KUALA LUMPUR: Chief Executive of CIDB Malaysia, Dato’ Ir. Ahmad `Asri Abdul Hamid has witnessed the birth and growth of International Construction Week since 1998. We caught up with him to ask his thoughts on the ICW and a few other things.
How did ICW begin?
When we first started, this event was called the National Construction Week (NCW). The objective then was the same as today – to have an event for the Malaysian construction industry, where a platform is provided to share knowledge and to promote technology in the industry.
However, in the following year, CIDB hosted the Asian Europe Business Forum that brought in the business community from across Europe and Asian. As such, the then-CIDB CEO had prudently renamed NCW to International Construction Week (ICW).
How did Ecobuild come into the picture in ICW?
Ecobuild is the number one event that began in the UK. Eventually, it expanded to Chile for Ecobuild in South America and the UK organisers decided to make Malaysia the host for this region. So, we partnered with UBM Malaysia and organised the first Ecobuild in 2014.
How has ICW and Ecobuild evolved?
We observed that not only has the number of booths grown every year, but the quality of participation as well. Particularly this year, the booths and pavilions were well designed and presented. For instance, Gamuda and MRCB, their booths were impressive.
There were also many small and specialised companies that have come on board in this event
I am happy to note that ICW and Ecobuild are fast reaching the maturity level as we are now more established and well-known.
Another aspect is the Career Fair that was introduced just last year. It is bigger and better this year. We estimate the Career Fair provides 6,500 job opportunities, and this is in line with the government’s call to use local resources. This is an important platform to promote construction jobs that promise good career and high salary.
How fast are we moving into digitalisation and automation in construction?
We are moving very slowly, so we have to speed up. The construction industry is a little resistant to change. However, with the IT-savvy younger generation coming into the industry, it will ensure that the adoption of digitalisation and automation will be a lot faster in the next five years.
Konvensyen Usahanita Binaan 2018 (Kunina) featured prominently in the ICW this year. Do you see a lot more of women participating in the construction industry?
Yes, I do. The number of women, from skilled to supervisory and management levels as well as contractors and in construction-related companies, has increased over the years. Today, when you attend forums and seminars, you see more women representing their companies.
Kubina sends a positive message to women that it is highly appropriate for them to be involved in the construction industry. In the past, the industry was riddled with the 3D syndrome – Dirty, Dangerous and Difficult. But today, technology plays a bigger role, making it more modern, hi-tech and safer. Women have good strengths that fit into the industry very well.
How many visitors were targeted to attend this year's ICW?
We targeted about 15,000 visitors. But I’m happy to share the number is closer to 16,500 people.
How is ICW2019 going to be?
It’s going to be a great event. In our plans, the next ICW will be featuring new and exciting elements of the construction industry. And for that reason, it will be be held at a bigger venue. So, what I can tell you is next year will be the biggest ICW yet!
[April 16, 2018]