• International Journal of Technology (IJTech)
  • Vol 9, No 8 (2018)

A Cause of Communication Failure in Managing Industrialized Building System (IBS) Projects: A Perspective View from Project Managers

A Cause of Communication Failure in Managing Industrialized Building System (IBS) Projects: A Perspective View from Project Managers

Title: A Cause of Communication Failure in Managing Industrialized Building System (IBS) Projects: A Perspective View from Project Managers
Mohd Affendi Ahmad Pozin, Mohd Nasrun Mohd Nawi, Angela Lee, Mazri Yaakob, Mohd Hanizun Hanafi

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Published at : 30 Dec 2018
Volume : IJtech Vol 9, No 8 (2018)
DOI : https://doi.org/10.14716/ijtech.v9i8.2750

Cite this article as:
Pozin, M.A.A., Nawi, M.N.M., Lee, A., Yaakob, M., Hanafi, M.H., 2018. A Cause of Communication Failure in Managing Industrialized Building System (IBS) Projects: A Perspective View from Project Managers . International Journal of Technology. Volume 9(8), pp. 1523-1532

Mohd Affendi Ahmad Pozin School Technology Management and Logistics, Universiti Utara Malaysia, 06010 Sintok, Kedah, Malaysia
Mohd Nasrun Mohd Nawi School Technology Management and Logistics, Universiti Utara Malaysia, 06010 Sintok, Kedah, Malaysia
Angela Lee School of the Built Environment, University of Salford, M5 4WT Manchester, UK
Mazri Yaakob School Technology Management and Logistics, Universiti Utara Malaysia, 06010 Sintok, Kedah, Malaysia
Mohd Hanizun Hanafi School of Housing, Building and Planning, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Penang, Malaysia
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A Cause of Communication Failure in Managing Industrialized Building System (IBS) Projects: A Perspective View from Project Managers

An effective communication process is an important element in distributing information to various project teams. The previous study demonstrates the importance of communication in the project management process in order to encourage project delivery processes successfully. Unfortunately, the issue of communication still dominates Industrialization Building System (IBS) because the project development process are still based on traditional methods. This research aims to explore the cause of communication challenges between construction players in managing IBS projects. The research methodology implemented for this paper was a semi-structured interview approach used to investigate the communication problem. Five experienced project managers were chosen from across the industry. The findings of this study are valuable for improving the communication level of project teams, which will indirectly increase the level of the IBS project delivery process and strengthen team integration on IBS projects in Malaysia.

Communication issues; Industrialized Building System (IBS); Leadership; Project management


Communication is recognized as an important factor for success in a global business environment. Effective communication is becoming increasingly important in project construction because of the growing demands of the projects, along with the heavy amounts of technical work and the complexity of the supply chain process. Current situations saw that construction projects involving multi-organizations containing different organizational backgrounds, cultures, diverse stakeholders and areas of expertise (Firmawan et al., 2012). An effective communication process could minimize the issue of human relationships and increase the integration and collaboration among construction players. This process will affect all construction work activities by increasing timely information sharing and improving decision-making. Therefore, effective communication becomes a core element to increase project performance and decrease project risk. 

In Malaysia, the main problem on a construction project is still the lack of communication (Nawi et al., 2018). This issue remains because most of the construction industry is still dominated by the traditional construction approach. The traditional construction approach created a complex communication process due to the fragmentation of parties, long life cycles on construction project and multiple organization structures (Alashwal & Fong, 2015). For example, the coordination between design and planning process by distributed professionals from a different location (Othman et al., 2017). In contrast, to develop an Industrialized Building System (IBS) on a construction project, effective communication is required to integrate the team. This too ensures effective management process of the manufacturing, transportation, and assembly process, which will reduce cost, time, and improve the quality of the product. 

In this situation, a qualified and experienced project manager is required to manage the complexity of the communication process in order to achieve successful deliveries. To address the knowledge gap at the project delivery level, this paper will present semi-structured preliminary interviews. The findings with concern to the lack of a communication process by identifying the cause of the communication problem between project team members in order to manage IBS project effectively. 

1.1. An Overview Toward IBS Project

Today, the Malaysian construction industry is under pressure to deliver and tackle the issues of performance, safety, demand (especially to deliver affordable housing), and environmental and sustainability concerns. To cope with these challenges, in 2016 the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) launched the Construction Industry Transformation Programme (CITP 2016-2020) as a strategy to improve the construction industry by utilizing the IBS method as a solution; even though IBS adoption in Malaysia has long historical note since the 1960s (CIDB, 2016). The IBS method offers huge advantages and benefits for productivity and the quality of building construction. The IBS process is systematically re-arranged, which the component is started manufactured at the factory, either on-site or off-site. Further, the component will be delivered to the construction site to be assembled and erected. This process could improve sustainable practices by incorporating integrated design, fully utilized of material usage, reducing construction waste of material, minimize site disturbance and noise (Othman et al., 2017). In this project, effective communication skill between project teams is required to coordinate the process and deal with critical scheduling points from the beginning of the project through to its completion. The increasing number of project size, segregation of a large number small firms, separation of the design and construction stage, and the limited team coordination and integration, forces construction projects to need an effective construction manager who can initiate, plan, execute, monitor and close a whole project or a portion of a project.


This paper has reviewed evidence regarding the challenge of communicating while managing an IBS construction project. It can be concluded that the challenges faced by project managers to integrate relationships are difficult to achieve, requiring adequate internal and external communication to accomplish effective cross-cultural communication. Furthermore, an organization must also be more innovative and continually introduce plans with approaches that maintain their competitive advantages made through the managing of multicultural project teams. This study considered the building information modelling (BIM) approach, which would facilitate many tasks from different construction phases by allowing various people along construction project lifecycle process to collaborate. Supported in advance of cloud computing technology, this system could increase productivity and efficiency through the Internet and utilize devices (laptops, tablets, mobile phones, etc.) to deliver and share information without the need to develop new infrastructure and employee training. In these cases, three dimensions of communication problems in managing IBS construction were identified, namely, the quality of information and knowledge, a lack of skill and attitude-related issues, and  an organizational structure. The effects of such problems could be minimized through a new communication approach, such as integrated project delivery, and supported by implementing mobile computing technology to improve information relevance, real-time sharing, and decision-making during the project lifecycle. In conclusion, the traditional ineffective procurement procedure requires restructuring to become more mutually integrated. The practitioner or organization realize that projects using collaborative approaches promote cooperative relationships, increasing productivity at various construction stages. Moreover, a little-published research capitalizes on the prospects of stakeholder attitude and behavioral change in relation to project success in Malaysia.


The authors gratefully acknowledge the support given by Universiti Utara Malaysia for providing the funding under Research University Grant (Geran Top Down; S/O code: 12571).


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