KUALA LUMPUR, Oct 30 (Bernama)– The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB), which is celebrating its 20th anniversary in November, hopes to do more for the construction industry after several reforms and innovations had been initiated.
Spearheading these will be the recently-launched Construction Industry Transformation Plan (CITP) besides being backed by other improvements like the Construction Industry Payment and Adjudication Act 2012 (CIPAA), establishment of specialised construction courts to hear cases related to the construction industry and amendments to the CIDB Act to give more powers to the regulatory body.
CIDB Chief Executive Datuk Seri Dr Judin Abdul Karim is especially proud of CIDB’s progress and the dynamism of the industry over the last two decades.
But as its chief custodian or regulator, he wants to see greater demonstration of capability by industry players in areas like sustainability, safety, productivity and competiveness.
In an interview, Judin said CIDB would continue to provide effective leadership and consolidation to the construction industry, “but the rest is up to the individual players.”
“All of us need to do our part to ensure the success of the construction industry,” he stressed.
A week ago, CIDB invited top industry players to pledge their commitment to the CITP, which has been anticipated to bring multifold benefits to the construction industry.
The establishment of the CIDB was a result of the need for a body to oversee the development of the construction industry, providing cohesion to what was then a fragmented industry in the 1980s and early 1990s.
With its establishment, CIDB then undertook registration and accreditation of contractors, provided training and upskilling for workers through Akademi Binaan Malaysia while advising the public and private sector on construction-related matters.
Early CIDB pioneers recall the first few years of service with CIDB as being challenging but productive.
The initial registration of construction contractors, in particular, brought back fond memories for the regulatory body’s longest-serving staff, Sariah Abdul Karib, CIDB’s senior general manager of the corporate and business sector.
“On the last day of the contractor registration, many turned up to register. They were pushing and pushing until the door to the office broke down. One of our staff had to stand on a table to restore order. However, we took this as a sign that there was great willingness among contractors to comply with the requirements.”
Reflecting on the changes that had taken place in the industry, Judin said,”Twenty years is a long time, and I believe that the industry has changed a lot. Maybe we don’t realise it because we are part of it, but people from other countries who were here 20 years ago and suddenly came back 20 years later would say that there have been a lot of changes (for the better).”
He said CIDB faced its share of challenges, yet managed to bring much-needed cohesion to the industry. Initial successes include the registration of contractors and establishment of the CIDB Green Card, which certifies that the bearer has undergone mandatory safety training, as a requirement for construction workers. CIDB’s six majority-owned Akademi Binaan Malaysia, have also provided training and accreditation to some 250,000 youths and workers in the industry since their inception.
In recent years, CIDB’s significant breakthroughs included what Works Minister Datuk Seri Fadillah Yusof described as the ‘Trinity of Remedies’: adjudication, arbitration and a Construction High Court, achieved through the Construction Industry Payment and Adjudication Act 2012 (CIPAA) and establishment of specialised construction courts.
With these in place and in force, lengthy contract disputes and payment, as well as issues of non-payment, can now be resolved quickly, addressing the long-standing problem of cash flow and the resultant project delays in the construction industry.
Judin, who was instrumental in advocating for the establishment of these courts, said that they would transform the way construction businesses in the country operate.
Furthermore, the establishment of these specialised courts had made Malaysia as only the second country in the world with a specialist court for construction, the first being the United Kingdom.
“The main thing about disputes is to resolve them quickly rather than to leave them hanging,” Judin said, adding that to enable construction players to avoid potential pitfalls, CIDB also compiles and publicises the court cases that had been resolved.
Judin believed that the CIPAA Act is important as a lot of smaller contractors get hurt in the past when they do not get paid or have their payments delayed.
“At least with the CIPAA Act, they have a means to redress this,” he said.
Had the CIDB not been established 20 years ago, would the construction industry have grown as fast?
Judin believed that economic forces were the primary factors in determining the growth of the industry.
But he admitted that CIDB had played a useful role. “But by us regulating, it removes some of the bad practices from earlier days. It puts into place some kind of control.
“For example now, we are going to zoom in on the area of renovation. A lot of people get small-time players to do the work and they may not be registered with us.
“But when house-owners get disappointed with the quality of work, the unregistered contractors tend to disappear. But if they are regulated, we can then trace them, find out where they are and know who should be accountable for any problem that arises.”