Industrialised Building System – Evolution of the Construction Industry

With the impact of globalization having run deep into many industries, more efficient methods have been introduced and implemented in order to survive the challenging market ahead. Every product has improved dramatically and been produced in a higher quality and at a lower cost but with the exception of houses and buildings. Whilst, other industries have been thriving in terms of technology application, only small improvement has been made in making building processes more efficient.

Industrialised Building System (IBS) can be defined as “Construction technique in which components are manufactured in a factory, on or off site, positioned and assembled into a structure with minimal additional site works.” The IBS concept is essentially the injection of a techno-based mindset into the construction industry ‘hardware’ aspects and incorporation of the highly successful manufacturing concepts as the driving ‘software’. In this respect, the construction industry has a great deal to learn from the manufacturing sectors that have long been emphasizing on quality and minimising defects. IBS will definitely among others reduce unskilled workers in the country, less wastage, less volume of building materials, increased site cleanliness and better quality control.

In many parts of the world, IBS takes its forms in an initiative called open building concept. Open building is an approach to the design of buildings and said to be representing a new wave in architecture. Open building is defined as an innovative approach to design and construction that enhances the efficiency of the building process, while increasing the variety, flexibility and quality of the product.

Houses of the future should be similar to products like cars or computers today. It is built mostly in a factory with parts that is easy to replace or maintain. The construction industry can be transform by following what other sectors are already doing; standardize and accessorize. Developed countries such as Japan, Netherlands and USA to name a few, have already started to develop concept that is called ‘Open Source Building’. The concept of the open source building is similar to what has happened in the ICT industry whereby through standardization of jointing parts such as USB ports, consumers can buy computer equipment such as mouse or scanner anywhere in the world. The equipment can then be easily installed by the users as the connection from the equipment to the computer has been internationally standardized.

IBS gives the ability for companies from just being a simple plain brick contractor that is driven by projects to a component builder manufacturer that is driven by consumers. Modular components or also known as volumetric components can be configured into wide variety of end products and the design can be based on customer’s individual needs through unique combinations of the modular components. Mass customization will allow companies to penetrate new markets and capture customers whose demands could not be met with standard products. Developers and contractors who embrace the IBS methodology can even upgrade their capability to export houses in countries that are in need of fast permanent shelters.