• International Journal of Technology (IJTech)
  • Vol 10, No 4 (2019)

A Project Management Competency Framework for Industrialised Building System (IBS) Construction

A Project Management Competency Framework for Industrialised Building System (IBS) Construction

Title: A Project Management Competency Framework for Industrialised Building System (IBS) Construction
Izatul Laili Jabar, Abdul-Rashid Abdul-Aziz, Subashini Suresh, Suresh Renukappa, Adnan Enshassi

Corresponding email:

Cite this article as:
Jabar, I.L., Abdul-Aziz, A., Suresh, S., Renukappa, S., Enshassi, A., 2019. A Project Management Competency Framework for Industrialised Building System (IBS) Construction. International Journal of Technology. Volume 10(4), pp.657-666

Izatul Laili Jabar Faculty of Architecture, Planning & Surveying, Universiti Teknologi MARA, 40450 Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia
Abdul-Rashid Abdul-Aziz - School of Housing Building and Planning, Universiti Sains Malaysia, 11800 Minden, Penang, Malaysia - Faculty of Built Environment, Universiti Malaysia Sarawak, 94399 Kota Samarahan, Sarawak, Malays
Subashini Suresh Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Wolverhampton, Wolverhampton WV1 1LY, England
Suresh Renukappa School of Architecture and Built Environment, Faculty of Science and Engineering, University of Wolverhampton
Adnan Enshassi Faculty of Engineering, Islamic University of Gaza, P.O. Box 108 – Gaza City, Gaza Strip – Palestinian Authority
Email to Corresponding Author

A Project Management Competency Framework for Industrialised Building System (IBS) Construction

The Malaysian government has been promoting the use of the industrialised building system (IBS) for construction projects since 2003. Worldwide, there are a number of project management competency standards available, but they are generic in nature. This study was conducted to devise a competency framework suitable for industrialised building system (IBS) construction projects. A three-pronged mixed research method comprising qualitative interviews, a quantitative questionnaire survey and face-to-face validation was adopted. The competencies generated were classified as primary and secondary, and assigned to the various initial, planning, implementation, monitoring and closing construction life cycle phases. The proposal fills a gap in the project management landscape by testing and combining academic and non-academic literature with the ‘emergent’ competencies from the interviews. These are used in conjunction with conventional project management wisdom. IBS is increasingly being applied worldwide, although under different terminologies; therefore, the framework could also potentially be of use beyond Malaysia.

Competencies; Industrialised building system; Malaysia; Pareto analysis; Project management


The construction industries of advanced economies have long moved away from traditional on-site construction towards the assembly of factory-manufactured components (Lu, 2009; Blismas & Wakefield, 2009; Larsson et al., 2011). This new method is known under different terminologies; for example, offsite construction (OSC) pre-assembly, prefabrication, the modern method of construction (MMC), offsite production (OSP), offsite manufacturing (OSM), and the industrialised building system (IBS). The benefits include the involvement of  fewer unskilled workers, higher productivity, better quality, lower wastage, more prudent use of building materials,  speedier construction time,  increased environmental protection,  improved site cleanliness, enhanced health and safety performance, and tighter coordination and management (Pan et al., 2004).

Like other developing countries such as China (Gan et al., 2017), the Malaysian government has been promoting the industrialised building system (IBS) to reduce the dependency on foreign site operatives, whilst advancing a more systematic approach to construction. The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) developed the IBS Roadmap 2003-2010, thereafter replaced by the IBS Roadmap 2011-2015. Since 2008, it has been mandatory for public building projects to achieve a minimum 70% IBS content.

Among the existing project management competency standards which have become a source of reference for practising project managers are the Project Manager Competency Development Framework (PMCD Framework) published by the Project Management Institute (PMI); National Competency Standards for Project Management by the Australian Institute of Project Management (AIPM); and the Individual Competence Baseline by the International Project Management Association (IPMA). However, these standards are generic in nature. A thorough literature review yielded a limited number of publications on the competencies required for managing IBS construction projects. Indeed, Gan et al. (2017) recently expressed concern over the lack of technical guidelines for IBS construction, which was inhibiting widespread use of IBS in China. Therefore, this research was conducted with the aim to develop a project management framework suitable for IBS construction projects. The specific research objectives were as follows:

1)         To identify the competencies required when managing IBS construction projects in the different project lifecycle phases.

2)         To separate these into primary and secondary competencies.

The research borrowed Cartwright and Yinger (2007) definition of competencies as “a cluster of related knowledge, attitude, skills, and other personal characteristics that affect a major part of one’s job, correlate with performance on the job, [and] can be measured against well-accepted standards...” This studyis prescriptive in nature, as prescriptive research is at the heart of project management discipline (Ahlemann et al., 2013). Apart from academic material, this research also refers to non-academic documents, thereby bridging the gap between academic theory and practice (Badewi, 2016).

Results and Discussion


This paper makes three significant contributions to the project management landscape. The first is new project management insights into what competences are required for IBS projects. These can supplement the generic project management frameworks produced by established project management professional bodies. The second contribution is the validation of non-academic literature related to project management competencies for IBS. Third, the research has also tapped into the experiences of project managers.

The competency framework is interesting, in that it reveals that different emphases are stressed in different construction phases: appropriate and timely information flow to the appropriate parties during the initial phase; time management and operational issues in the planning phase; interfacing in the implementation phase; time management, quality control and precision in the monitoring phase; and quality assurance in the closing phase.

As mentioned in the introduction, IBS (often under different terminologies) is gaining popularity around the world. The framework has pragmatic value not only in Malaysia, but potentially elsewhere. For this reason, it has been designed not to be too difficult to follow. 


Ahlemann, F., El Arbi, F., Kaiser, M.G., Heck, A., 2013. A Process Framework for Theoretically Grounded Prescriptive Research in the Project Management Field. International Journal of Project Management, Volume 31(1), pp. 43–56

Alinaitwe, H.M., Mwakali, J., Hansson, B., 2006. Assessing the Degree of Industrialisation in Construction–a Case of Uganda. Journal of Civil Engineering and Management, Volume 12(3), pp. 221–229

Badewi, A., 2016. The Impact of Project Management (PM) and Benefits Management (BM) Practices on Project Success: Towards Developing a Project Benefits Governance Framework. International Journal of Project Management, Volume 34(4), pp. 761–778

Berawi, M.A., 2017. Stimulating Innovation and Creativity: The Way Forward. International Journal of Technology, Volume 8(1), pp. 1–4

Blismas, N., Wakefield, R., 2009. Drivers, Constraints and the Future of Off-site Manufacture in Australia. Construction Innovation, Volume 9(1), pp. 72–83

Blyth, K., Lewis, J., Kaka, A., 2004. Developing a Framework for a Standardised Works Programmeme for Building Projects. Construction Innovation, Volume 4(4), pp. 193–210

Cartwright, C., Yinger, M., 2007. Project Management Competency Development Framework—Second Edition, in PMI® Global Congress 2007–EMEA, 14-16 May 2007, Budapest, Hungary. Available Online at https://www.pmi.org/learning/library/project-manager-competency-development-framework-7376, Accessed on January 12, 2018

Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), 2003. Industrialised Building System (IBS) ROADMAP 2003 – 2010. CIDB, Kuala Lumpur

Danso, H., Antwi, J.K., 2012. Evaluation of the Factors influencing Time and Cost Overruns in Telecom Tower Construction in Ghana. Civil Engineering Research, Volume 2(6), pp. 15–25

Dumont, P., Gibson, E., Fish, J.R., 1997. Scope Management using Project Definition Rating Index. Journal of Management in Engineering, Volume 13(5), pp. 54–60

Fotwe, F.E., McCaffer, R., 2000. Developing Project Management Competency: Perspectives from the Construction Industry. International Journal of Project Management, Volume 18(2), pp. 111–124

Gan, Y., Shen, L., Chen, J., Tam, V.W.Y., Tan, Y., Illankoon, I.M.C.S., 2017. Critical Factors affecting the Quality of Industrialised Building System Projects in China. Sustainability, Volume 9(216), pp. 1–13

Goodier, C., Gibb, A., 2004. Barriers and Opportunities for Offsite Production. Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), PROSPA, Loughborough University, England

Haas, C., Connor, J.T.O., Tucker, R.L., Eickmann, J.A., Fagerlund, W.R., 2000. Prefabrication and Preassembly Trends and Effects on the Construction Workforce. Report No. 10. Centre for Construction Industry Studies, University of Texas at Austin, Austin

Haas, C., Fagerlund, W.R., 2002. Preliminary Research on Prefabrication, Pre-Assembly, Modularisation and Off-Site Fabrication in Construction. The Construction Industry Institute, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin

Hamid, Z.A., Ghani, M.K., Abdul Rahim, A.H., Kamar, K.A.M., 2008. Industrialised Building System (IBS): Current Shortcomings and the Vital Roles of R&D, Jurutera Magazine, April, pp. 31–34. Available Online at http://www.myiem.org.my/content/iem_bulletin_2008-183.aspx, Accessed on May 24 2018

Hamid, Z.A., Kamar, K.A.M., Alshawi, M., Mohd Zain, M.Z., Ghani, M.K., Abdul Rahim, A.H., 2011. Industrialised Building System (IBS) Construction Supply-Chain Strategies of Malaysian Contractors. In: Ahmed, S.M., Adnan, H., Panthi, K., Azhar, S., Takim, R., Bozai, G. (eds), Proceedings of the Sixth International Conference on Construction in the 21st Century (CITC-VI), Construction Challenges in the New Decade, 5-7 July, Kuala Lumpur, pp. 1–9

Hashim, M.S., Mohamad Kamar, K.A.M., 2011. Experiences and Lesson Learned on IBS Construction in Malaysia. In: Industrialised Building System (IBS): Definition, Concept and Issues, Hamid, Z.A., Azman, M.N.A., Mohamad Kamar, K.A., Ismail, Z., Shukor, A.S.A., Mohammad, M.F., Majid, T.A., Ismail, F. (eds.), CREAM, Kuala Lumpur, pp. 1–10

Kadir, M.R.A., Lee, W.P., Jaafar, M.S., Sapuan, S.M., Ali, A.A.A., 2005. Factors Affecting Construction Labour Productivity for Malaysian Residential Projects. Structural Survey, Volume 23(1), pp. 42–54

Larsson, J., Eriksson, P.E., Olofsson, T., Simonsson, P., 2011. Industrialised Construction in the Swedish Infrastructure Sector: Core Elements and Barriers. Construction Management and Economics, Volume 32(1-2), pp. 83–96

Lu, N., 2009. The Current Use of Offsite Construction Techniques in the United States Construction Industry. In: Ariaratnam, S.T., Rojas, E.M. (eds.), Building a Sustainable Future: Proceedings of the 2009 Construction Research Congress, 5-7 April 2009, Seattle, Washington, ASCE, Reston, VA, pp. 946–955

Majid, T.A., Hanafi, M.H., 2010. The Common Approach in Off-site Construction Industry. Australian Journal of Basic and Applied Sciences, Volume 4(9), pp. 4478–4482

Mao, C., Xie, F., Hou, L., Wu, P., Wang, J., Wang, X., 2016. Cost Analysis for Sustainable Off-site Construction based on a Multiple-case Study in China. Habitat International, Volume 57, pp. 215–222

Kamar, K.A.M., 2011. An Investigation into the Critical Success Factors of Industrialised Building System (IBS) Contractors: The Malaysian Case. Master’s thesis, University of Salford, United Kingdom

Kamar, K.A.M., Alshawi, M., Hamid, Z.A., 2009. Industrialised Building Systems: The Critical Success Factors (CSFs). In: Ahmed, V., Alshawi, M., Sutrisna, M. (eds.) Conference Proceedings of BuHu 9th International Postgraduate Research Conference (IPGRC 2009), University of Salford, 29th-30th January, Salford. Available Online at https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/2984/fb741e60188e9e9f27bec49710717bca47cc.pdf, Accessed on May 20, 2017

Pallant, J., 2010. SPSS Survival Manual. 5th Edition, Allen & Unwin, Crows Nest, NSW, Australia

Pan, W., Dainty, A.R.J., Gibb, A.G.F., 2004. Encouraging the Appropriate Use of Off-site Production (OSP): Perspectives of Designers. In: Wu, X., Ma, Y., Zhou, J., Zhao, Q., Kong, S., Wong, F., Wong, J. Chung, J. (eds.) Conference Proceedings of 2nd CIB Student Chapter International Symposium, 30-31 Oct 2004, Beijing, China, pp. 125–136

PCI Erectors Committee, 1985. Recommendation Practice for Erection of Precast Concrete. Precast/ Prestresed Concrete Institute, Chicago, IL

Pozin, F., Nawi, M.N.M., Lee, A., Yaakob, M.B, Hanafi, M.H., 2018. A Cause of Communication Failure in Managing Industrialised Building System (IBS) Projects: A Perspective View from Project Managers. International Journal of Technology, Volume 9(8), pp. 1523–1532

Project Management Institute (PMI), 2013. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide). 5th Edition. Project Management Institute, Newtown Squarel, PA

Rosenfeld, Y., 2014. Root-Cause Analysis of Construction-Cost Overruns. Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Volume 140(1), pp. 1–10

Waddell, J.J., 1985. Precast Concrete Handling and Erection. American Concrete Institute/ Iowa State University Press, Detroit, MI

Yang, J.-B., Wei, P.-R., 2010. Causes of Delay in Planning and Design Phases for Construction Projects. Journal of Architectural Engineering, Volume 16(2), pp. 80–83