American Journal of Industrial and Business Management, 2013, 3, 601-609
Published Online November 2013 (
Open Access AJIBM
Overview of Malaysian Modularity Manufacturing
Noor Raihani Binti Zainol1, Abdullah Al-Mamun2*, P. Yukthamarani Permarupan1
1Faculty of Entrepreneurship and Management, Universiti Malaysia Kelantan, Kota Bharu, Malaysia; 2Faculty of Entrepreneurship
and Manageme nt, Universiti Ma laysia Kela ntan, Kota Bharu, Malaysia.
Email: *
Received September 10th, 2103; revised October 10th, 2013; accepted October 15th, 2013
Copyright © 2013 Noor Raihani Binti Zainol et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution
License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Modules and modularity have been popular concepts in operations research instead of products used in Malaysia. In the
latest development, Modularity is very important in product design of manufacturing considerations for efficient as-
sembly and complexity to make it better and fasten the process and products. The paper present is a study on overview
of modularity products and manufacturing practices in Malaysia such as Traditional Malay House, fordable chair and
maintaining services. The process of modularization makes the functional independence as the goal of good design. For
the best marketing and end user, industry using modularization process or products leads to creation of product families
and uniformity. To make the process of modularity successful, the industry has to ensure that modularity should main-
tain independence between components and processes in different modules and interchangeability between modules.
This paper discusses the modules and modularity which are applied among the manufacturing in the Malaysia in the
context of physical products and services.
Keywords: Modules; Modularity; Manufacturing; Interchan geability
1. Introduction
In the Malaysian market, most of the consumer products
have methods of operation that are similar to function,
such as a electric motor to rotate the blade of a blender,
extractor and beater of a mixer but not surprisingly, ini-
tially they are designed distinctly different from the oth-
ers products. Thus, modularity is considered as one of the
best design concepts as it promotes faster and better de-
signing process, functional independence and physical
similarities, which makes the concept of modularity drive
better platform development [1]. The researcher applied
the modularity approach which makes it easy to design
platform for multi-family product, consisting of flour mi-
xer, electric blender and juice extractor, which can be
shared am ong products [2].
Furthermore, the modularity approaches were used in
many home appliances which are familiar with the con-
sumer. The maintainability of a domestic produ ct such as
an electric coffee maker was applied to designing modu-
larity which can identify its functional components and
the interactions between the components [3]. The service
mode of the product was determined so as to ascertain
the level of service difficulty faced by the user. Guide-
lines in design for maintenance were applied during mo-
difications to the existing design, focusing on three com-
ponents in the main module of the product consisting of
the cover of the base, the spraying unit and the cover of the
strainer aperture [4]. The design has certainly enhanced
the product’s maintainability as well as reliability. In this
way, the enhancement to product maintenance starts with
a clear understanding of the interface among the product
modules, which enables identification of functions,
components and operation of the product [5]. Few au-
thors discussed the relationship between design for mod-
ularity and maintenance in order to extend product life
[1]. Modularization is also known as an engineering ap-
proach to simplifying component or product configura-
tion as functional independence demands. This loose
interaction characteristic makes the maintenance process
easier, especially in term of maintenance time in an ex-
ample of rear motorcycle brake system.
Moreover, development in the construction industry
*Corresponding a uthor.
Overview of Malaysian Modularity Manufacturing Practices
shows that modular system has turned out to be impor-
tant in the process of industrialization. Thus, studies try
to bring out a very important concept of modularity that
exists in the Traditional Malay House [6]. Traditional
Malay House is divided into several different compo-
nents such as the basic structure, floor, and walls which
include door and window panels and not forgetting roofs.
Traditional Malay House basically can be divided into
several modular, identified spaces and components.
Spaces such as “rumah ibu”, “rumah dapur”, and “se-
rambi” can be labelled as modular spaces. While, com-
ponents consisting of walls, door, windows, basic struc-
tural components and the roofs can be labeled as modular
components. Traditional Malay House is a living testi-
mony to the skills and knowledge on modular system of
construction existing among the indigenous population
and has the potentials to be develop ed and utilized in the
near future [7]. Furthermore, without using the concept
of modularity, a consistent dimensioning system in Tra-
ditional Malay Ho use can n ot be sta ndardized [8].
In many centuries, the folding chair was considered
one of the most important pieces of furniture in the house
and a prized status symbol. In ancient civilizations, fold-
ing stools were used not merely for sitting but also for
ceremonial use. The design of the foldable chair had been
improved continuously by researcher and engineers to
achieve the best design and mo bility suited to the user re-
quirements by applying the modular design [9].
The construction sector usually encounters problems
in the field work. Problems such as rework, delay and
low quality finishing or lower productivity are often
caused by existing design flaws which are in the design
phase [10]. An alternative solution to this problem is im-
plementing constructability concept. Constructability con-
cept talks about integrating construction resource, know-
ledge, experience and technology into the practice engi-
neering and designing of a project [11]. From 1998, the
Malaysian government through Construction Industry
Development Board (CIDB) took some serious actions to
reform the existing construction practice which currently
employs conventional method towards industrialization
concept. One of the main strategies taken by the gov-
ernment is to introduce a concept of design prefabrica-
tion, pre-assembly and modularization especially when it
comes to public projects, at the mean time, it is also an
initiative taken by the Malaysian co nstruction industry to
implement this system and the co ncept of constructab ility
enhanced [1 2 ].
The introduction of modular concept into the construc-
tion industry not only provides dimensional basis for the
coordination of dimensions and of those practitioners
incorporating them, but it also acts as a tool towards the
process of rationalization and industrialization of the
whole building industry. Modular coordination in con-
struction industry is not a new concept; it is well docu-
mented in the Malaysian Standard MS 10064: Part 1-10:
2001 [13]. Modular coordination is purely based on the
utilization of modules in the form of basic module and
multi-modules, therefore, it is a benchmark system to
define the practice of coordinating spaces and zones for
building parts and for the components which form them.
The usage of modular coordination concept in Indus-
trialized Building System (IBS) can be applied to the de-
sign process, manufacture and assembly of components,
building components and installations, and it affects the
twin factors of position and dimension [14]. Therefore,
whenever the question of size, position fit and minimum
onsite modification arises, modular coordination concept
is found to be relevant [15]. Thus, modular coordination
can be applied to a wide range of contraction technolo-
gies, ranging from component building through partial
prefabrication to rationalized traditional building meth-
2. Modularity in Domestic Products
One of the characteristics of a good design is considera-
tion on the product’s life cycle requirements [16]. Main-
tenance is one aspect of product engineering life cycle
that refers to the level at which a design can be main-
tained or repaired efficiently and economically [17,18].
In many of the existing domestic appliances, design for
ease of maintenance was not taken into consideration.
Due to this, products were disposed off even though the
defects are minor and repairable. According to FitzGer-
ald, if the maintainability of products is considered from
the early stage of design, servicing cost and down time
can be reduced [17]. Furthermore, reduction in mainte-
nance requirements can only be done by building main-
tainability into products or systems at the design stage
[19]. While, Ullman stated that difficulty in servicing by
the user can be due to design mistakes which are done on
purpose [20]. In addition, components that can be re-
placed are limited to certain models only. Users are also
negligent on maintenance that can be partly due to pro-
ducers’ refusal to share information openly with their
customers. This has led to reduction in products’ effi-
ciency, wastage and increase in the quantity of waste
Moreover, modular building concept divides a system
into two, which consist of physical and functional mod-
ules that can be arranged to facilitate design and servic-
ing [5]. An important consideration when defining mod-
ularity is the choice on the level of servicing, which re-
flects ease of diagnosis and repair on a product. A pro-
duct may be modular from the perspective of design but
may be otherwise from the perspective of servicing op-
eration. The design architecture of an electric coffee
Open Access AJIBM
Overview of Malaysian Modularity Manufacturing Practices 603
maker is reviewed and service modularity applied and
the basis for design improvements to the electric coffee
maker can improve the maintenance [4].
The components, functions and operation of the prod-
uct will be identified in order to determine design modu-
larity and maintainability in view of modifying its exist-
ing design for ease of maintenance. Thereby, to redesig-
ning the product for ease maintenance, include of main-
taining independence among components, components
similarity and maintaining interchangeability [21]. The
process on the use of electric coffee maker involved the
activities, such as preparation, implementation and dis-
posal. Firstly, the preparation level involves activities
such as purchasing, product delivery, opening of the
packaging, and storage after use. Secondly, the imple-
mentation stage involves appliance cleaning, inspection
of the electrical resistor and mixing coffee. Finally, at the
disposal stage, the appliance undergoes cleaning after use,
storage and finally disposal at the end of its service life
According to Dzuraidah et al., common failures of the
electric coffee maker were identified together with the
effects of failure to the components and their effect to the
functioning of the product, as well as the diagnosis and
servicing operation of the product [4]. For example, a
user may find that his coffee gets cold very quickly. This
failure could be due to th e product’s inability to maintain
the right temperature for the coffee. The servicing mode
for this failure is inspection to the heating unit that re-
quires disassembly of the screw at the base and checking
the connections of the wire and heating unit to the heat-
ing plate [3]. Therefore, the servicing and repair work
involves inspection to the heating unit and electrical con-
nection at the base of the electric coffee maker.
The product’s service modularity and suggesting de-
sign improvements for ease of maintenance, including
three components of the main module, such as the base
cover and internal parts of the heating unit, spraying head
in the distribution unit and the cove r of the filtration unit
[4]. In the existing design, the spraying tube is separated
from the spraying head. This means that if the tube is
cracked or broken, changing the tube will require the
head to be detached from the tube. From the aspect of
modularity, the tube is not independent and replacement
of the tube may cause damage to other components. In
order to maintain independence among components for
maintainability, the spraying head and the tubing were
combined so that the whole component can be replaced
without affecting other components [3]. From the aspect
of maintenance cost, the design will provide cost saving
as it will not affect other components [23]. Furthermore,
the development of combined components will be more
cost effective in terms of manufacturing and assembly as
compared to separate components. This modification will
certainly improve the reliability of the product [3]. The
new design will prevent blockage in the spraying unit.
The spring controlled aperture at the filter swivel is in
direct contact with the liquid that flows through the ap-
erture, causing the spring to rust easily. Thus, to over-
come this problem, the design of the spring controlled
cover was modified to prevent fluid from flowing
through the spring when the rubber cover is opened. This
new design will certainly enhance the reliability of the
spring [4].
Design modifications to the product, especially on the
heating unit, the storage and distribution unit and the
filtering unit was implemented without affecting the in-
teraction and operations of the product in order to retain
design modularity [4]. Several design improvements such
as redesigning the cover of the base to improve accessi-
bility, replacement of non standard fasteners and com-
ponent independence, for enhancing product mainte-
nance using the modularity approach. An early infusion
of the guidelines on design for maintenance during the
design architecture stage has enabled configuration de-
termination, component inspection and selection of ser-
vicing modes to be identified in a more systematic and
efficient manner [23].
According to Abdullah et al., a similar product plat-
form means that a part of one product which can be shared
and fit into another product among its variants to perform
different func tions [1]. Product simplificat ion is achiev ed
through modular architecture. However, modular archi-
tecture does not mean that the number of parts has been
reduced; this is because addition of some parts can im-
prove overall pr oduct p erformance [2]. For an example, a
particular product without components such as screws
and nuts may not require many tools in assembly. Modu-
lar products are special and it attracts customers as they
are easy to use and can be upgraded [21].
According to Sudjianto et al., modularity can enhance
the whole process of platform development from multi-
brand product perspective [24], and modularity index
was used to identify which platforms that can be shared
among different products from similar brand and family
[1]. Therefore, the researcher argued that the multi-fam-
ily products can be described as products which are dif-
ferent in the form of function and physical appearance,
and can be used to enhance the design of a platform from
a different multi-family product which generally has
variations in product configurations [2].
Furthermore, Abdullah et al. considers three types of
consumer products from different families, which consist
of flour mixer, blender and juice extractor [2]. All the
three products are share some kind of similarities in the
terms of functionality, but the physical differences sets
them apart. Based from reading, modularity approach
included into the design of a multi-family product can
Open Access AJIBM
Overview of Malaysian Modularity Manufacturing Practices
improve the performance and in return attracts more
customers. Otherwise, using modularity approach can
reduce the cost of development where the modules can
easily be identified and th e similarities between the mod-
ules are identified in product function structure and can
be used to design a product platform [21].
According to Abdullah et al., the problems of each
product must be identified and understood at the begin-
ning phase itself. In order to have a clear understanding
of the product functionality, it should be broken down
into smaller and simple parts and components, and then,
every part and component’s functionality is presented in
a form of black box model, and later on, the function
structures for each product can be developed using mod-
ularity approach [1]. After the process of identifying the
platform by using modularity approach, all the potential
features can be taken into consideration, for an example,
remote control [2]. Another potential is identifying the
ways to enhance the cleaning process of parts and com-
ponents from wastage and dirt. Beyond that, waste stor-
ing or cleaning module is an extra potential feature in the
product. As a modification, new part can be fitted in to
the juice extractor’s variant so that the waste can be ex-
tracted without disassembling all the other components
which will cause the machine to function for some time,
this can be very inconvenient to the users. This is be-
cause, a typically juice extractor consists of a blade, and
a main housing and a top cover that need to be disassem-
bled first befo r e the wast e ca n be removed [25].
The coupling or decoupling module is one of the po-
tential enhancements that will increase the product per-
formance. It ensures that the rubber gear and the drive
couple in a blender can be efficiently attached and de-
tached. Another module that has the potential to improve
the overall product performance is the actuating module,
where a remote control can be added into the bundle. The
remote control gives users the freedom to use it even if
they are not in the kitchen [2].
3. Modularity in Enhance Product
Product design and assembly type will affect the main-
tainability efficiency, that make the companies are strug-
gling to achieved not only the best design but also pro-
vide a maintenance-friendly features that could increase
their product performance. Thus, proper and simpler
maintenances can extend product life-cycle [26]. It is
very crucial in mainten ance time to repair is and d epends
mainly on the product or system configurations. There-
after, by simplifying the product configuration, repair
and maintenance can be accomplished in shorter time.
Modularity is believed capable to makes maintenance
simpler due to functional independence created in the
product configuration [4].
Moreover, design for assembly have similar character-
istic in nature to design for modularity, where th ey try to
achieve the highest level of simplification and standardi-
zation in product design. In maintainability, disassembly
and reassembly is the most critical factor, which includes
time of least replacement of components. Maintainability
can be measured based on time consume in completing
the task or mean time to repair and maintenance activity
time [26].
Cost of assembly or disassembly is critical only in se-
lection of appropriate tools [27]. Meanwhile, Tsai et al.,
introduces modularity operations and considering reli-
ability and maintenance cost as a measure [28]. There
also have problems that should be considered in main-
tainability analysis, which are disassembly sequence,
selection of tools, time required for disassembly and hu-
man factor issues such as accessibility and visibility.
Maintainability also should consider optimal resources
such as personnel and support equipment [29]. The main-
tainability depends on the component accessibility, loca-
tion of the targeted components and the skill of the op-
erator. The lesser workload requires in accessing the co m-
ponent, the better maintainability. Moreover the higher
level of skill of the operator, the faster maintenance can
be done and determining more efficiency of the product
4. Modularity Concept in Construction
(Traditional Malay House)
Traditional Malay House (TMH) in Malaysia is slowly
becoming extinct. It is very rare a new Traditio nal Malay
House being built throughout the country for normal liv-
ing purposes other than for ceremonial or heritage exhi-
bition purposes. Culture and tradition is an identity to a
society that needs to be preserved for future generation,
which is not untouchable. TMH has got many good as-
pects, technically, socially and environmentally that need
to be explored and adopted in the modern contemporary
built environment [6].
Furthermore, technical aspects of Traditional Malay
House were quiet abandoned and rarely studied. The re-
searcher focused on the elements of construction tech-
niques of the Traditional Malay House for future utiliza-
tion of the concept of modularity that seems to be in-
stilled in Traditional Malay House. Prebuilt nature of
Traditional Malay House requires the right ingredient
and a proper management practice to grant Traditional
Malay House a chance to see the light of modernization
and industrialization [6,30].
Readers Digest Word Power Dictionary reads that, a
module is an unit that builds part of something bigger,
could be a single part or multiple units that can be
Open Access AJIBM
Overview of Malaysian Modularity Manufacturing Practices 605
brought together to make a machine, a piece of furniture,
or even a building. According to Hamid et al., a module
is a basic convenient unit used as a coefficient in dimen-
sional coordination [15]. The second definition is better
suited to the intention and purpose of Traditional Malay
House considering the dimensioning system. The princi-
ple of repetition remains as the core which rhythms in
architecture. The concept of rhythm has been used to sy-
mbolize to the repetition of uniformed dimensions, such
as window sections, heights, spans or other important
dimensions in the front or plan of a building [30]. Build-
ing can be divided into three aspects such as physical,
functional and spatial. Physical elements look at the struc-
ture of the building, the exterior, materials used for con-
struction and colors of the building. Spatial are more re-
lated to space and the position of the building, it also in-
cludes size and shape. Lastly, functional elements looks
into functionality of the building, where the spaces and
environment suits to the functions that are about to be
carried out in the building [31].
Furthermore, physical elements of a building can be
divided into three elements of components; sections,
units and compound units. Units is a single standalone
component but can also form a part of something that is
larger, such as brick, tile, block, window pane, lintel,
door leaf, panel, pipe and pipe fitting. Then, compound
unit is a combination of two or more individual things
put together, such as a door with frame, refrigerator, lat-
tice girder, cupboard, sink unit, window, and roof truss.
This means that, a unit and a compound unit can be count
as a module. Therefore any part of a building or even a
whole building build from such units can be labeled as
“modular building” [6].
Moreover, a Traditional Malay House (TMH) can be
labelled as a vernacular architecture as it is the architec-
ture of the local people, and it here in Peninsula Malaysia
even before the colonialism period [7]. All Traditional
Malay House were basically built out of timber as it is
the only building material existed and was abundantly
found material, TMH are build elevated on stilt and co n-
sists of three main spaces known as “rumah ibu”, “rumah
tengah” and “rumah dapur”. These traditional houses are
covered with a long roof with some variations based on
regions of origin. It continued to evolve over generations
according to their way of living, adapting to the changes
in needs, and surviving the changes in culture and envi-
ronment [30]. Traditional Malay House creates a sense of
responsibility while connecting to the society and build
environment and is self-contained. The Traditional Ma-
lay House is the outcome of high creativity and crafts-
manship among the Malays [32]. The traditional houses
in Malaysia symbolize its history and cultural heritage.
The traditional Malay houses are always built based on a
clear pattern and order. A basic Traditio nal Malay House
includes a verandah known as “selasar” or “serambi”, a
main room known as “rumah ibu” which consist a sleep-
ing area and the kitchen known as “dapor ” at the back of
each house [33].
The architecture of traditional Malay house is very
special that it created a near-perfect solutions to the chan-
ges of climate, multi-functional use of space to fit vari-
ous functions, flexibility in design which allows modifi-
cations and a sophisticated prebuilt system which can
extend the house space with the growing needs of the
family [7]. The basic unit of Traditional Malay House is
known as “rumah bujang” which holds one space module
with six columns or even known as “rumah tiang enam”
with eight columns.
The modular pattern important in Traditional Malay
House poses and relate to the current development in
modular building concept in the current construction in-
dustry which associated itself with preexisting modular
design, prefabrication and industrialization [34]. Modular
Coordination design rules were used as a tool for meas-
uring dimension and analysis. Modular Coordination is
itself considered as a tool for dimensional coordination
and standardization. Modular Coordination is a method
where sizing dimensions of building components and of
building on the basis of a basic module happens. The
international basic module is M, where M = 100 mm
Based from the reading the articles, it was founded
that the modular in Traditional Malay House can divided
into modular component, such as physical element and
spaces including the spatial and functional. The utiliza-
tion of modularity and repetitiveness concept in Tradi-
tional Malay House has a lot to offer to the develop ment
of modern building construction focusing on housing in
Malaysia. Prefabrication brings Traditiona l Malay House
to modernization and industrialization. Obviously, pre-
fabrication is a method which enables wider gains out
from series of uniform dimen sions or modular. The whole
spectrum of repetition and uniform sizes opens a new path
for industrialization of production, which can be useful
not only to Traditional Malay House but also to the con-
struction industry as a whole [6].
5. Modularity in Construction Based on Civ-
il Engineering
The concept of constructability was first coined in the
late 1970s, the aim of constructability is to integrate en-
gineering, construction, operation knowledge and expe-
rience in order to increase cost efficiency and quality in
achieving project objectives in the construction industry
[35]. Process implementation, integration and assessment
of constructability concept during design phase has been
studied by researchers in the Malaysian context, as noted
Open Access AJIBM
Overview of Malaysian Modularity Manufacturing Practices
by [10,14,36], but these concepts have not been tested in
Malaysia [36]. There is a total of 23 constructability
concepts which were formulated to fit into the engi-
neered construction phases. The engineered construction
phase includes everything from the process of planning
and design until the end of a specific project [36].
The basic idea of offsite construction is to move some
effort away from the construction site itself to a more
controlled environment. Offsite means the whole process
of manufacturing and pre-assembly of components, ele-
ments or modules before installing them into their final
location. In addition, offsite construction refers to p art of
the construction process that is done out away from the
actual building site, such as in factory or in a specially
created temporary production facilities close to the con-
struction site [11]. According to Hamid et al., the offsite
construction concept benefits the construction sector
from the aspects of improvement in quality, cost and time
certainty and increases customer and environmental sat-
isfaction [15].
Furthermore, offsite construction concept improves
constructability by providing designers with new per-
spective and view on the concept of repetition, preas-
sembly and standardization. This is why the integration
of modularization and preassembly for project elements
should be given importance and studied carefully [11].
Modularization and preassembly design process should
be utilized to facilitate fabrication, transportation and
installation. In addition, repetition and standardization is
deemed as dull and unattractive way of doing things, but
rebranding effort of offsite construction concept recently
gives a different view on the concept of sensible design
where the concept of optimization can go in line with
trend and awareness on sustainability issues [10]. The
usage of modular coordination concept to design offsite
components will increase the overall constructability in
construction projects. Modular coordination is based on
the concept of coordination of dimension and spaces
where both building and components are positioned into
a single unit or module known as 1 M which is equiva-
lent to 100 mm [15]. Based on recent research, it was
founded that modular coordination concept can be used
to design conventio nal system, but it is more su itable for
offsite and production of components where repetitive-
ness exists.
In Malaysia, Industrialized Building System (IBS) is
being widely used by the state and industrialist to repre-
sent offsite construction concept. IBS is a construction
technique where construction parts are manufactured in a
controlled environment which can be on or off site. The
build components are later transported, positioned and
assembled into a complete stru cture where additional site
works are kept minimal [13]. IBS also blankets modular
coordination and Open Building System (OBS) concept
[13]. IBS was introduced in Malaysia in the 60’s, which
started with the use of pre-cast method to build concrete
beam-column and the use of panelized system [13].
The project which was carried out in Rifle Range, Pe-
nang and Jalan Pekeliling, Kuala Lumpur had employed
French Estoit and Danish System respectively. But both
the systems were not used as it was found not suitable for
local cultural habits. The abundance of foreign workers
in the 1990’s, has reignited the interest on IBS. Housing
Research Centre (HRC), based at Universiti Putra Ma-
laysia pioneered in the ar ea of research and promotion of
IBS. HRC took the initiative to organize a series of na-
tional and international colloquiums and seminars on
In 2001, HRC’s research on “Interlocking load bear-
ing hollow-block building named as “Putra Block” has
won the prestigious “Geneva Gold Medal” award for in-
novation. On the same year HRC were also engaged with
the Ministry of Housing and Local Government to con-
duct a research on the National Affordable Housing pro-
gram. In 1999, IBS Strategic Plan 1999 were published,
it was the outcome from the initiatives taken by Industry
Development Board (CIDB) which formed IBS Steering
Committee in order to create and incorporate all issues
pertaining IBS into a single framework. In an effort to
guide all the practitioners and decision makers in em-
bracing IBS, the government through CIDB published
“parliament endorsed’ roadmap. It is known as the In-
dustrialized Building Systems (IBS) Roadmap 2003-
2010, the master plan is based on the 5-M Strategy (Ma-
terials-Components-Machines, Manpower, Monetary,
Management-Processes-Methods and Marketing). The
main aim of the roadmap is to introduce open building
concept and industrialized construction industry by the
year 2010 [37]. The roadmap initiative implementation
phase is currently lead by two working groups; IBS
Technical Committee and IBS Steering Committee.
CIDB’s IBS Center is holding the role of secretariat to
monitor all the related activities. Even though IBS is
around for over 40 years, the pace of implementation and
usage is still low. But things have been changing drasti-
cally the last couple of years. According to CIDB, for-
eign experts from Japan, Australia, United States and Ne-
therlands have teamed up with many Malaysian private
companies to provide pre-cast solutions for their projects
[37]. They have a number of IBS key projects such as:
1) 17 storey flats project along Jalan Pekeliling at the
hearts of Kuala Lumpur by Gammon/ Larsen Nielsen
using a Danish System of which utilize large panel of
pre-fab ricated system [37]
2) Hochtief/ Chee Seng using the French Estoit System,
completed a housing project with 6 blocks of 17 sto-
rey flats and another 3 blocks of 18 storey flats at
Jalan Rifle Range, Penang.
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Overview of Malaysian Modularity Manufacturing Practices 607
3) British Research Establishment (BRE) in 1978 de-
signed an IBS pre-cast system and component which
was used to construct low cost housing in Taman Tun
Sardon Housing pr o ject in Penan g.
4) Perbadanan Kemajuan Negeri Selangor (PKNS) en-
gaged in low cost houses and high cost bungalows
project in Selangor. Praton Haus International based
in Germany provided their pre-cast concrete technol-
ogy for this project which was under the state gov-
5) Dayabumi complex with 36 storey which was the first
ever project used steel structure (part of IBS) as a
method of construction in 1984, this project was car-
ried out by Takenaka Corporation of Japan.
6) Light Rapid Transit (LRT), Kuala Lumpur Interna-
tional Airport (KLIA), Bukit Jalil National Sport
Complex, Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) and
School Teacher’s Quarters utilized the hybrid con-
struction method.
The following is the key events of IBS promotion and
initiatives taken by the government in Malaysia by [13 ]:
1) The government plans to build 100,000 units of af-
fordable houses through the implementation of IBS
concept. On top of that, all future projects by the
government should incorporate 50% of IBS concept
where CIDB monitors through their IBS score man-
2) The Construction Industry Master Plan 2006-2015
incorporates IBS construction method as means to
change the future path of the Malaysian construction
industry. It has been highlighted under the Strategic
Thrust 5 of CIMP: Innovate through R & D to adopt a
new construction method.
3) From 2007, new incentives have been introduced for
IBS adopter which includes the exemption of levy
(0.125 % from the total cost of the project) on con-
tractors who use IBS concept in 50% of the process in
building components since 1st January 2007 [15]
4) Since 2007, IBS Centre has been playing the role of
consultant from their office located at Cheras. The
centre includes IBS style show-house and holds a Re-
search and Development facility. The R & D depart-
ment is known as Construction Research Institute of
Malaysia and it is initiated to manage IBS research
5) The Ministry of Finance emphasizes on the full utili-
zation of IBS concept for all the government’s pro-
jects in Malaysia through their circular dated on Oc-
tober 2008. Through the circular, Malaysian Gov-
ernment increased the percentage of IBS usage in pro-
jects from 50% to 70%. The government shows its
seriousness in implementing IBS wh en more than 320
projects worth RM 9.43 billion where carried out by
using the IBS concept as in February 2009.
IBS or simply known as offsite construction concept
adoption can be a starting point to improve constructabil-
ity in regards to the process of standardization, preas-
sembly and repetitiveness [11]. On top of that, the gov-
ernment helps through incentives, research aid and pro-
motion to create greater utilization of IBS, which may
solve the issues su rround ing constructab ility’s imple men-
tation which indirectly could become a game changer for
the process of enhancement of constructability. Mean-
while, the Malaysian government has been busy in im-
plementing IBS concept in its projects, which looks as a
good step in order to improve the level of con structability
in the construction industry [37]
6. Conclusion
This study has successfully demonstrated the relationship
between manufacturing and modularity product or proc-
ess. In Malaysia, modularity is important in manufactur-
ing especially in construction such as Industrialized
Building System (IBS) and Traditional Malay House
(TMH). The process of modularity in construction will
enhance the scale of constructability in the construction
industry. Besides that, modularity could be an effective
approach to improving construction project in Malaysia
in the sense of design for standardization, pre-assembly
and repetitiveness. Modularization is due to functional
independen ce in the product configu ration in maintaining
services for domestic products such as coffee maker,
blender, juice extractor, and flour mixer which will affect
the performance of the products. Otherwise, improve-
ment of the products performance by using modular ap-
proach can attract the customer to use as home appliance
products and also reduce the cost development. The ar-
chitecture of products development such as fordable
chair is used to test conformity and quality in modularity
process. The benefits of modularity for manufacturing
practices increase the flexibility of modularity and ada-
ptability into design to adjust and adapt to change. Mo-
dularity makes the increase in product variety and ease of
product update.
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