• “By the year 2030, the sector is expected to achieve digitalisation in at least half of its cycle."

KUALA LUMPUR (Ded 27): Adaptation of new technologies will ease the impact of cost hikes in the construction industry in terms of raw materials and labour, said the Secretary-General of Ministry of Works (KKR) Datuk Wira Wan Ahmad Uzir Wan Sulaiman.

According to the Department of Statistics Malaysia, the unit price index of building materials increased between 5.3% and 15.5% in July 2022, compared to a year ago; and the price index per unit of steel and steel & sections increased by 15.8% and 13.5% respectively; while cement prices recorded an increase of 11.7%, in the same period.

“Technology will replace the human labour (workforce), but the important thing is how we are embracing the technology,” he told EdgeProp.my during the launch of the National Technical Profession Day (HPTN) 2022, last week.  

He added that people in the industry could embrace new technologies by creating awareness and exposures such as the HPTN and seminars all over Malaysia.

Ahmad noted there are several new technologies in Malaysia that have been adapted and are waiting to be adapted – such as the industrialised building system and 3D printing.

He said that the construction sector has been using the National Construction Policy (NCP) 2030 as a guideline and Malaysia has been progressing well in new technology adaptation.

According to NCP 2030, the construction sector in Malaysia is currently embracing technology adaptation and adoption under the Industrial Revolution (IR) 4.0.

“By the year 2030, the sector is expected to achieve digitalisation in at least half of its cycle. This includes the procurement and monitoring phases. These two phases will be fully automated following the adoption of the Building Information Modelling (BIM) as the integrated practice and holistic approach to construction of infrastructure.

“These phases cover the pre-design process, the building process based on the earlier agreement of the design and also the maintenance process, when the said infrastructure is ready to be used or occupied,” the policy said.

Low salaries discourage more from joining the field

According to the KKR Minister, Datuk Alexander Nanta Linggi, who officiated HPTN 2022 virtually, a study should be done on the issue of low entry-level salary for engineers in this country compared to other countries.

He said this could be the main factor in the lack of interest of young people venturing in the field.

“Based on information from BEM (Board of Engineers Malaysia), the ratio of engineers to population in this country is only 1:170 compared to other developed countries.

“Therefore, I hope that proactive and aggressive efforts should be implemented by appointing more technical professions to fill strategic and policy-making positions in the public service,” he said.

Along the same vein, Ahmad said he hoped the HPTN programme, which highlights appreciation and dignity of the technical profession, could raise its status to mirror their contribution to the infrastructure and development landscape advancement of the country.

“The HPTN celebration is also used as a place of knowledge to provide exposure about the uniqueness and advantages of venturing into the technical profession, in addition to fostering interest and love of the young generation in this field,” he added.

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