ARCHIDEX CONVERSATION with Datuk Ir. Ahmad ‘Asri Abdul Hamid, CIDB

Volume 5

EMBRACING THE NEW NORMAL IN CONSTRUCTION

An interview with YBhg. Datuk Ir. Ahmad 'Asri Abdul Hamid, Chief Executive of the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) of Malaysia

We checked in on Datuk Ir. Ahmad ‘Asri Abdul Hamid, the Chief Executive of CIDB Malaysia. He has more than 30 years of experience in Construction with 13 years in the Public Works Department, 3 years as the President for the Professional Services Development Corporation (PSDC) and 20 years in CIDB. Datuk Ir. Ahmad ‘Asri have recently been awarded the Construction Professional of the Year in the RICS Awards 2020. Let us listen to his insights on the topic “Embracing the New Normal in Construction”.

YBhg. Datuk, Malaysia has gone through the Movement Control Order (MCO) since the middle of March this year and today, we are going through the third wave of the pandemic. How has the pandemic affected the construction industry?

The construction industry has been severely affected by the MCO, just as any other economic sector.

CIDB records show that the value of construction projects awarded reduced 42% in 2020 compared to the same period last year. From January to October 2020, the value of projects awarded was at RM55.3 billion, compared to RM94.6 billion in the same period last year (2019).

The construction industry has experienced losses up to RM11.6 billion during the implementation of MCO from 18 March until 14 April 2020. The losses were estimated from value of salaries, building materials, machinery rentals, project management and profit which was lost when the industry was not allowed to operate. From 14 April to 1 May, the losses have reduced to RM6.9 billion per month, when 13 types of construction works were allowed to operate.

What can be done to mitigate the effects?
First and foremost, we welcome the government’s move to introduce Malaysia’s Temporary Measures for Reducing the Impact of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Act 2020 (“COVID Act“) which was gazetted and came into force on 23 October 2020. The COVID Act will be in force for two years from 23 October 2020, or in accordance with the date or duration in the relevant parts of the Act.

Secondly, the government and project owners must address cashflow issues including expediting payments to companies. Other measure includes:

  • Legalise existing undocumented workers with control, as a short-term measure
  • Ensure compliance to regulations related to workers’ welfare such as ensuring proper workers accommodation (Act 446)
  • To impose strict requirement on the use of local workers in construction projects, especially government projects.
  • Enhance technology adoption in construction industry including IBS, BIM and mechanisation.

What is CIDB’s outlook for the industry moving forward?

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown that the construction sector is too heavily reliant on unskilled foreign labour because of low technology adoption.

The best way for the construction industry to move forward post Covid-19 is to ensure that contractors are no longer reliant on a foreign workforce.

The construction industry players need to adopt technologies such as Industrialised Building System (IBS), mechanisation and automation to enhance the quality, safety, sustainability and productivity of their construction projects. By doing this, they will be able to attract more skilled local workers and in turn, increase their productivity.

The construction industry players would inevitably have to re-evaluate the old ways of doing things and adopt a paradigm shift to remain viable in the long-term. At the same time, the industry needs to minimise their dependency on foreign workers and instead, embrace new technologies and upskill their local workforce so that they can thrive in the new normal

Innovation and technological development are now happening at a very rapid pace around the world to modernise the way buildings and infrastructures are constructed. What seems clear is that, the world will not go back to where it was before. The new processes implemented with technology adoption is now the new normal for the construction industry.

YBhg. Datuk Ir. Ahmad ‘Asri Abdul Hamid, Chief Executive,
Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) of Malaysia

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ARCHIDEX CONVERSATION with YB Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof, MOW

Volume 4

FORGING NEW FRONTIERS FOR THE BUILD INDUSTRY

An interview with YB Dato' Sri Haji Fadillah bin Haji Yusof, Senior Minister, Ministry of Works, Malaysia

We had the pleasure of meeting YB Dato’ Sri Haji Fadillah bin Haji Yusof who incidentally was the recipient of the International Road Federation Man of the Year Award in 2016 as one of the most prestigious individual honour in the global road industry. He was recognised as the chief architect behind Malaysia’s spectacular Trans Borneo Highway also known as the Asian Highway 150 (AH 150) of the Asian Highway Network.

Here are the excerpts of his perspective as he shares his views on the challenges and the way forward for the construction industry in facing the COVID-19 pandemic which is in its third wave.

What are the challenges faced by the construction industry in Malaysia during this COVID-19 pandemic?
The COVID-19 pandemic has struck all economic sectors including the construction industry in an unprecedented manner which is unimaginable in our life time. Among the short-term effects, we are witnessing many projects being delayed or cancelled and supply chains disrupted. However, the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) during the initial phase of the Movement Control Order (MCO) approved 13 types of construction activities to operate subject to strict adherence of Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) drawn up by CIDB.

As the COVID-19 cases tapered, the government decided to allow all economic sectors to operate where the main issues faced in particular the construction-related companies include financial difficulty, project delivery and availability of labour.

This is an astonishingly difficult time but strategic interventions and initiatives can help the construction industry stakeholders manage the immediate crisis, stabilise supply chains and reinforce the industry to emerge from this pandemic on a more structured and solid manner. The construction industry can be assured that the Ministry of Works is mindful of its leadership role and is looking forward to ensure sustainability and financial prudence in emerging successfully from this crisis.

How can the industry overcome the current challenges?
In the short term, the construction industry players must focus on gaining financial stability with the government to ensure that all public sector construction projects are awarded and implemented quickly. Construction projects are the catalyst to ignite positive economic impact on the construction industry supply chain and have a two times multiplier effect in which another 120 sectors were identified as being inter related to each other. This will mean that we have to constantly relook, rethink and replan our business models to ensure survivability for the long term. Needless to say, we are in this fight against COVID- 19 as a nation regardless of the industry sectors and must work together in synergy for the well-being of the country.

Safety & Health
Companies must focus on keeping their workforce safe and healthy by adhering to the SOPs for the construction industry which has been put in place by CIDB on Centralised Labour Quarters (CLQ) to ensure minimum risk of COVID-19 spreading in the workers’ accommodation and construction sites. The CIDB is continuously monitoring the compliance of these SOPs at construction sites. I have personally led a few construction sites visits to inspect on their compliance to the SOPs and found that 80 percent of the construction sites have complied accordingly.

Technology
In addition to health and safety, the COVID-19 pandemic and MCO has more than ever, emphasised the importance of technology adoption in the construction industry.

Notably, construction sites should no longer have large groups of people working at the same time in order to avoid the risk of infection. This emphasised the need for the construction industry to reduce the dependency on foreign unskilled labour and instead adopt mechanisation and technology which will allow us to reduce the workforce significantly and offer higher wages to a few highly skilled local work forces.

The Malaysian Government will continuously ensure that the construction industry will adopt and embrace the use of the Industrialised Building System (IBS) and Building Information Modelling (BIM) which is anticipated to transform the construction industry as a whole in the future.

Long term
The construction industry stakeholders should take this opportunity to relook, rethink and replan their business models as I have mentioned earlier in order to strengthen their business strategy and focus on upskilling and upgrading their workforce. I believe when the economy recovers from this pandemic, the construction industry will be ready and be resilient to compete at all levels through their enhanced capabilities and capacities to ensure productivity and competitiveness.

This is an astonishingly difficult time but strategic interventions and initiatives can help the construction industry stakeholders manage the immediate crisis, stabilise supply chains and reinforce the industry to emerge from this pandemic on a more structured and solid manner.

YB Dato’ Sri Haji Fadillah bin Haji Yusof,
Senior Minister of Works, Malaysia

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ARCHIDEX CONVERSATION with YBhg. Datuk Dr. Hj Radzali Bin Hassan, MACC

Volume 3

CHANGING THE LANDSCAPE OF THE CLEANING AND MAINTENANCE INDUSTRY IN MALAYSIA

An interview with YBhg. Datuk Dr. Hj Radzali Bin Hassan, Advisor of Malaysia Association of Cleaning Contractors (MACC) and Chairman of Malaysian Franchise Association

We catch up with YBhg. Datuk Dr. Hj Radzali Bin Hassan who is also the Group Managing Director of Harta Maintenance in addressing the thoughts of the Cleaning and Maintenance Industry Professionals on CLEANExpo and FACIMEX which will be held concurrently with ARCHIDEX Special Edition 2020.

In our recent webinar, one of the issues discussed was that the general and scope of cleaning and sanitisation must have gone through a lot of changes due to the pandemic. In your opinion how are stakeholders of the Cleaning, Buildings and Facilities Maintenance adapting or facilitating to the current pandemic situation?
We are now working in a high-risk environment as the front liners in the fight against the pandemic. This makes CLEANING & DISINFECTION more important than ever. The pandemic has brought the future of cleaning to NOW where we now rely heavily on deep, intelligent, ecological and microbial cleaning by using more advanced machinery and more effective chemicals.

How can MACC being the voice for the industry, plan a proactive role? What is crucial in times like this?
This is INDEED THE TIME to focus on the CRUCIAL areas that need development or maybe focus to invest in technology – high tech equipment, systems, chemicals, solutions? Learn and source for new materials in the market or bring to the market such equipment. We are working together with C.I.S to bring forth CLEANExpo and FACIMEX as one of our plans to promote high standards in cleaning and incorporating technological advancements.

CLEANExpo and FACIMEX’s FOCUS FORUM by MACC will provide the avenue to address these issues. While the proposed MACC’s MYCLEAN Campaign will champion the support from Government Ministries/Agencies – Associations/NGO – Industry Players – Public. The campaign that is in planning will feature a Government enforced MYCLEAN Mark, a safety mark for public spaces and promoting high standards in sanitation and hygiene.

In your opinion, how will organising CLEANExpo and FACIMEX concurrently with ARCHIDEX help the Cleaning, Buildings and Facilities Maintenance players and what can they expect from the exhibition this year?
I believe CLEANExpo and FACIMEX will be able to ride on ARCHIDEX’s targeted 22,000 visitors this year. I am indeed in awe that ARCHIDEX 2019 attracted 36,300 visitors and had over RM1.1 Billion in business transactions. As a pioneer industry player since 1980, I am excited that MACC is a part of these inaugural exhibitions, a timely business event to showcase the latest in innovative products and technological advancements with the recent focus on Hygienic Cleaning and Sanitation in all aspects of the Build Environment.

The time has come to revolutionise the CLEANING and MAINTENANCE industry. We aim to set the standards of practices and services not just during a pandemic but also the future; the entire eco-system – to promote the industry, the profession, practices, training and education, technologies and others. In fact, through CLEANExpo and FACIMEX, it will be a good start for MACC and other industry players towards building the industry for the nation.

YBhg. Datuk Dr. Hj Radzali Bin Hassan,
Advisor of Malaysia Association of Cleaning Contractors (MACC)

BUILD HYPE LEADING UP TO ARCHIDEX 2021 AND NETWORK WITH SPECIFIERS, TRADER AND BUILDERS NOW BY CREATING AN ACCOUNT ON ARCHIDEX ONLINE HERE:

REGISTER YOUR INTEREST TO BE AT ARCHIDEX 2021, 7 TO 10 JULY 2021 KUALA LUMPUR CONVENTION CENTRE (KLCC), MALAYSIA HERE:

For the latest updates, visit https://archidex.com.my/ or follow us on our social media accounts.