What Is Industrial Building System (IBS)? Pre-fabrication And Modular

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The Industrial Building System is a method of construction in which parts are produced in a regulated setting. The controlled environment might be on-site or off-site and relies on the component made or the type of building being erected. Prefabricated building, often known as pre-fab, is known as Industrialized Building System in the Malaysian construction sector. There has been a surge in its use in the global building sector. In Malaysia, the technique is frequently employed in residential and commercial developments.

The use of Industrial Building System: How is it done?

Although most of its uses are centred on the construction business, the industrialised building system has numerous other applications as well. Prefabrication is frequently employed in the automobile industry, where numerous vehicle components are produced at multiple locations within a facility before being assembled.

In the previous two decades, prefabrication has made its way into the construction process and is increasingly often used nowadays. On a bigger scale, the method can be used to create an entire floor for a building in addition to smaller parts like wall panels. The IBS system is currently being employed in large-scale building, including hotels, after initially being used in residences and small-scale projects.

Take a landed property, to put it simply. If the property were built using conventional techniques, every square inch would be built there and each component would need to be transported there. The walls or stairs, for example, might be built off-site, moved to the site, and easily put together using the IBS method. Consider using Legos or building bricks to construct your own home.

What is Pre-Fab and Modular?

“Prefab” or “Industrialised Building System in Malaysia” refers to a building or part of a building that has been prefabricated off-site before being shipped to the construction site for final assembly. In contrast, a modular structure is one that is constructed or organised in discrete units, much like Legos.

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To be considered “modular,” at least 70% of the work must be done off-site in factories and then shipped to the construction site. The forthcoming Ac NoMad Hotel by Marriott in New York City is a great example of a modularly designed building; at 26 stories, it will likely be the tallest modular construction in the world.

A look at the history of prefabrication

It may seem like prefabrication, IBS, and the Industrialised Building System are relatively new in Malaysia, yet their roots go back to 3800 B.C. Past uses of prefabrication include: –

  • It is believed that prefabrication was utilised in constructing Sweet Track, the world’s oldest railway line, which dates back to 3800 B.C.
  • After the devastating earthquake that hit Lisbon in 1755, the Baixa District was rebuilt utilising prefabricated components and some of the earliest forms of anti-seismic constructions.
  • In 1851, London’s Crystal Palace was built employing iron and glass prefabrication.
  • 1941 to 1945 – Thousands of urban families were “bombed out” during World War II, and the British government used prefabrication to quickly build temporary dwellings for them.

Why is Industrial Building System advantageous?

Prefabrication, often known as the Industrialized Building System, has many advantages.

1) Logistical advantage

When working with a large number of different materials, logistics becomes one of construction’s greatest obstacles. Prefabrication allows for the construction site’s raw materials to be assembled off-site and then shipped to its final destination. These days, it’s possible to ship a lot of prefab pieces at once thanks to the improved transportation options of the modern era.

2) It is space-saver

In the building sector, space is of the utmost importance, and builders frequently find themselves with insufficient room to complete on-site assembly. If you use the Industrialized Building System, you won’t need to set aside specific areas for assembly, which will free up a lot of room. Benefiting tremendously from this are construction endeavours in densely populated places like Klang Valley, Penang Island, Johor Bahru, and Melaka, where space is at a premium.

3) It is not affected by weather

It is a very advantageous technique in tropical countries that are vulnerable to sudden and unpredictable weather changes. In such places prefabrication is advantageous because most of the labour is done indoors, thanks to prefabrication.

4) Maximum material efficiency

Prefabrication typically takes place in a climate-controlled setting, which leads to reduced raw material waste, reduced noise pollution, and increased recycling rates. The Industrialized Building System is a sustainable building practise that meets the ever-increasing need for green buildings.

5) It provides flexibility

As a result of the temporary nature of traditional falsework, it must be taken down permanently once building is complete. Nonetheless, this is not the case with the Industrialized Building System. When production of one component is complete at a factory, it can be adapted to produce the next. In order to accommodate the additional part, it will be essential to enlarge the building, acquire new machinery, and set up a specialised safety system.

6) Time spent on building is shortened

Because of prefabrication, developers may multitask and get more work done in more locations. Housing units can be built in less time and delivered on schedule. Developers can reduce the time it takes to build by coordinating the prefabrication phase with the rest of the construction process. As an example, the developer of the Rumah Selangorku Jade Hills project, Gamuda Land, boasted that the project was finished a full year ahead of schedule thanks to the use of prefabrication.

7) Utilizing Cutting-Edge Methods

Modern technology can be included into the prefabrication process with the help of systems like the Industrialized Building System. Modern prefabrication refines the final product with the use of 3D modelling, high-precision laser beams, and artificial intelligence.

Disadvantages of Industrial Building System

The Industrialized Building System, like any other system, has its drawbacks.

1) Problems with logistics

While the off-site work area of the Industrialized Building System facilitates better component logistics, moving the finished product can be a logistical nightmare. When the prefabricated goods in question are extremely large, protracted, and weighty, the situation deteriorates rapidly. A large number of trucks, specially designed cargo beds capable of bearing the product’s weight, and possibly even cargo planes like the Antonov An-225 or ships may be required to convey the final product.

A bridge is being transported which creates logistical probelsm

There are additional challenges since transporting a substantial prefabricated component requires careful preparation. Among them are:

  • It is necessary to prepare ahead in order to avoid obstacles like power lines, bridges, and inappropriate roadways.
  • Roads will be closed for a short period of time, but it could go on for longer.
  • The only time transportation is possible is late at night, when traffic is lighter.

2) Cost

Transporting numerous huge, prefabricated parts, or even just one, would be more expensive than using more conventional building methods. The high cost of transportation may result from the need for specialised tools, trained workers, and meticulous planning. This problem could be solved by making the prefabricated part smaller, but that’s not always possible, especially when dealing with massive pieces like the 100-ton generator mentioned up top. As a result, the price tag associated with implementing an IBS system may be a deterrent.

3) Faulty machinery

There are numerous positive outcomes for the building sector that result from the use of machines in systems like the IBS system. But if a malfunctioning piece of equipment isn’t caught in time, the prefabricated parts won’t be up to snuff. The longer it takes to find the malfunctioning equipment, the more defective parts will be produced, and the more money will be needed to fix the problem.

Is Industrial Building System the future of construction industry?

The construction sector is increasingly relying on prefabricated components. Even though the IBS system has been there for a while in Malaysia, it is seeing greater use than ever before. There is no denying that the building industry may tremendously benefit from the implementation of the Industrialized Building System.

Even with the go-ahead, the IBS system is hardly the wave of the future in building industry. For one thing, prefabrication went all the way back to 3800 BC. The use of prefabricated components has been around for quite some time, but it has gained in favour as our technological capabilities and building practises have advanced.

You might be wondering, therefore, if prefabrication isn’t the way of the future in building industry, what is? Most people wouldn’t guess the surprising answer, but it is 3D construction printings (3DCP). The concept of 3DCP has been around since the 1950s, but the limitations of existing technology have prevented it from ever becoming a reality until recently. Due to advancements in technology, 3DCP is now feasible, and some businesses have begun conducting preliminary trials of 3D printed structures.

B1M, a popular YouTube channel, claimed in their video that 3D printing was first utilised for prototypes on a very modest scale. The development of 3D printing technology has nonetheless allowed for the construction of massive, fully functional structures.


As IBS systems become more commonplace in traditional construction practises, they may make building operations easier. Modular building, affordable housing initiatives, and automobiles are just some of the industries that are putting these techniques to use.

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