Local Construction Industry Embraces Tech Advances
The local construction industry is embracing technology and digitalisation at an accelerated pace amid the pandemic, a key takeaway during the ConTECH Talk 2021.
Retired chief judge of Sabah and Sarawak Tan Sri David Wong Dak Wah said in his keynote speech: “We see the pandemic has pushed all types of sectors to find ways to effectively operate online, with equal doses of opportunity and setback – and construction is no exception. Being regarded as relatively conservative, making change happen effectively in the construction industry is definitely one of the toughest challenges.”
During the online session, he added: “In Malaysia, the level of building information modelling (BIM) adoption stands at 17%, as compared with the US (71%), UK (38%) and Singapore (65%). Apart from cost and a lack of existing-use cases, a mindset shift among construction practitioners remains the biggest challenge. This human factor in terms of acceptance of technology, lack of knowledge and individual hesitance are among identified barriers in the implementation of technologies behind Industry 4.0 in the local construction industry.”Sponsored Content
The value of construction work done in 2020 contracted by 19.4% to RM117.9 billion, as compared to RM146.4 billion in 2019. During the review period of 1Q2021, the value dipped by 10.5%, which amounts to RM31.4 billion, according to Wong. He opined: “Due to the pandemic, we hope that the current situation opens the possibility to transform the construction’s technology and digitisation [and shy stakeholders] into the kind of technological and digital advocates that could facilitate an industry revolution in years to come. Construction technology is indeed an investment, and the pandemic has taught us precious lessons that we need investments in new ways of doing things.”
Wong highlighted that the National Construction 4.0 Strategic Plan (2021-2025) emphasises on integrated technologies as one of the four enablers that will drive its implementation towards achieving digital revolution in the Malaysian construction landscape, of which 12 disruptive technologies are targeted to be adopted in the five years term.
Some of the technologies discussed during the talk include BIM, prefabrication and modular construction, autonomous construction, augmented reality and virtualisation, cloud and real time collaboration, 3D scanning and photogrammetry, big data and predictive analysis, internet of things (IoT), 3D printing and additive manufacturing, advanced building materials, blockchain and artificial intelligence.
The technologies present plenty of benefits, according to Wong. “If you look at the statistics issued by the Malaysian Judiciary, there was an increase in the registration of construction cases from 1,217 in 2017 to 1,324 in 2018, and 1,510 in 2019. The causes for the claims are multi fold – delays in work, variations in quantities, errors in design drawings and plans, different site conditions, unexpected increase in material prices, payments delay and force majeure, to name a few. But the employment of technologies on project sites is reported to likely result in, among others, the reduction of project delays and related claims.”
He said: “From the business perspective, measuring the return on investment (ROI) is critical. In a study analysing the BIM ROI for 10 projects, a variation was found – that it is inaccurate to define a specific range for BIM ROI. However, the average BIM ROI for projects under study was 634%, which clearly depicts its potential economic benefits.
“The benefits associated with the adoption and implementation of the technologies are manifold – saving cost and time, improving quality and safety and improving the image of the industry.
A proper use of technology and digitisation could present an opportunity to reduce the embedded carbon footprint in construction activities, which accounts for almost one-third of global energy consumption, making it responsible for 38% of the world’s global CO2 emissions,” Wong said.
Article source: The Edge Market