|Mohd Nasrun Mohd Nawi||Disaster Management Institute, School of Technology Management and Logistics, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Sintok, Kedah, 06010, Malaysia|
|Che Sobry Abdullah||Disaster Management Institute, School of Technology Management and Logistics, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Sintok, Kedah, 06010, Malaysia|
|Nor Azlinda Ramli||Disaster Management Institute, School of Technology Management and Logistics, Universiti Utara Malaysia, Sintok, Kedah, 06010, Malaysia|
|Mohd Hanizan Zalazilah|
|Ahmad Yusni Bahauddin|
This study aims to identify the success factors and challenges of implementing load-bearing masonry (LBM) technology in the Malaysian construction industry. The success factors and challenges of implementing LBM technology have been identified in previous literature. Further, this research has been carried out in which interviews were conducted to explore the real-life construction situation in Malaysia. The findings indicate that the success factors for LBM-technology implementation are organizational readiness, good collaboration, easier to install, skilled labor, continuous improvement of knowledge, excellent work coordination, improved efficiency of construction work, and environmentally friendly methods. The issues faced by construction firms, however, are related to a lack of knowledge, expertise, and government incentives and promotion as well as a lack of local demand. Based on these findings, it can be agreed that all the factors gathered from the previous literature are significantly related to the success factors and challenges in this study. Further study should be performed to improve the understanding of success factors and challenges on LBM-technology implementation.
Construction industry; Industrialised Building System (IBS); Load-bearing masonry (LBM) technology
Load-bearing masonry (LBM) technology is a simple construction method. There are two LBM construction techniques in which bricks are joined with mortar and without mortar mix to make a wall and building structure. Plain masonry, reinforced masonry, and interlocking bricks are examples of masonry technology structure. It have been manufactured at factories and then assembled at the construction site with minimal work.
The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) has categorized the interlocking brick system as a part of an Industrialised Building System (IBS) type that can replace the traditional method. Implementation of LBM technology is an alternative method to conventional reinforced frameworks in the completion of construction projects. LBM technology is an effective method to reduce materials on site, speed up construction work, cut down costs, and provide safe practices for the environment (Ramli et al., 2014). The application of LBM technology is not being rapidly adopted in the Malaysian construction industry even though the advantages of the technology are evident. According to a study by Ramli et al., (2017), only 20% of developers use this technology in their housing projects, even though this technology can enhance production and improve a firm’s performance. The construction industry requires a dynamic change to encourage a new mindset and move forward competitively with the technology industry. This study explores the success factors and challenges of LBM-technology implementation. Understanding the success factors of the firms that implement this technology in their projects can serve as a guide for future adopters of LBM technology, and identifying the challenges is crucial to overcoming existing problems and improving LBM technology among industry players. This research has been conducted in order to identify the success factors and challenges of LBM technology in Malaysia through a case study.
1.1. Success Factors in the Implementation of LBM Technology
This section discusses the success factors of LBM technology based on previous literature. The success factors of the implementation of LBM technology are as follows:
1.1.1. Organizational readiness
Organizational readiness refers to the availability of resources needed for the implementation of LBM technology. It also means that the organization has three key resources: technology, finance, and staff (Shah Alam, 2009). Organizational readiness plays an important role and can improve the confidence level of industry players in implementing LBM technology in construction projects.
1.1.2. Good collaboration among team members
Good collaboration among team members will solve potential problems related to the sequence and complex interfacing of the work process (Kamar et al., 2010; Baharuddin et al., 2015). Effective collaboration and cooperation between all team members in the technological process and construction work are crucial to ensure the success of LBM implementation in a project (Ismail et al., 2012).
1.1.3. Easy installation
According to Ramli et al. (2017), organizations believe that LBM technology is easy to use and install. When a technology such as LBM is perceived to be simple and easy to use, it is likely to be accepted by construction laborers.
1.1.4. Skilled labor
Skilled laborers are supported by quality training and education, especially among workers involved in LBM design such as brick layers (Ramli et al., 2016a; Thanoon et al., 2003).
1.1.5. Continuous improvement of knowledge
This is important in order to improve performance and achieve long-term success. The stakeholders should continue to improve their knowledge and skills in using LBM technology (Ramli et al., 2016a).
1.1.6. Good work coordination
Team members should be involved from the planning stages by working with the designer to ensure that all members understand the schematics drawing. They should also have good coordination with the manufacturing, transportation, and installation processes to ensure the success of the implementation (Lessing et al., 2005).
1.1.7. Improving the efficiency of construction work
According to Majid (1997), LBM technology has the potential to improve the efficiency of construction work through the elimination of formwork, reduced period of construction’s site activities, and reduced costs while maintaining high quality. These methods were chosen because of the simple techniques required in laying bricks with less mortar, allowing variations of workmanship (Adedeji, 2012).
1.1.8. Environmentally friendly methods
The components are manufactured in a factory, enabling higher quality control and environmentally friendly practices compared to on-site construction. Bricks are manufactured in factories and then assembled at the construction site. Sharath et al. (2013) stated that the masonry technology produces small-scale construction, making it self-sustained.
1.2. Challenges for the Implementation of LBM Technology
In general, challenges and barriers are defined as components that contribute to ineffective results or the poor success of a construction project (Baharuddin et al., 2016a). According to previous studies (Abdullah et al., 2009; Ramli et al., 2016b), there are three main challenges found regarding LBM technology: a lack of knowledge and expertise, a lack of promotion and incentive, and a lack of local demand.
1.2.1. Lack of knowledge and expertise
Nowadays, most of the industry’s key actors are unaware of the existence of LBM technology. This lack of knowledge and exposure among industry players has led to the low popularity of LBM-technology use compared to conventional methods. A lack of expertise in LBM technology also remains, as many in the construction industry are still unfamiliar with this technology. According to Ramli et al. (2016a), expertise, especially in design, is crucial for the success of LBM-technology implementation.
1.2.2. Lack of promotion and incentive
Abdullah et al., (2015) discovered that LBM technology is still not widely used due to a lack of incentives. The government, through responsible authorization, should increase the incentives and promotion of LBM implementation. The lack of incentives and promotion is reflected in a low number of industry players who have adopted the technology (Ramli et al., 2016b).
1.2.3. Lack of local demand
According to Ramli et al. (2014), low awareness and a lack of local demand for LBM technology makes it critically challenging for this technology to penetrate Malaysia. The small-scale nature of LBM projects demonstrates that this technology is less popular and less in-demand in Malaysia compared to conventional methods.
LBM technology is a construction method that is considered to be an effective way to achieve productivity and make the industry more interactive. To move forward in construction technology, the Malaysian government has to encourage the use of interlocking-block systems (LBM technology), which is under the Industrialized Building System category in construction. LBM technology is an alternative method with benefits in terms of quality, cost-effectiveness, productivity, and waste reduction.
To accelerate the adoption of LBM technology, the success factors need to be identified. The challenges of LBM-technology implementation must also be identified to overcome problems and improve the adoption of this technology in the future. The results of this case study indicate eight success factors: organizational resources, good team collaboration, easier methodologies, skilled labor, continuous improvement of knowledge, good work coordination, improved construction efficiency, and environmentally friendly construction methods. The results also point out three main challenges faced by industry players: a lack of knowledge and expertise, lack of incentives, and a lack of local demand. Further studies should be done to understand the success factors and challenges of LBM-technology implementation for the improvement and benefit of the construction industry.
The authors wish to thank the Universiti Utara Malaysia for funding this study under Geran Penjanaan Penyelidikan Skim (SO Code: 13910).
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