PETALING JAYA: The Construction Industry Development Board’s (CIDB) has established the Sustainable Construction Excellence Centre (MAMPAN) which will drive sustainable construction in Malaysia through an operating model consisting of development, promotion and implementation of innovative initiatives.
MAMPAN’s short term goal is aimed at positioning Malaysia as a regional leader for sustainability in construction by 2017.
In the medium term, from 2018 to 2020, MAMPAN’s initiatives will increase compliance and participation towards sustainability in the construction industry.
Meanwhile, post 2020, MAMPAN’s operations will continue to raise the perception of sustainability in construction in Malaysia and beyond.
Construction Research Institute of Malaysia (CREAM) executive director Prof Zuhairi Abd Hamid says that MAMPAN will play the role of a catalyst in promoting and creating awareness for sustainable construction practices, which includes demolition works.
“MAMPAN will be the catalyst in transforming the mindsets of industry players to prioritise sustainability, from the way construction methods are carried out down to the type of materials used.
“We aim to make sustainable construction mandatory by 2020, starting with government projects valued at RM100mil and above.
“This will come after we have set the standards and requirements, beginning with the development of sustainable rating tools for buildings and infrastructure.
“We will work hand in hand with bodies such as Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association Malaysia (REHDA) and Master Builders Association Malaysia,” he says.
Despite existing construction-related plans and programmes by the government, on-site practices are still facing issues such as high level of carbon emissions, resilience of construction works to natural disasters, as well as construction waste dumped in landfills.
Unpredictable weather and increasing temperatures caused by climate change has become an everyday occurrence.
During the El Nino phenomenon in March this year, average temperatures in Malaysia rose between two and five degrees.
onstruction Research Institute of Malaysia (Cream) executive director Prof Ir Dr Zuhairi Abd Hamid
Meanwhile, East Coast states in Malaysia were hit by huge floods at the end of 2014.
Due to the lack of sustainability-rated construction, buildings and infrastructure are not always resilient to natural calamities.
Hence, as part of the Construction Industry Transformation Programme (CITP), environmental sustainability is one of the four strategic thrusts to ensure that Malaysia’s environmentally-sustainable construction will be a model for Asean countries and other countries by 2020.
MAMPAN’s key initiative in the short term will commence with increasing the adoption of Malaysian Carbon Reduction & Environmental Sustainability Tool (MyCREST), by highlighting the importance of integrating low carbon and sustainable practices into construction methods as well as in the holistic life cycle of the built environment, in addressing issues of climate change.
In addition to being a sustainability assessment tool, MyCREST is a rating tool introduced by the Works Ministry through the Public Works Department and CIDB, that guides the adoption of sustainable development practices in the design, construction, operation and maintenance of buildings.
It also aims to quantify the actual carbon emission at every stage of the building life-cycle as well as integrate socioeconomic considerations related to the built environment and urban development.
Some of these socioeconomic values comprise lower cost of annual flood and natural disaster damages, reduction in life-cycle cost of development projects, increased benefits from reduced carbon emissions as well as higher competitiveness and growth of the construction industry.
To date, some 24 development projects have been assessed with six projects certified.
The MyCREST system will award three types of certifications at each stage of a development, namely, design, construction as well as operation and maintenance.
Apart from MyCREST, MAMPAN will develop and launch the Sustainable Infrastructure Rating Tool as the standard for rating sustainable infrastructure projects.
“We will provide sustainable infrastructure rating system training and advisory programmes to the public and to CIDB.
“Eventually, the long-term plan is to license the Sustainable Infrastructure Rating Tool for use in Asean countries,” said Zuhairi.
An example of sustainable construction practice used is the Industrialised Building System (IBS), which uses precast elements manufactured in factories and later transported to construction sites.
Hence, work on site only involves the erection of IBS components.
IBS components are known to be cost effective and environmentally friendly, requiring less labour on site as well as shorter construction time.
“The IBS technology is already available in the market, but there is no great demand for it.
“Currently, conventional construction works are relatively cheap due to cheap labour.
“However, there will come a time when labour will no longer be cheap, and that is when IBS will be sought after.
“IBS will pave the way for modernisation, mechanisation and industrialisation,” adds Zuhairi.
Zuhairi notes that the adoption of IBS will also provide opportunities for small and medium enterprises to manufacture IBS components, through vendor development programmes.
Besides using IBS, Zuhairi opines that there should be more recycling plants for construction waste, where these waste can be segregated to be reused in other projects, before being disposed.
Following the completion of MAMPAN’s short term goals, MAMPAN will then push the sustainability agenda to the broader industry by developing the world congress on infrastructure and collaborating with leading industry players.
This includes partnering with neighbouring countries to develop a world congress to provide networking opportunities, sharing of best practices as well as cross-border business development opportunities.
By collaborating with leading industry players, MAMPAN will be able to promote the adoption of sustainable practice and establish a platform for industry-driven research and share new innovations in the construction industry.
“Going forward with MAMPAN’s initiatives, Malaysia stands to be the leader in sustainability in the Asean region and beyond.
“As we put these sustainable practices in place, the local construction industry will also become more competitive by exporting sustainability services to a wider reach.
“Through reductions in carbon emissions, climate change damage, and lower life-cycle operational costs, there will be more cost savings.
“We will constantly review our key performance indicator to ensure that we achieve the targets set out, using the step by step approach, instead of committing without being able to deliver,” says Zuhairi.