Construction Industry Development board

N.Padmavathy And Kamraj Nayagam Give An Overview Of The Construction Industry Development Board






The Construction Industry Development Board (“CIDB”) is an inescapable presence for those engaged in the construction industry within Malaysia, largely through the levy which it imposes on all major construction projects, and the compulsory courses which it conducts.


The CIDB is a body corporate which was created by the "Akta Lembaga Pembangunan Industri Pembinaan Malaysia 1994" ("the Act"). Its purpose was summarised by the Minister of Works at its official opening ceremony:


“We are entering into an era of continued growth as we position ourselves into the new millennium when we become an industrialized nation with not only manufactured goods to export but also skills and expertise to sell overseas. In order to fulfil this aspiration the construction industry need to be guided, nurtured and developed to attain the required quality and ingredient”






Under the Act, no person shall undertake any construction works unless he is registered and holds a valid certificate of registration issued by CIDB. Non-registration is an offence punishable by a fine not exceeding RM 50,000.00. A contractor building a residence for his own use or who employs less than 3 workers is exempted from this requirement.


Under Regulations made by the CIDB in exercise of the power to make regulations conferred by section 38 of the Act, registration of local contractors is time-based.  Local contractors are entitled to be registered, in  particular categories such as Civil Engineering Construction, Building Construction and Mechanical and Electrical, for a minimum period of 1 year but not exceeding 3 years to perform construction works in Malaysia.  A contractor is not allowed to execute any construction works outside his registered category.  There are also 7 specified registration grades for each category as set out below and a contractor is not entitled to undertake any construction project which exceeds the value of the construction works specified in the registration grade.  The registration fee payable to CIDB varies according to the registration grade.



Grade Tendering Capacity (RM)


G1 Not exceeding 200,000

G2 Not exceeding 500,000

G3 Not exceeding 1 Million

G4 Not exceeding 3 Million

G5 Not exceeding 5 Million

G6 Not exceeding 10 Million

G7 No Limit


Applicants for registration in any particular registration grade are expected to have executed engineering and construction works similar to those categories, satisfy CIDB that they have sufficient financial resources to meet financial commitments which would normally arise and that they have the necessary full-time personnel resources in Malaysia to undertake work corresponding to the registration grade and category.  Financial capacity of an applicant is generally evaluated, in the case of a corporate applicant, on the paid-up capital, and in the case of a sole proprietorship or partnership, on the average balance of the last 3 months' bank statements, fixed deposits and the amount of overdraft facilities enjoyed by the applicant.


Insofar as foreign contractors are concerned, registration is project-based.  The certificate of registration of a foreign contractor allows the holder to execute only the project specified in the certificate.  The certificate does not allow the holder to participate in a tender or to carry out any other construction works.  The dates of commencement and completion of the project is set out in the certificate and if for any reason the date of completion of the project is extended, the contractor has to apply to CIDB for an extension of the validity of the certificate within 14 days before the expiry of the validity of the certificate.





"Construction works" are defined in Section 2 of the Act to mean "the construction, extension, installation, repair, maintenance, renewal, removal, renovation, alteration, dismantling, or demolition of


(a) any building, erection, edifice, structure, wall, fence or chimney, whether constructed wholly or partly above or below ground level;

(b) any road, harbour works, railway, cableway, canal or aerodrome;

(c) any drainage, irrigation or river control works;

(d) any electrical, mechanical, water, gas, petrochemical or telecommunication works; or

(e) any bridge, viaduct, dam, reservoir, earthworks, pipeline, sewer, aqueduct, culvert, drive, shaft, tunnel or reclamation works,


and includes any works which form an integral part of, or are preparatory to or temporary for the works described in paragraphs (a) to (e), including site clearance, soil investigation and improvement, earthmoving, excavation, laying of foundation, site restoration and landscaping."





A registered contractor must notify the CIDB of any contract which he has executed having a contract sum of more than RM 500,000.00. Non-notification is an offence that shall on conviction be liable to a fine of RM 5,000.00. CIDB will impose, before the commencement of such construction works, a levy calculated as a percentage of the contract sum. This percentage was originally 0.25% of the contract sum and has since been decreased to 0.125 % of the contract sum by way of Regulation 2 of the Lembaga Pembangunan Industri Pembinaan Malaysia (Imposition of Levy) Order 2003 effective from 21.5.2003.


Non-payment of the levy within a prescribed time is an offence that shall on conviction, be liable to a fine not exceeding RM 50,000.00. Further the amount of any levy payable may be recoverable as a civil debt due to CIDB.


The procedures relating to the determination of the levy amount are set out in the Construction Industry (Collection of Levy) Regulations 1996.  Regulation 6 therein provides that for the purpose of determining the amount of levy payable by the registered contractor, the CIDB shall determine the contract sum of the construction works. In determining the contract sum, the CIDB may take into consideration the following:-


(a) the consideration in respect of any construction works contained in the letter of  acceptance, letter of award or any document that constitutes acceptance in relation to construction works;

(b) the consideration in respect of any construction works in the contract which is signed by the parties thereto; or

(c) the particulars and information in respect of the consideration relating to the execution of any contract on any construction works contained in any relevant document.






The imposition of the CIDB levy is complicated by the different procurement methods used in the construction industry.  The position is relatively straight-forward in the case of traditional contracts where design of the project is separately undertaken by design consultants and the contractor performs only the physical construction works.   There is no levy payable on design work undertaken by architects or engineers pursuant to such separate consultancy contracts.  The levy is therefore only calculated on the contract sum awarded to the contractor.


Relatively recent procurement innovations, such as management contracts, BOT contracts and turnkey contracts have posed difficulties in the assessment of the CIDB levy.  The pricing of such contracts includes design and supervision elements which are traditionally contained in separate consultancy contracts.  The question which then arises is whether the CIDB's levy is to be calculated according to the entire contract sum, or only the "construction" element of that sum.  The occasional failure to include within the terms of the contract any breakdown of the entire sum only exacerbates this potential problem.


A difficulty also arises in engineering projects where sophisticated (and thus expensive) equipment and machinery need to be incorporated into the works. The cost of such specialized equipment and machinery usually far exceeds the cost of the physical erection and installation of the said equipment and machinery.  The question which again arises is whether the CIDB's levy is to be calculated according to the entire contract sum, or only the cost of the physical erection and installation works.  Again, where the contractual framework does not allow for the easy differentiation between "supply" and "construction" elements, the potential for difficulty arises.


The author's experience has been that the CIDB, not unnaturally, tends to select the larger sum when calculating its levy.  It is perhaps ironic that the body charged with the development of the Construction Industry in Malaysia has not been keener to recognise recent developments in procurement strategies.  The author is aware of at least one case in which the levy imposed by the CIDB is currently being challenged in the Courts.





This is not the appropriate forum for a consideration of whether the CIDB has succeeded in achieving the laudable aims set out at the beginning of this article.  For the present, those intending to carry out construction works in Malaysia should be aware of the existence of what is in effect another level of taxation in the construction industry, and of the prophylactic measures which can be taken to avoid or minimize exposure to this, whilst those engaged in such works should be aware of the possibility of challenging the amounts which the CIDB wishes to levy.



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