KUCHING: Sarawak Consolidated Industries Bhd (SCIB) has stepped up the production of precast concrete products and industrialised building system (IBS) components to cope with increasing orders from several ongoing mega infrastructure projects.
General manager Chai Tze Khang said the company’s manufacturing plants has added a second working shift to raise the production output of certain products, such as precast drain culverts and IBS components.
From one shift, some sections of the plants are now operating in two shifts of 18 hours.
“Our factories are now running between 70% and 80% of their respective installed production capacities, ” he told StarBiz.
The group owns three plants here with a combined capacity of 350, 000 tonnes per annum.
It invested about RM5mil in a new plant three years ago to expand the production capacity of concrete piles and beams by 47, 800 tonnes a year to especially meet for the requirement of the RM16bil Pan Borneo Highway project.
Besides the Pan Borneo Highway project, which has achieved construction progress of about 45%, the ongoing billion ringgit Sarawak Water Grid, Sarawak Coastal Road and electricity supply extension projects have driven the demand of precast concrete products, like foundation piles and drain culverts.
More demand for such construction materials will come from the next mega project – Sarawak Second Trunk Road, which is expected to award its first work package in the fourth quarter.
Last year, SCIB supplied some RM27mil worth of precast concrete products to the Pan Borneo Highway project, which comprises 11 work packages spanning 746 km (phase one). The group’s total sales of the reinforced concrete products surged by 15.5% to RM65.4mil in 2018 from RM56.5mil in 2017.
In 2019, the company expects a 10% increase in the sales value to the highway project due for full completion by 2021.
“For the Sarawak infrastructure development and construction sector, there are plenty of jobs out there.
“So, we expect to be busy (in supplying construction materials to these projects) in the next three years, ” said Chai.
He said SCIB group currently has outstanding supply orders of about RM30mil to be delivered to clients.
“We are in talks to a few parties which have been awarded contracts for the construction of new bridges under the Sarawak Coastal Road project, ” he added.
The coastal road network, covering 896 km, will involve the construction of nine bridges across major rivers.
Since February 2019, four bridge projects worth a combined contract value of RM1.76bil have been awarded.
The remaining five bridge projects to be awarded in stages are estimated to cost some RM2.4bil.
SCIB, which is the sole supplier of spun piles and IBS hollow core and panel wall manufacturer in Sarawak and Sabah, has seen a strong growth in the sales of IBS products.
Last year, the group more than doubled sales revenue to RM10mil from RM4.2mil in 2017 as it raised production of IBS products to 16, 000 tonnes from 7, 000 tonnes year-on-year.
Chai sees increasing business opportunities for SCIB in the sales of IBS products as more federal government-funded projects, like health clinics and schools, are adopting the fast-track construction technology. “We are in the midst of negotiations to supply IBS components to the RM28.7mil Siburan health clinic project along Kuching-Serian Road, ” he said.
The project’s earthbreaking was held last month following the appointment of Miri-based Welfield Services Sdn Bhd as its main contractor.
SCIB is also eyeing for the supply of IBS products to a new government school in Samalaju, Bintulu, the contract of which has been awarded. “We are working for the design and costs of the IBS supply, ” said Chai.
SCIB will also bid for the supply of IBS components to a new health clinic project in Miri and a police station in Lawas.
“In the next two to three months, we expect to secure some contracts to replenish our order book, ” Chai said, adding that the company had recently secured a RM1.8mil contract to supply IBS products to the Sri Aman prison quarter project.
SCIB was the supplier of IBS components for the repair or reconstruction of several dilapidated rural schools. It expects to bid for more such projects as the Sarawak government has committed RM1bil to fund such projects for hundreds more of such rural schools.
The Sarawak government has recently repaid RM350mil in federal loans, and the federal government has promised to channel all the money back to Sarawak for the repairs of schools which are in bad shape.
The demand for IBS components is expected to be further boosted as the federal Local Government and Housing Ministry has decided to implement all public affordable housing projects using the IBS technology by 2024.
“We are now in full swing of supplying our products to the Sarawak General Hospital’s redevelopment project.We have delivered about 50% of the contract sum of RM6mil.”
SCIB is currently supplying up to RM8mil worth of IBS products for the construction of the Crown Pacific Shopping Mall and Apartment project in Bintulu.
On the group’s 2019 target to increase sales revenue of IBS products by 30% to RM13mil, Chai is optimistic that this could be met due to the wider use of IBS technology in government projects.
On the challenges faced by industry players, he said these include the shortage of labour and granite, a raw material to manufacture concrete products, which has pushed up its prices.