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Accelerate Construction Time Through Innovation: The Story Of The Self-Climbing Elevator

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 Redha 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 importance of the construction industry in Malaysia

The construction sector has proven durable in Malaysia’s economic landscape and 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 come out stronger. This industry is a dynamic force that creates jobs and increases productivity.

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

Challenges faced by Malaysian main contractors

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

Fluctuating raw material costs: 
The Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) highlights the constant flux in raw material costs. These costs, constituting a substantial portion of overall development costs up to 60 per cent of the 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.

The 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 the 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 own self-climbing elevator, known as JumpLift. With a focus on speed, smooth operation, safety, and cost-efficiency, the JumpLift stands as a beacon for a new era of construction methodologies.

Instead of the standard speed of 0.5m per second, the JumpLift impresses with improved speed, reaching between 3.5m/s and 4m/s. This increased speed accelerates the vertical transportation of personnel and materials within the construction site.

It also offers main contractors flexibility as it operates 24 hours a day. Its implementation aligns with local council regulations, effectively mitigating noise pollution during nighttime hours.

Approved by local authorities, 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.

With JumpLift, less time is spent waiting, and workers no longer need to compete for space with building materials, revolutionising on-site logistics and enhancing the overall working environment.

Time for a change

To revolutionise the Malaysian construction industry, the time is right for main contractors to embrace smarter construction practices, exemplified by innovations like the self-climbing elevator, which leverages advanced technologies to 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.

Teoh Tze Ping KONE Managing director for Malaysia & Brunei 

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