Creative designs the IBS way
20 Jul 2018 | The Star Online

KUALA LUMPUR: Houses built with the Industrialised Building System (IBS)? Think Lego blocks.

IBS technology today is not limited to standard prefabricated panels that can make a house look boxy, a common misconception among people unfamiliar with IBS homes.

Leveraging on today’s digital design tools and robotic construction that are able to bring well-thought out designs to life, digital IBS provides flexibility in design, in addition to ensuring fast construction and superior quality finish.

These digital designs ensure that manufactured panels are a perfect fit when they are put together physically.

Imagine moving into your brand new double-storey house where the wall surfaces are of consistent smoothness, the ceilings are high, the window and door frames perfect, and the floors level.

That itself will save you renovation costs, where typically a huge portion will be spent on correcting joints and levelling surfaces in homes built the conventional way.

In contrast, a digital IBS house is renovation-friendly, but the need for it may be minimal. The digital 3D design process ensures a perfect fit with furniture and even plug points conveniently placed. The homes are also designed to have minimal columns and maximum floor space with no awkward corners.

“The result is a spacious house, full of natural light. Spaces are also created in such a way that if you need to remove a wall between two rooms, it is possible.

“This means that if the homeowner’s lifestyle changes because of family or modern living needs, these are accounted for in the designs,” says Gamuda Industrial Building System Sdn Bhd (Gamuda IBS) general manager Tan Ek Khai.

Design choices

Digital IBS is flexible enough to customise products for all designs whether it is for affordable homes, luxurious landed homes, high-rise buildings and even schools, hospitals and public facilities, according to Tan.

While the concept of IBS is relatively new to local house buyers, especially in the luxury housing sector, IBS technology has been used in Scandinavian countries, Germany, Singapore and Thailand for decades.

Thanks to advanced technology, there is no limit to what the right IBS factory can do.

Gamuda IBS, for instance, can build anything from strata to landed homes, as well as public or commercial buildings – customised to needs and specifications.

“Gone are the days when precast products only result in boring and standard high-rise units,” he says.

“With flexible digital IBS, we can change public perception of IBS, where a common question by prospective house buyers to the developer is: ‘Is it going to look boring?’

“Contractors and developers on their part will ask the manufacturer: ‘What is your minimum order quantity for IBS?’ ”

Tan says all this uncertainty can be dispelled with digital IBS.

“Being a flexible system, we have no issues in doing different designs. We can have various facades and building types on the same street, all constructed using Gamuda IBS. You no longer need to build link houses looking exactly the same.

“With Gamuda IBS, we take away the guess work between the designer, precast manufacturer and contractor. We are an end-to-end digital IBS solutions provider throughout the delivery of your home. With our in-house capabilities, you will only need to deal with a single party for all your housing needs,” he says.

Fast delivery

At Gamuda IBS, Malaysia’s first digital IBS factory, products are built with the Lego block concept, with consistency in the components’ dimensions.

Using this building method effectively saves time and labour which in turn contributes to cost savings.

Construction period can be reduced significantly by 12 months for a typical residential development.

“This is because Gamuda IBS adopts a fully automated precast production system, which also saves two-thirds of the usual labour needs,” Tan says.

“For home buyers, you save when you get your house sooner because of the shortened construction period. The 12 months’ savings can be used to furnish the house.

“Homes built with IBS are precast and prefabricated in a controlled environment and monitored at every stage from design and production to installation,” Tan assures.

“IBS technology also translates to lower wastage of building materials, and at the same time the quality of the products is superior,” he adds.

Prefab bathrooms

The usage of IBS is not limited to buildings. IBS can be employed to build bathroom pods, commonly known as prefabricated bathrooms. Here, house buyers get to choose their preferred bathroom style.

“Having ready bathroom pods significantly reduces the overall construction time while quality is controlled.

“The pods are built in the factory, then transferred and hoisted for easy installation into the building, complete with electrical, plumbing and ventilation connections,” says Tan.

IBS bathroom pods are easier to maintain compared to bathrooms built the conventional way.

“These bathroom pods will have better waterproofed walls, floors and fittings. As such, we do away with common problems such as leakages, mould, mildew and other damp-related issues.

“Of all the rooms in a house, the bathroom requires the highest level of water-tightness,” he says.

As such, IBS bathroom pods can mitigate the problem of leakages which is a common issue that plagues homeowners.

“With Gamuda IBS, we have bathroom pods that are fully-fitted – sanitary ware, basin and glass finish included,” he says.

Tan adds that IBS bathroom pods can also be customised for landed properties.

Strong and sturdy

Gamuda IBS homes are fully tested and Sirim-certified, as every component of the house is produced in the factory.

An IBS home is also structurally-strong and has better resistance to fire and rot, with improved sound and heat insulation.

“In short, an IBS home is cooler and quieter with less leaks and cracks,” Tan quips.

Gamuda’s property arm Gamuda Land introduced new features and designs with Gamuda IBS at its new townships in the Klang Valley – Gamuda Gardens (Sungai Buloh), Kundang Estates (Rawang), twentyfive.7 (Kota Kemuning) and Gamuda Cove (close to Cyberjaya).

“We have Gamuda IBS-built show units in these townships for visitors to view and experience. They can see for themselves that these homes are of superior quality and delivered faster.

“Besides link homes, we can do semi-detached and cluster homes, bungalows and even ‘mansions in the sky’ in high-rise buildings that go up 40 to 50 storeys.

“Moving forward, we are also offering these to other developers and we will be happy to work with them on various designs,” he says.

Putting that extra thought into designing homes is a key feature of Gamuda IBS.

“It is not about trying to fit everything into what the system can provide. Instead, our system is flexible enough to suit the needs of high-end, luxury living,” Tan sums up.