Ekovest marches ahead with its cost-saving practice of reducing waste
BY LEE YAN LI
SUCCESSFUL companies often come from humble beginnings, whether having built an impressive list of achievements or transformed along the way.
One such company is Ekovest Bina Sdn Bhd, which started as a joint-venture effort years ago. That business deal has proven to be a lasting union.
With RM15bil in completed projects over 30 years, the joint-venture has transformed into Ekovest Bhd, a public-listed company that has attracted considerable attention for its large-scale ventures such as DUKE (Duta–Ulu Klang Expressway) and the River of Life (ROL) project.
The company has three business pillars, namely construction, infrastructure concession and property development. These elements have complemented each other to give value to its stakeholders.
“Ekovest started as a joint-venture company between the Lim and Khoo families in Lahad Datu, Sabah, to handle infrastructure construction of redevelopment projects by Felda,” said Ekovest Bhd managing director Datuk Seri Lim Keng Cheng.
Over the years, the company has worked on numerous infrastructure projects in Johor, Sarawak, Kelantan, Kuala Lumpur and Kuantan, and gained experience in big projects that adopt sustainable practices.
“We have slowly moved up the food chain and transitioned from contractor to design-and-build practitioner to eventually dabble in the property development industry,” said Lim.
A heritage of sustainability
With its experience in big-scale construction, the company has stayed true to the spirit of sustainable design, even before the term became all the rage among developers.
Lim said: “For us, sustainable design is delivered through the practice of cost-saving, meaning we will strive to avoid unnecessary waste during construction.”
He explained that some might associate cost-saving with reducing the quality of the construction, but in fact cost-saving is a sustainable practice that involves reducing unnecessary overuse of materials.
“For example, when we build a column to support a highway, we make sure that the material used is sufficient to serve its purpose rather than creating a product of unnecessary higher resistance for the sake of aesthetics.
“An architect may desire a consistent design and eventually produce more waste during the project, but we make sure that the material and building blocks serve a practical purpose,” he added.
Further cost-saving is possible by reusing building blocks and tools because of Ekovest’s busy construction schedule.
Lim said the column mold for DUKE 1 was reused for the subsequent phases of the highway network. This practice is both cost-efficient and environment-friendly as it reduces energy consumption and carbon emission arising from the production of steel.
Highway to a better life One of Ekovest’s most prominent projects, DUKE, embodies Ekovest’s experience in construction and sustainable practice as well as illuminates Lim’s personal journey.
Growing up in a poor working-class family in Gombak, Lim was able to realise his childhood dream by building a highway that is linked to Kuala Lumpur city centre and which has given a breath of fresh air to the old but populous neighbourhood.
“In the past, Jalan Pahang was so congested that I was once stuck in a traffic jam for an hour. I thought to myself it would be good to have a highway on it – now we have,” said Lim.
Some ambitious projects may be born out of a visionary ambition, but for Lim this mega infrastructure has sentimental value.
“I grew up in a neighbourhood where the infrastructure was so bad that there was not even a proper road to my house. Now, we have a highway – but I couldn’t build it right to my house,” he quipped.
Recognising the importance of basic infrastructure for communal living, Lim aims to improve the lives of Kuala Lumpur residents through connectivity.
Phases 1, 2, 3 and 2A of DUKE are all part of his visionary plan.
As a way to ease traffic congestion in the city, Lim said the DUKE highway connections would eventually form another circle within the Kuala Lumpur Middle Ring Road 2 (MMR2).
Motorists will be able to take a shorter route to reach their destinations in Kuala Lumpur. “Road users will save fuel and time,” said Lim.
With his combined credentials of a property developer and a road builder, Lim sees a long-term solution to the infamous traffic problem in the Klang Valley.
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