Accelerate construction time through innovation

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Teoh_Tze_Ping_Managing_Director_KONE_Malaysia

Contributed by Teoh Tze Ping

In the dynamic landscape of the Malaysian construction industry, where challenges like rising building costs persist, the need for innovation has never been more urgent. A 2022 study by The Real Estate and Housing Developers’ Association (Rehda) Property Industry highlighted an annual increase in building costs, emphasising the importance of exploring innovative solutions to accelerate construction time and ensure long-term sustainability.

The construction sector has proven resilient in Malaysia's economic landscape and has withstood downturns in past years. An overview of this journey was shared in the Economic Outlook 2023 by the Malaysian Ministry of Finance, highlighting the industry's capacity to overcome obstacles and emerge stronger. This industry is a dynamic force that not only creates jobs but also increases productivity.

The construction sector showcased growth, boasting a 5.8% increase in the third quarter of 2023, according to the Department of Statistics Malaysia (DOSM). It also recorded a 6.2% growth rate in the preceding quarter. These numbers signify the industry's role in driving Malaysia's economic momentum.

Challenges faced by Malaysian contractors

However, growth comes with challenges, and the construction industry in Malaysia is no exception. We need to understand some of the following challenges and consider how they can be improved through innovative technologies:

  • Fluctuating raw material costs: The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) highlights the constant fluctuations in raw material costs. These costs, constituting a substantial portion of overall development costs—up to 60% of Gross Development Value (GDV)—are a significant determinant of project viability.
  • Land acquisition pressures: The surge in demand for land, driven by a growing economy, poses a twofold challenge. Main contractors face increased landbank costs, and decisions on land acquisition are often based on future expectations rather than current circumstances.

Accelerating construction time through innovation and technology

The journey to accelerate construction time emerges as a strategy driven by the need to navigate challenges. This pursuit necessitates a shift towards adopting advanced technologies and streamlined construction practices, all aimed at amplifying productivity, cutting costs, and fortifying the overall development and growth of the industry.

In an environment where construction expenses make up a substantial portion of overall development costs, completing projects at a swifter pace protects against potential cost increases during the construction phase.

Looking beyond the nuts and bolts of construction, the acceleration of construction time plays a pivotal role in the broader context of efficiency improvement. This translates into a tangible advantage for developers – bringing projects to market faster. In an industry where timing can make or break success, the expeditious completion of projects equates to a competitive edge.

Main contractors can capitalise on innovation. This aligns seamlessly with the ever-evolving demands of a dynamic market, where speed is synonymous with success. Despite the countless innovative solutions in the construction industry today, this article will narrow its focus to delve into the specific realm of construction elevators.

Self-climbing elevator as a solution 

The self-climbing elevator emerges as an innovative solution. Construction projects grapple with external elevators, constantly dismantling and reinstalling as the building ascends. This not only leads to delays but disrupts the seamless flow of construction. Enter the self-climbing elevator with a temporary machine room that autonomously ascends within the building's permanent elevator shaft as construction progresses. The innovation lies in its ability to jump upwards, eliminating the need for constant adjustments that have long been a bottleneck in traditional construction practices.

A hallmark of the self-climbing elevator is its contribution to accelerating construction timelines. With fewer external lifts required, main contractors can expedite the completion of building facades. Unlike external types, the elevator operates within the building, ensuring safe transportation of people and materials in all weather conditions. This autonomy allows for scheduled jumps that harmonise with other construction activities, enhancing overall efficiency and expediting the construction schedule.

KONE takes pride in presenting its self-climbing elevator, known as JumpLift. With a focus on speed, smooth operation, safety, and cost-efficiency, the JumpLift is approved by local authorities as it is deemed efficient and safe, providing a dual assurance for project developers and stakeholders.

KONE’s JumpLift has been used in key projects in Malaysia such as the iconic Merdeka 118, where its innovative implementation facilitated a quicker handover for the main contractors, enabling them to achieve faster project handovers with efficiency and innovation. 

For main contractors, the elevator seamlessly complements and sometimes entirely replaces external hoisting systems, expediting the construction process. They will find that it accelerates the construction schedule, translating to faster returns on investment, lower interest payments, and various indirect cost savings. 

Time for a change

To revolutionize the Malaysian construction industry, the time is right for main contractors to embrace smarter construction practices, exemplified by innovations like the self-climbing elevator. Leveraging advanced technologies, such innovations transform traditional construction practices. Accelerating construction time requires swift adoption of advanced methods, efficient regulatory processes, and collaboration within the industry.

By embracing innovation and efficiency, we can reshape how we build our homes, infrastructure, and communities. The story of the self-climbing elevator is not just about innovation but a narrative of progress, efficiency, and resilience in the face of industry challenges. As the construction industry in Malaysia evolves, adopting innovative solutions will be a defining factor in shaping a more sustainable future.

This article is contributed by KONE Malaysia and Brunei managing director Teoh Tze Ping.


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