INNOVATION and use of new technology in the local construction sector has grown by leaps and bounds and this has boosted the housing industry, especially in the affordable housing segment.
Safety glass and metal roll manufacturer Ajiya Bhd has developed a building solution called Ajiya Green Integrated Building Solutions (AGIBS), which can be used to build affordable houses at a low cost and quick turnaround time.
This solution is suitable for developers undertaking affordable housing projects for the government at a very low margin.
The margin for affordable-housing projects is usually between eight and 10 per cent, while it is in the mid-teens onwards for medium- to high-end projects.
AGIBS had made it possible to build houses three times faster than the conventional construction method, said Ajiya Bhd group managing director Datuk Chan Wah Kiang.
“Traditionally, it would take about 24 months for a project to be completed, but by using AGIBS, it could be done in just eight months,” he said, adding that the cost to construct a house could be reduced with economies of scale.
The AGIBS system comprises eight series of housing components - lightweight steel wall framing with wet wall system, metal door and window frames, composite floor decking, metal ceilings, sunshades, lightweight truss system, metal roofing, and safety glass with aluminium sash.
The components can be used to design and manufacture steel frames for the residential and also light commercial markets.
Chan said these components, which would soon be patented with the Intellectual Property Corp of Malaysia, were a total housing solution for developers to build affordable houses.
Besides the company’s maiden project in Gua Musang, Kelantan, that was completed in less than a year in 2014, a few other projects that used Ajiya’s building components were also completed in a short period of time.
These include Klinik Desa Kampung Jawa in Shah Alam, which took only 21 days to construct, Kuarters & Klinik Desa Sungai Serai in Rawang, (17 days), and three units of light-industry factories in Puchong (10 weeks).
Chan pointed out that these projects used the AGIBS load-bearing steel-framed wall system, which was filled with cement mortar or concrete.
The wall frame is lined with a layer of riblath (steel mesh) on each side. The riblath acts as loss formwork to retain concrete or mortar. The wall is then finished with sand-cement plastering.
Chan said the metal frames were mainly made of Zincalume and Truecore - two different top-notch steels that were effective against corrosion, were termite proof and would not shrink or twist over time.
These materials are produced by Australian manufacturer Bluescope Steel.
What made the AGIBS wall system unique was that the dependency on heavy machinery could be reduced because the steel frames were lightweight in nature and could be assembled using air tool; the heavy machine only came in when filling the wall frames with cement, Chan added.
“The advantage of using AGIBS wall is the speedy construction and early completion of the superstructure (walls). It is also impact resistant, cool, has low sound transmission and is water resistant.”
“If you look at the site, it is not messy and not much debris can be seen because you don’t need to cut anything as everything is predetermined like Lego (toys). The beauty is, it is commercially viable, fast and requires very little manpower,” he said.