Lafarge Malaysia Bhd, the claimed largest cement maker in Malaysia with 40% market share, is planning a Construction Development Laboratory (CDL), the fifth in the world, which will focus on developing innovative solutions tailored to meet local needs.
Though declining to disclose the cost of the lab in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, Lafarge president and CEO Bradley Mulroney said the CDL will be the technical control or quality control for all its facilities across Malaysia.
“It is local solutions for the local market,” said Mulroney. Commenting on cost of coal for power which makes up 30% of cement manufacturing cost, Mulroney said about 70% to 80% of its coal supply is locked in via 12- to 18-month forward contracts, thereby reducing price fluctuation that may affect cost.
Lafarge signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with CIDB Holdings Sdn Bhd, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Construction Industry Development Board (CIDB) to cooperate in promoting the use of cement and concrete solutions, with the aim of elevating construction standards and contributing to sustainable construction in Malaysia.
Under the MoU signed yesterday, Lafarge and CIDB will collaborate to provide training and certification to construction personnel.
Earlier, in her keynote address, Deputy Minister of Works Datuk Rosnah Abdul Rashid Shirlin highlighted the 18% construction industry growth in 2012, adding that the sector is expected to maintain double-digit growth this year and 2014, driven by, among others, the Economic Transformation Programme projects.
She said that demand for skilled workers is needed for projects such as the mass rapid transit and the refinery and petrochemical integrated development that collectively need 60,000 skilled personnel.
The industry cannot just rely on government for the manpower and industry needs to find solutions to develop human capital and reduce the use of unskilled labour,” said Rosnah.
Rosnah highlighted that CIDB had set up six Akademi Binaan Malaysia around the country to provide skills training and upgrade the skills of existing construction personnel.
“These centres have so far trained 1.2 million people in the construction industry,” said Rosnah.
Commenting on the study on work practices to reduce accidents at construction sites that is supposed to be ready before year-end, CIDB CEO Datuk Seri Judin Abd Karim who is the head of the panel, said that they are preparing to present the findings to the Cabinet.
The Works Ministry had formed a panel of 11 experts in the middle of June comprising professionals, academicians and industry practitioners to conduct the study of the construction sector as a whole.