Prospects for non-wood-based materials

  • Business
  • Monday, 23 Apr 2007

Ajiya Bhd sees good prospects for non- wood-based building materials such as the metal and glass materials in the local construction sector. 

Group managing director Chan Wah Kiang said timber wood was getting more expensive due to its limited supply.  

This is compounded by worldwide protests by environmentalists against the cutting of tropical forests, forcing builders to look for alternative materials. 

“This augurs well for the company as our products are metal-rolled formed and safety glass,’’ he said. 

Chan Wah Kiang

He said 10 years ago, it would be difficult to get metal-based and glass-based building materials as contractors still preferred wood-based materials. 

With rising demand for metal and glass-based materials in recent years, their prices have also become more reasonable and affordable.  

Metal-based materials are recycleable while many builders go for glass for its aesthetic value. 

Chan said technology in the construction industry was fast changing and the trend now was to go for “green buildings” which required energy saving elements. 

It is a trend all over the world especially among developed countries and Malaysia is likely to follow suit although it is not compulsory here. 

“You have to be competent to produce energy saving building materials and as a leading IBS provider, the company has what it takes to become one,’’ said Chan. 

He said it had the knowledge and technical know-how and was certified to become a licensed producer of high-end sustainable building glass components. 

It has also been producing high-end safety glass since last year for domestic and export markets to Australia, India, Japan, Singapore, Thailand, New Zealand and Vietnam. 

The company’s aim is to increase the export segment of the product from 15% now to 40% within one or two years. 

Its high-end glass capacity is the biggest in South East Asia with 145,000 tonnes. 

Chan said there were not many buildings in Malaysia that used sustainable building materials but the trend was moving towards that. He said with uncertainties over fuel prices, everybody was looking for “green products” and it was likely that new buildings would adopt the trend. 

Th group's safety glass plant in Segamat

It might cost more to use “green products” for new and existing buildings but in the long-term, owners would gain from cost saving. 

“Apart from high-end safety glass, we are currently producing metal roof forming parts with similar purposes,’’ he said, adding that Ajiya might produce metal-based energy saving roof forming parts by the end of the year.  

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