• ICW 2016
    • ICW 2016 – INTRO



E.S.Lim,, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS

M.S.Liew,, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS

I.Toloue,, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS


Asset integrity is often an integral topic in the books of any oil and gas operator. Typical offshore structures are designed for a pre-specified duration of service and this can vary from five (5) years for marginal field structures up to thirty (30) years for larger fields. Due to the exposure of harsh and deteriorating conditions offshore, without proper maintenance, many of these structures will fail to withstand the test of time. This is asset integrity philosophy and campaigns organized by the operator are critical in ensuring its continued safety and operational assurance. Moreover, the maturation of numerous conventional oil sources has forced many operators to innovate oil extraction methods in order to increase or maintain yield levels. In addition, the advancement of exploration technologies have unveiled new oil pockets in existing fields to justify the need to further extend the operations of the facilities. All these factors combined drive further the need for thorough asset integrity campaigns to be deployed on existing assets.

Understanding the durability, serviceability, safety and sustainability of a structure has never been a straightforward topic for most. More often than not, it is a cost and labour intensive exercise that sees the option of conducting it limited to only severe cases or after an unexpected event has occurred on the structure. While this may be a straightforward solution when one is an operator of a few assets, it could become an enormous undertaking for organisations and companies that own multiple assets that are all ageing simultaneously. In the case of Malaysia in particular, we have approximately 300 offshore structures located within the Malay, Sarawak and Sabah Basin with nearly 57% of them falling within the “high” and “very high” risk categories. In Sarawak alone, there are nearly 66 platforms with an operating life that has exceeded 25 years. In order to address the management of assets, a Risk Based Underwater Inspection (RBUI) regime was introduced to evaluate the maintenance intervals of structures on the basis of consequence of failure and probability of failure. One of the key elements of this approach is the detection and cataloguing of anomalies in a structure that requires intense manpower mobilization to perform a variety of tasks and inspection procedures such as flooded member detection, corrosion monitoring and dent profiling.

Figure 1: Risk distribution of fixed platforms in Malaysia

The inspection campaign can be triggered by a variety of issues including age-driven effects such as fatigue and corrosion or event-driven effects such as fires and vessel collisions. While age-driven effects can be addressed as part of the RBUI campaign in the form of interval-based inspection, event-driven anomalies tend to be more drastic that could result with a significant impact on the offshore structures within a short span of time. These often have to be addressed in an in-situ inspection campaign accompanied with detailed desktop studies to quantify the damage extent and most importantly, the survivability of the structure. This exercise which is not optimal resource-wise, is manpower-intensive and dependent on costly marine spreads and specialized inspection procedures.

Figure 2: Different sources of damage on offshore structures

Figure 3: The costs involved in anomaly detection and inspection campaigns


For the past 15 years or so, automation of inspection methods have started to grow exponentially due to the increasing size of facilities as well as the number of ageing structures. The guiding concept was to reduce the dependency of manpower for certain structural non-destructive tests (NDT) especially at inaccessible and remote locations. Popular implementations saw the automation of inspection and the monitoring of bridges, pipelines, buildings and dam structures. The collective nature of monitoring using sensors and analyzing data in an integrated and automated manner is also known as Structural Health Monitoring (SHM). More often than not, the autonomy provided by the SHM systems allows operators to make pre-emptive decisions on events that could possibly compromise the global integrity of their structures. Thus, operators would not needlessly expend their manned resources to assess and verify the global integrity of a structure.

As an example, the Wind and Structural Health Monitoring System for Bridges (WASHMS) in Hong Kong is a milestone implementation of the SHM system. It is a system that has seamlessly integrated both static and dynamic monitoring in a live setup to aid the Highway Department in assessing the health of its cable-stay bridges under operational and extreme states. Besides having a set of sensors to check for strain, temperature and wind speed, it also has accelerometers that  record information which is relayed live to the Highway Department and interpreted via real-time engineering models. In the event of a typhoon, the entire system would be able to monitor the model characteristics of the different spans to gauge the occurrence of a shift that could possibly lead to a loss of component stiffness. Consequently, the survivability of the bridge post-typhoon could be ascertained for the operator to make an objective and informed decision which would warrant further manned and detailed inspection.


Figure 4: The process flow for SHM system in assessing global structural integrity

The implementation of the SHM systems in an offshore environment is no different than for its onshore counterpart. Sensors capturing the dynamic properties of the offshore structures are recorded and acquisitioned in a topside unit. This is then further analysed through updated analytical models in real-time to provide operators with in-situ knowledge on structural thresholds. This is particularly useful in events such as member loss due to boat collision or after freak storms resulting in damaged members. The operators would be able to pre-emptively receive condition-based reports of the structure from the SHM system and subsequently decide if a more detailed manned inspection is required. Without a significant impact on the global integrity of the structure, the maintenance schedule could be stretched to other more critical facilities. This is applied similarly to the RBUI inspection campaigns which are time-dependent based on the individual risk rating of each offshore structure. A positively indicating SHM output during the inspection milestone can provide sufficient engineering justification to operators to reallocate their resources to more critical offshore structures.

While the SHM systems excel at providing pre-emptive decision-making to operators of assets, they presently serve mostly to verify the integrity of the global and major components of a structure. This SHM tool provides great value addition to existing asset integrity philosophies and campaigns to reduce manpower requirements at the pre-emptive stages. However, the possibility still remains in the further development of the SHM systems to monitor components at micro levels, thus possibily eliminating altogether the need for any manned inspections. But for now, we can rest assured that automation will not be displacing the necessity for detailed manned inspections. It merely serves as complementary tools in the face of growing ageing assets.




H.E. Lee1, K.L Na2, M.S. Liew3

Civil and Environmental Engineering Department, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS1

Offshore Engineering Centre, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS2

Faculty of Geoscience and Petroleum Engineering, Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS3 


Since the dawn of civilization, mankind has always been drawn towards large bodies of water. A bold testament to this lies in the statistical figures which highlight the staggering albeit, uncommon fact that up to 50 % of the world’s population resides within 60 km from the coastline [1]. With a bit of mathematics and taking into account that the global population in 2015 stood at 7.4 billion people (source: Google), we can clearly estimate that 3.7 billion people, and counting, currently reside within 60 km from their coasts. So it is not surprising that a great majority of the populated coastal regions throughout the world are facing the tricky situation of resource sharing as both people and industries compete for the limited natural space.

Island states are especially susceptible to this challenge with the modus-operandi being sea reclamation as a means of space creation. Two obvious cases in our vicinity are that of Penang Island and Singapore which have been filling their sea with marine soil for quite some time. Meanwhile, another exemplary model is the Hong Kong International Airport which was constructed in 1998 on an artificial island made entirely of reclaimed land. Although land reclamation does seem to be the historic standard solution to sea space expansion, oceanic nations are starting to look towards a more cutting edge, environmental- friendly and deeper-water suited alternative through the engineering of Very Large Floating Structures (VLFS). The term VLFS simply refers to a branch of science that deals with very big floating marine structures, specifically those with large lengths and/or widths and relatively small depths. In fact, some of the ultra-large cruise ships, carriers or tankers today would fall under this category. However, since the precise science of VLFS is far beyond what can be covered in a single write-up, it will not be discussed at great lengths here. What is more important than such intrinsic details is the potential opportunity it harbours for the steel industry.

Figure 1 Tokyo Bay’s VLFS:  1km long Floating Airport [5]


When it comes to steel-based VLFS, look no further than the land of the rising sun, Japan. She has come a long way since the 1950’s when the concept of floating cities first garnered attention in the country: resulting in the testing of the much-lauded 1998 Tokyo bay’s Mega-Float Airport (featured in Figure 1).  Measuring a full 1km in length, 60m in width and 3m in depth, it was designed for testing the landing or take-off operations of small aircrafts. Built mainly with steel hulls, the Mega-Float research was very strategic for Japan as it paved the way for an inherently seismic-immune flight infrastructure, of which among its many exciting things; was the floating solar farms which despite bordering the sci-fi realm, has recently seen growing amounts of interest [2]. In fact, Japan is purportedly building the world’s largest floating solar power plant on the Yamakura Dam, spanning 180,000 m2 with an estimated annual capacity of 16,170 MWh [3].  Even in the Oil and Gas industry, considerations have been made for the applications of VLFS in the development of deep-water ports and oil storage terminal.

The VLFS could be generically designed either as a pontoon structure, or one that is based on the semi-submersible built-up. Cumbersome details aside, it suffices to state that while the semi-submersible systems are more suited to cope with the rougher seas, the pontoon-based models are typically used for sheltered areas such as harbours or bays. The floating jetties in Malaysia are mainly based on the pontoon concept. Regardless of the structural system used and best practices governed by the offshore hydrocarbon industry, as showcased in Japan’s Mega-Float, structural steel coupled with corrosion protection seems to be the current material of choice for such feats. In fact, nearly all offshore Oil and Gas structures are built with steel and cathodic protection, save the use of concrete Gravity-Based Structures. As seen in Figure 2, a typical VLFS’s hull structural built-up which is very similar to that of a conventional ship, would require intensive use of steel or its equivalent.

Figure 2  A generic VLFS structural unit [4]

As VLFS technologies develop to contest land reclamation for the preferred method of ocean space utilization, opportunities will arise for players across a wide array of industries. Nonetheless, considering the trends of present material technology, steel is still likely to take centre stage for the actualization of revolutionary structures in the near future; unless it is overtaken by a new ocean-worthy material breakthrough. Thus, it is anticipated that the degree of steel manufacturing and engineering required would be several magnitudes higher than the usual; with the Steel industry having to rise to meet this new norm when it comes with players who are well-poised with the capabilities or competencies in the dwellings of VLFS to thoroughly benefit from this trend.



[1] United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), “Cities and Coastal Areas,” UNEP, 2005. [Online]. Available: [Accessed 2016].
[2] H. Lee and M. Liew, “Rethinking Solar Farms for the 21st Century: Tapping Ocean Space,” 2014. [Online]. Available:
[3] J. Boyd, “Japan Building World’s Largest Floating Solar Power Plant,” 2016. [Online]. Available:
[4] M. O. M. O. &. S. K. Hideyuki Seto, “Integrated hydrodynamic–structural analysis of very large floating structures (VLFS),” Marine Structures, Elsevier, pp. 181 -200, 2005.
[5] T. U. C. W. E. Watanabe, “Hydroelastic analysis of pontoon-type VLFS: a literature survey,” Engineering Structures, Elsevier, pp. 245 – 256, 2004.



Once again MSSA and CIDB have taken the joint initiative to run the Open Ideas Competition (OIC) to showcase final year engineering and architecture students in a building project that would use steel as their choice constructing material, and also to enable them to realize that building design is not the sole prerogative of either the architecture or the structure engineer alone. In reality, building design would necessitate both the structure engineer and the architect to an understanding that in constructing a building of equal measures of sturdiness and aesthetic appeal would necessitate their concerted joint collaboration. From this point of view, this Competition presents an opportune occasion in providing these students with the opportunity to collaborate in a building design that enables them this practice as well as necessitating them to employ steel as its main structural and finishing building material.

Themed Iconic Tower in Steel (IT’S), the Competition focusses on the building of a unique structure which is both high-tech in its innovative use of steel construction combined with the artistic design of a tall, narrow and slender tower. As an iconic tower that did need not be habitable, it needed however to be able to contain and support a myriad of activities and programmes in and around it. As an iconic Malaysian tower, this tower needed to be viewed as one of Malaysia’s main tourist attractions to exemplify Malaysia as a modern, innovating and highly developing country in South East Asia, as well as internationally.

This meant that contestants needed to focus on a steel tower with a minimum of 50m and a maximum of 100m in height which is exceptionally high in proportion to its width and length. In addition, the tower also had to be lofty in relation to its surroundings. Located on either dry land or in water, on terrain, hill or valley, the tower could either be freestanding or be attached to a larger structure that is fully-walled in or to be of a skeleton framework in nature. No mean feat, contestants are also required to identify their potential clients who should be synonymous with the purpose of the tower and who would be key in financing the project.

The Competition comprised of three stages:

For Stage 1, each participating university would hold its own in-house judging to shortlist a maximum of five groups to be forwarded to Stage 2. At this stage, each entrant would submit a project report that delineates their purpose for IT’S and justification for their site selection; together with a 3-dimensional building model and a table format summary of the structural design and analysis of the tower. Each of the team of five to six contestants had to comprise of final year students from the Architectural and Engineering faculties. All in all, 17 universities registered participation in the Competition.

At Stage 2 or the Semi-Final, the shortlisted groups would submit to the OIC-2016 Secretariat a preliminary report on the design proposal and structural system, and five A1-sized portrait presentation boards. The ten finalist teams selected would subsequently each receive a RM 1,000.00 grant to refine and improve on their submissions, as well as to build a scaled physical model of their design. They were namely; three entrants from Universiti Teknologi MARA, three entrants from Universiti Teknologi Petronas, three entrants from Universiti Sains Malaysia and an entrant from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.

For the Final Stage 3, each team would conduct a 20 minute verbal presentation before the panel of judges to present the finalised report of their design proposal, the refined presentation on five A1-sized portrait boards, an animated multimedia presentation, as well as a scaled model of IT’S. In concluding their presentation, each team would submit to the judges their finalised report on CD, the animated multimedia presentation, the five A1-sized portrait presentation boards, digital photographs of the model at various angles, and at least ten digital photographs of the team at work on the project.

Stage 3 concluded with the judges headed by Puan Amna A. Emir,  Ir. Hj Mohamad Sobri Abd Ghani,  Mr Tony Liew Voon Fun, Dr. Farzad Hejazi, Prof Madya Dr Ramlan Abdullah, and Ir. Low Chin Yen  deciding after much  deliberation on five teams from the ten teams shortlisted at the end of Stage 2. The five teams selected were two entrants from Universiti Teknologi Mara, two entrants from Universiti Sains Malaysia and a team from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia.
In view of the reduced time given to prepare for the Competition this year, the five judges who represented academicians and practitioners from the architectural, engineering fields, as well as a subject expert matter on design  were of the opinion that the contestants had nevertheless presented themselves quite well in interpreting the demands of the Competition. Of noteworthy interest were the common themes recurring among the finalists whereby the more popular forms of the iconic towers was the lighthouse, with favourite sites for the towers located at Telaga Harbour, Langkawi or Kota Iskandar, Johor.

Ultimately, the event proved to be an excellent platform for the architectural and engineering students to learn to collaborate in a project in preparation for the industrial world they would face upon their graduation. Taking into consideration the iconic towers that the students had painstakingly and creatively designed, the judges recommended a competition website be set up so that these ‘towers’ could be displayed to be shared and viewed by others. Besides, the judges also felt the website would provide an excellent dialogue venue to ensure better understanding of the competition demands for future competitions.



It was the afternoon of the 13th of April 2016. And the university students gathered here were truly excited. It was the much-awaited moment and climax that the five finalists of the 2016 MSSA/CIDB Open Ideas Competition (OIC) themed Iconic Tower in Steel had all been looking forward to: the announcement of the winners who would walk away with a cheque for RM10,000 as well as the MSSA Challenge Trophy. These students had spent three intensive months tirelessly sweating out on their group project for the Competition.

The Competition which had provided the participating architectural and structural engineering students with the unique opportunity to collaborate in a building design that employs steel as the main structural and finishing material had been initiated by Tan Sri Omar bin Ibrahim and Dato Sri Judin in 1999. Now in its 10th year of conception, the MSSA/CIDB Competition aims to bridge the gap between the teaching of architecture and structural engineering by getting students from the two schools to appreciate the importance of project team consultations and collaborations with each other in realising a building project.

As one of the main sponsors for the Competition, the Malaysian Steel Structural Association (MSSA) which was formed 18 years ago, is most interested to promote the growth of the structural industry by way of steel to be used as a construction material as well as to be the primary building material of choice. With engineers, fabricators, contractors, architects, designers, surveyors, as well as academicians and students from several tertiary institutions throughout the country under its helm, MSSA hopes to redefine the industry. Its aim is to elevate the standard of the industry with the provision of the necessary industry leadership, as well as in improving construction practices at building sites on the use of structural steel.

As a statutory body under the Ministry of Works Malaysia, the Construction Industry Development Board Malaysia (CIDB) established in 1994 represents the other main sponsor for the Competition. CIDB aspires to improve the quality of life by enhancing the construction industry with its emphasis on professionalism, innovation and knowledge.

Bina Puri Holdings Bhd, a public listed company on the Main Board of Bursa Malaysia Berhad, with 38 years of work experience in civil and building construction both locally and internationally, is also another sponsor for the Competition. With diverse business activities ranging from investment holdings, civil and building engineering management, property development, highway concessionaire, quarry operations, manufacturing of construction materials, polyurethane system house, utilities and hospitality management, Bina Puri has successfully completed several projects namely, roads and highways, bridges and interchanges, waterworks, land reclamation works, residential and commercial buildings, hotels, hospitals, airports and government complexes. Since its global expansion in 1995, Bina Puri currently has operational offices in Brunei Darussalam, Indonesia and Thailand.

Founded in 1982, Ann Yak Siong Hardware Sdn. Bhd. is yet another sponsor for this Competition. With more than 30 years of experience in the steel trading business, this company has established itself in both Malaysia and the region.

The 2016 Open Ideas Competition saw 216 students and 16 supervisors from 7 universities collaborating in designing the iconic Malaysian tower. To qualify for ranking in today’s final judging, competition participants had to go through two rigorous preliminary stages of an initial selection by their respective universities; followed by being shortlisted by a panel of external judges. The panel of judges which comprised of academic experts in the field, professionals and industry experts also included an independent specialist from the creative arts and designs field. Heading the panel of judges was Pn Amna A. Emir. She was ably assisted by Dr Farzad Hejazi from UPM, Mr Tony Liew Voon Fun of Taylor’s University, Ir Hj Mohamad Sobri bin Abdul Ghani and Ir Low Chin Yen from Jurutera Perunding Meinhardt Sdn. Bhd.

The Awards Ceremony which finally began when the Master of Ceremony had completed with the salutations, began with the reading of the Welcome Address of Y. Bhg. Dato’ Sri Ir Dr Judin Abd. Karim (MSSA President) by a MSSA Council member representative. Y. Bhg. Dato who was tied to an earlier commitment, was not able to be present. In his welcome address, Y. Bhg. Dato acknowledged the timely addition of six new universities with the Association to total seventeen member
universities altogether.

For Y. Bhg. Dato, this Competition was essential in helping to prepare the students as the second echelon innovators for the construction industry. By testing their ability to work as a team on a structured system, it provided the students with the inevitable experience and bonus of undergoing processes that further helped them to evolve towards achieving ultimate excellence since the constructed tower also required them to include a creative perspective into its feature.

Participating in the Competition, required the contestants to create an iconic Malaysian tower that although not habitable, would house a myriad of activities which are a natural consequence of the tower location. In doing so, the Competition enabled the contestants to both meet the demands of a complex project, as well to develop their commitment towards the industry.

On congratulating the Competition winners, Y. Bhg. Dato’ is of the opinion that the students’ submissions were highly creative in reflecting both their talent, and also their commitment to the demands of the Competition.

The winners for the Competition were:

1st PRIZE 
Supervisors : Assoc Prof Ar Faridah Adnan & Dr Hazrina Mansor

  • Muhammad Yasin Ramadhan bin Zahari (Team leader)
  • Muhammad Aiman Zhafri bin Fauzi
  • Megat Zawirul Asyraf Samsudin
  • Mohammad Amirul bin Mani
  • Tuan Afif bin Tuan Azman
  • Ariff bin Hasan


Supervisor : Ar Hong Lim Foo

  • Yeow Yann Herng (Team Leader)
  • Tuan Farhana binti Tuan Mohd Marzuki
  • Vynotdni A/P Rathinasamy
  • Kim Zhao Wei
  • Ong Soo Khai
  • Phuah Lin



Supervisor : Assoc Prof Ar Faridah Adnan & Dr Hazrina Mansor

  • Nurul Farhana  binti Abdullah  (Team leader)
  • Nurul Huda binti Mohd Mohsin
  • Seri Najwa Abd Nasir
  • Mohd Fikhrie bin Zakaria
  • Muhammad Azeem bin Azlan
  • Fatihah binti Kamaruzzaman




Supervisors : Assoc Prof Wan Mariah Wan Harun & Assoc Prof Dr Fatimah

  • Najwa Harzani bt Ezumi Harzani (Team leader)
  • Mohammad Firas bin Azmi
  • Nurul Juliyana binti Dinail
  • Ong Zhi Jia
  • Nur Izzati bt Ismadi
  • Muhammad Ikhwan Mohd Aripin



Supervisors : Assoc Prof Wan Mariah Wan Harun & Assoc Prof Dr Fatimah

  • Mohamad Yusuf bin Mislam (Team leader)
  • Siti Fairuz binti Zulkefly
  • Nur Syafiqah binti Saiful Azmi
  • Sharvin A/L Poovaneshvaran
  • Norazilah binti Mohamed Paid
  • Zafira Nur Ezzati bt Mustafa


It took everyone present some time to settle down once the announcement was made and the prizes handed out for the closing ceremony to commence. In representing Prof Dr Azlan Adnan, Chairman of the OIC Committee and also Council member of MSSA, Asst. Prof Dr Srazali Ariffin began his speech by conveying the remarks and comments he had gathered in his interaction with the panel of judges. He believed this feedback is important for further improvement and inspiration for future competition participants.
The judges’ consensus was that while only a few of the entrants had presented good detailing in architecture, most of the contestants had revealed good understanding of the competition brief. Generally creative in their design entries, contestants displayed many ambitious ideas that however offered few innovative solutions. The outstanding projects, according to the judges, clearly demonstrated good collaboration between the architectural and engineering students working in tandem with each other to combine both their creative and critical skills. The challenge for the students was in producing designs that are also practical in order to achieve good cost effectiveness. Further, although some of the functional designs could have better intellectual depth application to their concepts, most displayed compelling storylines from equally enthusiastic student involvement.
To conclude his speech, Prof Dr Srazali reassured MSSA’s continuous support in providing students with the necessary platform to cultivate innovation through its future competitions. He also extended his thanks to members of the Education Committee, specifically Prof Dr Azlan Adnan, and MSSA for their time, efforts and advice to realise this Competition. Special mention was also extended to Puan Sariah Abdul Karib, Senior General Manager, Corporate and Business Sector, CIDB for making the award ceremony a realization.


ICW 2016 – INTRO

2016 once again sees the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) inviting the Malaysian Structural Steel Association (MSSA) to collaborate with CIDB as a partner in participating in the ICW. With the support of its members and sponsors, MSSA participated in five free seminars and a prize award ceremony. The three seminars which span 2 days of the ICW were well-attended by about 250 participants.



Mr Phillip Doyle holds a degree in Building Science which he obtained from the University of New South Wales quite some time back. Since then he has held site management positions in Australia, the United States of America and England.

On coming to Malaysia, his spell with MBf led him to work on a major project at Port Dickson where one of his duties included managing the firm transcrete. This is an MBf subsidiary which manufactures precast concrete products.

Phillip Doyle has always adopted an innovative approach to the construction of his buildings. Using both factory-made and site-cast precast concrete elements, he is one of the pioneer users of the slip form technique for the service cores of high rise buildings.

Firmly believing that the issue of housing shortages facing most developing countries can only be overcome by applying innovative building systems, Phillip focusses his talk entitled ‘Affordable Housing in Non-earthquake and Earthquake Zones using Precast Concrete’ to alleviate this issue.

His talk began with him citing the advantages of using fibre reinforced plastic in terms of its low operational cost and strong resistance to earthquakes. Accompanying this was a short video presentation to demonstrate its operations. Included into his package are business plan details to favour small medium enterprises involvement in the project, as well as transfer programmes to help train the building consultants involved.

Judging from the overflow of listeners to his talk, Phillip’s talk has certainly captured the interest of several visitors to the ICW.


Ir Selvakumar Krishnan has been an engineer in the construction industry for over 25 years. Currently, he is with Ranhill Bersekutu Sdn. Bhd., a leading multi-disciplinary consultancy which provides comprehensive engineering, project management and ecologically sustainable design/green technology services.

As a member of the Malaysia Green Building Council as well as a Green Building Index (GBI) facilitator, Mr Selvakumar has been involved in several green buildings projects that were all successfully completed since 2014 up to date. Naturally, he is an ardent proponent in encouraging to ‘buy’ green ideas.

The objective of this Ecobuild presentation is to disseminate the Green Building Knowledge to a wider audience. This is necessary as he feels the initiative towards a lower carbon society is the responsibility of each individual.

Essentially, a green building is an environmentally sustainable building, designed, constructed and operated to minimise the total environmental impacts by finding the balance between homebuilding and the sustainable environment. It refers to both a structure and the use of processes that are environmentally responsible and resource-efficient throughout a building’s life-cycle: from siting to design, construction, operation, maintenance, renovation, and demolition. Its main purpose is to reduce the overall impact of the built environment on human health and the natural environment.

With the proper synergistic design, individual green building technologies may work together to produce a greater cumulative effect. Using renewable resources of wind, hydro, solar, biomass, geothermal and ocean, would result in clean energy with zero CO2 emissions. Aesthetically, green architecture ensures the building is designed in harmony with the natural features and resources surrounding the site.

Presently, the number of green buildings is ever increasing. Local councils are now making this compliance mandatory for new schemes. As a signatory to the Paris accord, Malaysia intends to reduce its greenhouse emission intensity of GDP by 45% by 2030. According to the Green Building Index (GBI) Malaysia website, as of 2015 over 300 buildings in Malaysia have been certified. At this juncture, it is perhaps useful to recall and refresh the experiences gathered from a project implementation perspective.

International research confirms that green buildings consume less energy, less water and generate less waste to create a healthy and productive environment for all. In Malaysia, although this Green Building is already being implemented, with enhanced Government initiatives the rate could be much better. Though the challenges present are numerous, with concerted effort and collaboration, they are surmountable. General ignorance of industrial players as well as the average layman, are key as the most obvious obstacles to its implementation

Thus, with all the industrial people involved in the construction industry, the developers, State Authorities, the professionals, building constructers, building maintenance officers, right down to the building occupants as the intended targets for this seminar, it is Mr Selvakumar’s personal hope that every effort will be made by every human towards implanting green building. With collective measurable efforts, he hopes this approach will lead to a sustainable environment.


With approximately 300 of the Malaysian oil platforms approaching the end of their service life, decommissioning activities for these fixed offshore platforms are expected to rise significantly. However, due to lack of regulatory framework and weak decommissioning plans, only a handful of these offshore platforms have been decommissioned. Yet another major challenge here is the shortage of decommissioning yards to manage onshore disposal. Thus, there is an urgent need to review the various viable options available in decommissioning our used platforms.

The ‘Rigs.volution’ is a project which promotes offshore decommissioning where the old and dis-used oil and gas structures are repurposed and given a new life. By doing so, it allows our ocean space to be efficiently utilised without significant implications on our marine habitat.

Headed by Dr Noor Amila bt. Wan Abdullah Zawawi, and supported by CIDB, this project is a joint initiative by UTP’s Offshore Engineering Centre and MSSA. In line with CIDB and MSSA’s national agenda to create new opportunities for the local construction industry in terms of upskilling into oil and gas capabilities, it has undertaken a 3-year roadmap to revolutionise the decommissioning industry in Malaysia to explore sustainable solutions for its decommissioned offshore platforms. Thus, the industry is focussed to achieve sustainable decommissioning excellence and maximising the value of the assets post-decommissioning through smarter end-of-life approaches such as to re-use, re-manufacture, and to design for reparability that could help to lower decommissioning costs.

Reuse occurs when end-of-life steel is reclaimed and reused by retaining most of the original state of its material. This is an important aspect of sustainability as the energy used in remanufacturing or refurbishing is relatively small compared to the energy of the recycling process. Reuse of platforms into artificial reefs is especially frequent in the Gulf of Mexico. Their success in converting around 200 such platforms in the shallow waters of the Mexican Gulf is a great motivator.

Due to our relatively shallow water depths, vast temperature changes, salinity, and turbidity that affects plankton component changes influencing the presence of plentiful marine life, Malaysia also holds much potential in similar rig-to-reef programmes. In view of the impending rise of regional decommissioning of our offshore platforms, it is important that all stakeholders involved plan for a sustainable and profitable scheme. As second in the waste hierarchy, reusing steel has been proven to incur less environmental impact compared to recycling the same amount of steel.

Based on extensive sustainability and technical comparisons, it has been proven that reusing an end-of-production-life platform is feasible. Thus, with the appropriate technology, the proposed approach of decommissioning our end-of-life offshore platforms as a Build-Operate-Transfer (BOT) project would be an attainable commercial project.


Mr Lim Eu Shawn, an engineer with the UTP Offshore Engineering Centre and Civil Engineering Department, has been a Council Member with MSSA for the past four years. Involved in various initiatives including the development of oil and gas areas, Shawn also serves on the Malaysian Oil & Gas Service Council in developing national offshore standards. In addition, he also supports the university’s research, involved in consultancy activities on the incubation of new technologies.

This workshop he conducts after the Awards Ceremony is well-timed as it is highly relevant to the final year university students who are about to embark and enter the work market. Shawn is concerned to highlight to the soon-to-be graduates the trends of Generation Y and their relationship with the Industry.

Possessing a vibrant and dynamic personality, Shawn is keen to facilitate Generation Y to confront the position they would be facing: possible unemployment upon graduation. High on the list for such an occurrence is Generation Y’s unrealistic salary or fringe benefit demands. A second compounding factor is their poor command of the English Language, which as a common medium in the business world, very much limits their ability to communicate well. Being choosy about the nature of their job, and coupled with poor character, attitude and personality, are also seen as further obstacles that decrease their value in the eyes of possible future employers.

Further, Shawn also draws attention on the competency gaps displayed by graduates on project management and on general knowledge of the industry, as well as possessing poor soft skills. According to Shawn when prospective employers look at job resumes, their criteria is for leadership posts held and involvements in extracurricular activities rather than extremely high academic scores.

To ensure optimum employability, Shawn strongly urges new graduates to pursue cross discipline training and to invest in obtaining professional educational certifications or vocational certifications to ensure they possess transferable skills. In addition, he recommends graduates should seriously look into cultivating their soft skills.


2016 saw MSSA holding its annual general meeting at University Malaya Alumni Association’s new clubhouse. This meeting was a historic moment for MSSA as it marked MSSA’s 20th annual general meeting. With an attendance of 32 members, the meeting was called to order at 2.45pm for the main purpose of confirming the minutes of the 19thAGM, to receive the 2015 activities as reported by the Honorary Secretary General, as well as the audited 2015 Statement of Accounts offered by The Honorary Treasurer General.

Due to a commitment in Dubai, the MSSA President, Y. Bhg. Dato’ Sri Ir Dr Judin Abdul Karim was not able to attend the meeting. Thus, it was chaired by the Deputy President, Ir Stephen Tam with Ir Lim Tau Soon having the honour of delivering the President’s address.

In this address, the President expressed his special gratitude for the council members’ continuous support namely; Puan Amna Emir as the long-time Honorary Secretary General, Mr Matthew Tee as the long-time Honorary Treasurer General, Ir Stephen Tam, Assoc Prof Ir Dr Mohd. Shahir Liew, Ir Keh Chin Ann, Mr Muhammar Gadaffi, and also of Ir Normah Norman and Ir Zubaidah Mohd. Nasir as MSSA’s Auditors.

In citing the year’s activities, The Honorary Secretary General highlighted how the new Executive Council members had not only brought with them new ideas but offered also a strong network of experts. Among the other activities mentioned were MSSA’s appointment as the secretariat in the initiation of a programme to convert selected decommissioned off shore rigs, named the Rigs.volution, into habitable and sustainable projects, launched during the International Construction week in September 2015 at PWTC; the Open Ideas Competition (OIC) opened to the 17 universities MSSA has MoU with, themed “High Rise Residence For Students”; MSSA’s newsletter STEEL.NEWS, which covers interesting articles on building and constructions; as well as its training courses both in the mainstream courses and the oil and gas sector. In addition, MSSA also organized a technical visit hosted by STAM Steel Sdn Bhd / Daewoo Engineering Corporation to MATRADE Exhibition Centre.

With all of MSSA’s 2015 activities being supported well by CIDB, AME Engineering Sdn Bhd, Siam Yamato Steel Co. Ltd, Ann Yak Siong Hardaware Sdn. Bhd. and STAM Steel Engineering Sdn. Bhd., the President acknowledged the corporate support they offered. Special thanks was also offered to CIDB for allowing MSSA the opportunity to be partners in CIDB’s International Construction Week for 2015 as well as for 2016. All in all, by the close of 2015, MSSA had recorded 483 members with 124 active student members.

The Honorary Treasurer General, Mr Matthew Tee’s report highlighted the net profit had increased by 65% compared to last year. Thus, Council members recommended that the annual fee unpaid balance by ordinary members of more than 2 years be written off.

With Cik Mustazah Khalid’s confirmation that there were no resolutions or new agenda for further discussions received from members, Ir. Stephen Tam consequently declared the meeting adjourned at 3.30 pm.


It was a hot, windless afternoon. Once again I am on the once familiar grounds of University of Malaya to a part that had not been there when I had been an undergraduate at the university. My venture to the university is for the express purpose of conducting an interview with the Head of the Department of Architecture of the Faculty of Built Environment, Dr Muhammad Azzam. To say I was taken aback upon meeting Dr Azzam (as he is more familiarly referred to) is an understatement. For one who is holding such a post, Dr Azzam is a relatively young man.

Coming from the state known as the rice bowl of Malaysia, Dr Azzam who is in his late 30s, had had the privilege of a unique education. For his primary education, he had attended the usual mainstream type of education at Sekolah Rendah Kebangsaan Iskandar, Alor Setar. It was his secondary education that marked the beginning of his pursuit for something more in his learning. Continuing his secondary education at Maktab Mahmud, Alor Setar, saw him including Arabic as another language into his language repertoire. It was here also that he began to reveal his academic excellence. As the first student for his school to score 9 A’s in his Pendidikan Menengah Rendah examination, he was subsequently emplaced on the Special Education Programme to pursue his education at Maktab Rendah Sains MARA (MRSM) Taiping. His admittance into MRSM meant that he had challenged himself further by switching from the arts stream into the science stream.

1996 witnessed yet another major academic achievement for Dr Azzam when he became the selected recipient for a MARA scholarship on architecture. He became the first batch of Malaysian A-Level students to be admitted into the prestigious London David Game College, South Kensington. From here, instead of pursuing  Architectural Studies at the University of Cardiff, he chose to be admitted into the MacKintosh School of Architecture at the Glasgow School of Art, an independent art school under the purview of the University of Glasgow. This was yet another strategic decision on his part for a school that was more artistic-based rather than the technical-based studies offered by the University of Cardiff. Upon graduation, he was apprenticed for nearly two years with Graeme & Sibbald Chartered Surveyors in Glasgow.

On returning to Malaysia, Dr Azzam was again fired for further academic excellence. Thus, after a brief stint working at AZR Architects Sdn. Bhd. in Alor Setar, he began to pursue Part II of his Bachelor of Architecture at the University of Malaya. Subsequently, he worked with Pakatan Reka Arkitek Sdn. Bhd. under the tutelage of Ar David Teh, Ar Effindi Ismail and Ar Menaha Ramanath whom Dr Azzam said taught him a lot about being professional in architectural design and practice. After nearly three years with Pakatan Reka Arkitek, he  decided to freelance while teaching part-time at the University Malaya.

Early 2008 saw Dr Azzam’s next climb up his academic ladder when he moved to Sydney to carry out his doctoral research. Both the Ministry of Higher Education and University of Malaya were sponsors for his research.

It was truly a measure of his academic excellence that Dr Azzam successfully completed his doctorate which he pursued at the University of South Wales, Australia in only 3½ years. His first supervisor was none other than Scientia Professor Deo Prasad, the world renowned expert on zero carbon buildings. He was also fortunate to have Dr Paul Osmond, a Canadian, for his second supervisor. Both supervisors saw to it that Dr Azzam’s postgraduate research and thesis were up to scratch. Being the hardworking student that he was, it was not surprising that during his doctoral research Dr Azzam won two UNSW Postgraduate Research Scholarships for conferences to Japan and to New Zealand.

Currently, Dr Azzam is the Head of Department at his present faculty. According to his colleagues, this tenure is a necessary rite of passage for him to acquire his professorship. With several lecturers more senior than him in terms of age, experience and qualifications under his umbrella, as well as being programme coordinator of several programmes, the post ensures Dr Azzam first-hand experience in management.

As a lecturer with the added advantage of having studied in Malaysia, the United Kingdom and Australia, as well as exposure to a wide variety of the teaching styles of a spectrum of ‘teachers’, Dr Azzam favours a more hands-on approach in his interactions with his students. His fervent hope is for all his students to graduate as quality graduates of a level that would make them worthy architects.

As Head of Department for his Faculty, Dr Azzam aims to attain accreditation and validation for all his Faculty Architecture programmes with the Board of Architects Malaysia specifically, and also with the Royal Institute of British Architects. At the ASEAN level, he had in 2014 and 2015 introduced and promoted the Malaysian School of Architectures at the ASEAN Architect Board Meetings.

Aware that the school enjoys a sound reputation on the local scene, Dr Azzam would also like to replicate this internationally. Consequently, he has focussed his energy on improving the school profile through garnering wider peer reviews by way of joint studio programmes in organisations such as the Asian Coalition for Architecture and Urbanism (ACAU) which represents a cluster of reputable Asian universities, and also by way of conducting summer school programmes both at the school and universities abroad. In this way, Dr Azzam hopes to be able to sign on new partners in collaborative student exchange programmes that would ensure the school to be known internationally. Presently, the school has established formal relations with reputable universities across the globe. Dr Azzam firmly believes that this networking with other international universities is essential to ultimately raise the ranking of the university both locally as well as internationally.

This in a nutshell is the Head of Department of the Faculty of Built Environment: the young, and dynamic Dr Muhammad Azzam with his perpetual quest for learning more and yet more.