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[ ENGINEERING MANAGEMENT ] 10th November 2017

Technology innovation in construction industry can be divided into few categories, while its main
goals will be on reducing construction cost, reducing time of construction, improving quality of end
product and sustainable development.

The construction industry, together with the materials industries is one of the major global exploiters
of natural resources. The industry thus contributes very significantly to the current unsustainable
development path of the global economy. In the path of sustainable development, technology
innovations in material have been worked. Innovation of material technology on producing high
strength green concrete by partial replacement of cement with Palm Oil Fuel Ash (POFA) is an
example of technology innovation in construction industry. POFA is a recycled material, which
contribute more in sustainable development and reducing dependence cement which is non-renewable
natural resources.

Traditionally, concrete mainly consist of Portland cement as binder, thus changing its composition
needs action based research. The negative environmental impact from increased usage of cement or
non-renewable resources in construction industry is the problem encountered in a development
project. Action based research is important in identify the problem and plan or innovate a new
technology in overcome this problem. The usage of POFA in producing a green concrete can be
implemented through action based research. Moreover, it is important to maximise the effectiveness
of the technology in solving the current problem and increase acceptance of the user. The successful
implement of this technology can be ensured by conducting the action based research.

The dynamic nature of construction processes, interdependence of various participating entities and
the need for teamwork, flexibility and a high degree of coordination suggest that information
technology (IT) has great potential in the construction industry. Increased investment by construction
firms in implementing IT as they recognized the pivotal role that IT can play in improving their
performance. Basic information about project schedules, CAD designs, costs, invoices, and employee
details are accumulating huge quantities of information in construction industry which is referred as
big data. Big data has been used by the construction industry, during design-build-operate lifecycle of
a project. Big data analytics can enable or offer opportunities to improve each of these aspects, as well
as allows better levels of certainty about status reports and forecasts. It also can provide more helpful
indications of levels of risk before a threshold is exceeded and an alert generated. Technology
innovation is required as to manage the big data generated in construction industry.

Action based research is crucial in managing the big data generated in a construction industry. As an
example, construction firms do face problem from having an unorganised big data. In Malaysia, most
[ ENGINEERING MANAGEMENT ] 10th November 2017

consultant firms still follow the traditional way of documenting, storing and managing its data such as
plans, documents, design calculations and etc. in printed paper, which requires a large space for
storage purpose. In order to perform research based action in solving this problem, first the data that
have to be managed, its quantity, the current problem faced in managing the big data have to
identified and analysed. Next, a plan have to be developed in overcome this problem such as
reviewing the big data analytic and management software available in market, deciding a budget in
acquiring new technology to the firm, and its implementation method in their firm. The subsequent
step will be on implementing the plan in the firm, where the employee learn the new technology and
adapt to new working environment, such as from traditional way of documenting drawings and plan in
printed paper, it will be saved in database or server. The last one will be on reflect to make sure the
problem solved and identify if further improvement needed.

Innovative technologies in method of construction are such as modern method of construction or also
known as industrialized building system (IBS) and 3D printing in fabrication building components.
Technology of 3D printing in construction industry is found practical and applicable in real building
construction when a Chinese company have successfully constructed a 3D printed apartment.
Construction waste reduction, production time reduction and reduced labour costs are benefits from
3D building printing technology. The main concern in implementing these technologies is financial
efficiency and sustainability.

Malaysian government have been encouraging IBS as it’s proven in producing a sustainable
development in compared with conventional method of construction. Thus research based action is
important in increase practice of this new technology in construction industry. Here where reverse
engineering can be implemented. Reverse engineering is the next big thing entering the technology
enabled workplace. In reverse engineering, the client’s requirements are based on their technology. In
reverse engineering, technology is analysed to understand how it works. This type of analysis allows
the individuals to learn about how products and systems operate. Thus, the project first will be
decided to be done using IBS and the building will be designed based on that technology.

Action based research is important in innovation of technology in construction industry that capable
of solving the problems encountered. There are plenty of technologies discovered by researcher
throughout the world, but not all are practicable in industry. This is either the technology is not cost
efficient, not solving the problem full, or time consuming. Therefore, through action based research,
the scope of the technology can be narrowed and more specialised and effective technology can be
discovered or identified through the planning stage.