in the Rumah Selangorku Jade Hills project, where its developer, Gamuda Land, highlighted that prefabrication allowed the project to be completed one year ahead of schedule.
Systems like the Industrialised Building System allows state-of-the-art technology to be integrated into the prefabrication process. Prefabrication today uses 3D modelling, high-precision laser beams and artificial intelligence to create a more refined end product.
Disadvantages of IBS system?
Every system has its fair share of disadvantages, and the Industrialised Building System is no different.
The Industrialised Building System enables better logistics of components with its off-site work area but transporting the end product can be a logistical nightmare. The circumstance is made worse if the prefabricated products are super-sized, lengthy and heavy. Often, transporting such an end product would require many lorries, specialised cargo beds that can handle the extreme load, and at times, special planes such as the Antonov An-225, or ships may be needed.
The hurdles do not stop there as moving a large prefabricated part would need meticulous transportation planning. They include: –
Transporting large volumes of prefabricated components or large singular components would incur a higher cost than traditional construction methods. Special equipment, specialised personnel and careful planning can contribute towards the high cost of transportation. Reducing the size of the prefabricated component would overcome this hurdle, but it is not a universal solution, especially with large components such as the 100-ton generator above. So, cost could be one of the hurdle in using IBS system.
Utilising machines in systems like the IBS system greatly benefit the construction industry with its many benefits. But if there is a piece of faulty machinery and is not detected in the nick of time, the prefabricated components would not meet the required specifications. And the longer the time taken to detect the faulty machinery, the more fault components will be manufactured, and the higher the cost of rectifying the fault.