International Construction Week 2017 Seminars By MSSA


The Ecobuild South East Asia 2017 three-day exhibition has come and gone and MSSA has wasted no opportunities in proudly sharing with the public four innovative and exciting talks by renowned speakers of their respective fields.

The first speaker was Assoc. Prof. Ar. Faridah Adnan APAM. Currently based in the department of the Studies for Architecture, FSPU, Universiti Teknologi MARA, Puncak Alam, Selangor, Prof. Farida passionately delivered a concise yet packed-with-information topic of “Curvilinear Building Forms in Steel”. By understanding that curvilinear shapes refer to shapes that are curved and bent, the curvilinear architectural forms can be classified into developable, synclastic, anticlastic, and free forms. While the surfaces of developable, synclastic, and anticlastic forms of architecture are symmetrically designed by adapting the mathematical equations of both straight and curved lines, the surface of free-formed architecture is, however, unsymmetrical and not developed by using lines as a technique. It is important to note that these shapes are derived from two different types of shells, namely single layer and double layers, and these differing types of shells play a key factor in determining the best possible outcomes for the architectural designs in terms of their purposes, symbolisms, and functionalities. Most contemporary curvilinear structures are formed by using steel as their main material. In order to form its curved shape, the structure is erected by crisscrossing steel according to the symmetrical mathematical equation of lines that are connected with specially jointed nodes. Due to it having a low weight to span ratio, this technique can be adapted to architectural designs that are more complex than the average structures.

Although more stability and familiarity can be said of mathematically symmetrical curvilinear designs in Malaysia, creating and building the first free-form surface of curvilinear architecture can be said to be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the architects and engineers working on the KL Botanic Garden, and everyone could not have been more proud to see the building come to fruition. A guest of Prof. Faridah, Mr. Mohd. Hafiz Ismali – partner of GDP Architects Sdn. Bhd. working on this prestigious project – explained that the single-layer monocoque system has been adapted into the design of this steel structure. The shape of the structure is also made to be dynamic in a way that it incorporates the surrounding nature and botanic landscape into the design. Although difficulties in terms of the lack of current technology and expertise due to the fact that this project is a new and yet-to-be-developed venture in Malaysia, the developers managed to pull through with the positive attitude of this being a learning-opportunity for possible future endeavors involving free-formed surfaces of steel structures.

The second speaker, Assoc. Prof. Dr Abd Nasir Matori, is currently a faculty member of Civil and Environmental Engineering Department of Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) as well as the member of the Offshore Engineering Centre of UTP (OECU). As an advocate for geospatial technologies involving building structures, AP Dr. Abd Nasir Matori’s talk entitled “Structural Deformation Monitoring System Using Geospatial Technique focused on the ways to avoid building collapse or deformation by using the said geospatial technology. For the purpose of his talk, he described geospatial technologies as a sensorial technology that periodically records data of sampled deformation of the chosen structures from afar, whereas the deformation of building structures is described as the change in shape, size, and position of the structures which may jeopardise its’ function, cause invaluable monetary loss, and most importantly, risk the lives of the people on board. A few case studies have been used to compare the importance of monitoring and detecting the deformations that could have been caused by age factors, prolonged exposure to external loads, as well as natural causes. It has been found that, although the use of satellite recordings may be able to prevent further damage to the recorded structures, problems caused by the interference of other signals do occur. Also, the use of satellites only work best when the sky is clear and unobstructed, which can be problematic seeing that Malaysia is a humid country with regular weather disruptions. Nevertheless, there are different techniques that can be used to monitor these changes in structure although they all serve the same purpose. During his talk, the speaker specifically focused on the usage of GNSS/GPS, PsInSAR, UAV, as well as CRP (which is just normal photography in which its photos would then be transformed into spatial 3D). Albeit new and interesting concept, the conclusion of the talk clearly advocates that geospatial technologies may be the key to prevent major catastrophes in regards to the deformation of building structures.

The following talk was presented by Mr. Lim Eu Shawn who obtained his BSc. in Civil Engineering from Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS (UTP) in the areas of civil offshore engineering with particular emphasis on metocean analysis and dynamics of floating/fixed structures. With the topic, “Blue Ocean in Brown Field: Decommissioning in South East Asia”, Mr. Lim Eu Shawn’s presentation was brought about as a result of years of experience and studies made in regards to the decommissioning outlook for Malaysia in the South East Asian market. Acting as a loose guideline for the betterment of future investments, the speaker specifically focused on the decommissioning of fixed offshore platforms. Decommissioning of fixed offshore platforms refers to the platforms being shut-down or removed from operation. He presented the general outlook of the decommissions of the Oil and Gas industry, the updated situation of aging Malaysian offshore platforms, as well as the costs of decommissioning to the platforms’ owner based on the accumulated weight of steel projected. Concluding from the selected four case studies presented based on the decommissioning experiences in Malaysia, Mr. Lim Eu Shawn suggested certain recommendations which includes looking at alternate options such as the MSSA-supported Rigs to Reef initiative of reusing decommissioned offshore platforms as a way to change and move forward from the current practices. The seminar ended with high hopes that the enlightenment of this matter will act as a driving force for a better decommissioning industry in South East Asia. 

 The last of the four talks entitled “Dominant Elements in Construction Planning for PETRONAS Upstream Fabrication Projects – The current practice by Malaysian Major O&G Fabricators” was presented by two speakers; Ir Abd Rahim Bahruddin, a Principal Engineer of PCSB, and Mr. Mohd Firdhaus bin Khazali, a Construction Quality Manager of PETRONAS currently pursuing Project Management Professional (PMP) and provides advices in terms of Project Quality Management to various PETRONAS Offshore and Onshore projects. This seminar by the highly experienced speakers emphasised the importance of proper Construction Planning (“CP”), defined simply as the critical thinking process and physical coordination efforts undertaken to address aspects of the construction process and considerations to support the overall execution philosophy and schedule. Based on this definition, it can be concluded that proper CP helps in maintaining a systematic management process as well as reduce any risks of miscommunication, mismanagement, as well as unexpected challenges, which therefore should result in a smooth and uninterrupted completion of any structural projects. Due to the fact that fabrication differs variably to manufacturing, proper CP is needed to ensure steady progress. In fact, proper CP also helps in eliminating risks such as dealing with outdated technology, governmental regulations, as well as environmental constraints, involving the process of construction, especially when it comes to the ever-problematic offshore platforms. By sharing with the audience real case studies observed from technical reviews from various construction procedures by previous projects over the years, these passionate speakers managed to convey the message of the need for a deeper consideration towards the internal and external Construction Elements for assessment and evaluation as the Oil and Gas Industrial evolution goes on.            

When all is said and done, all of the four seminars successfully organised by the MSSA were packed with eye-opening knowledge selflessly imparted by experienced scholars of their own respective fields. There is no denying that attendees benefited excessively from these talks and it is with high hopes that the knowledge imparted will greatly promote a more positive progress towards the betterment of the structural industry.