Forum: Realization of sustainable infrastructure through digitalization


“Sustainable” and “Digitalization” are two axioms becoming the norm for the rapid transformation of urbanized living in the 21st century and beyond.
Therefore, these axioms are the focal points for most discussions and talks on future technological development. ICCOEE is the biennial event that always touches the pulse of the burning issues within the academic debate. In 2018, the ICCOEE forum debated the topic of understanding sustainable infrastructure. The current forum is designed to realize a possible modus operandi for achieving goals of sustainable infrastructure development through the path of digitalization. Keeping an optimum structural health index of urban infrastructure is crucial for maintaining equilibrium between demand and supply for public utilities and communication and transportation systems. Globalization and the nonlinear growth in the urban population is a mega challenge of the 21st century affecting sustainable management and maintenance of urban infrastructures. The nonlinear urbanization yields a massive amount of stochastic data necessary for performing infrastructure health index modeling in real-time. Such exercise is quite tedious and likes a jigsaw puzzle, which could be resolved by embracing digitalization as the route to success as indicated in the fourth industrial revolution (IR4). However, the path to success through digitalization is not relatively straightforward. Many challenges and issues need to address before abreast the digitalization in sustainable management and maintenance of infrastructure. These may include slow pace of human capital development and inadequate IT infrastructures such as IoT, AR, VR, BIM, and big data science. After resolving the above, a universally applicable framework would be necessary for sustainable management and infrastructure maintenance through digitalization in the 21st century and beyond. It may be a sharing platform that can include the experiences of the developed world and provides the guiding principles to the developing countries.

Keeping the essence of sustainable from ICCOEE2018 that highlighted the sustainable, (Civil Engineering 4.0: Realizing the Potential of Digital Transformation) to realization by Digitalization.

Realization Of Sustainable Infrastructure Through Digitalization
1. Fundamental:
a. How significant IR 4.0 can help the planner and decision makers manage and maintain the aging (utility & transport) infrastructure in 21st century?
2. Challenges, issues and adverse effects of digitization for the successful implementation of IR4.0 i.e., expertise and infrastructures e.g., AR, VR, big data & BIM.
3. Solution:
a. Working framework & role of collaboration from International (western, eastern) and local.
b. How developing countries can adopt?



Professor Bjorn Birgisson graduated from the University of North Dakota with a dual-bachelor’s degree in civil engineering and mathematics. He further pursued a master’s degree in civil engineering with a specialization in geotechnical engineering in Cornell University in 1990. In 1996, he was awarded with a PhD in civil engineering by University of Minnesota-Twin Cities. Prof. Birgisson is now a distinguished research professor of Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES) and a professor in Civil Engineering in Texas A&M University. Prior to joining Texas A&M, he served as a Pro Vice-Chancellor for Aston University and the Executive Dean for the School of Engineering and Applied Science and Professor of Transport Science at Aston University from January 2014 to August, 2016. He was also the vice president responsible for research and Professor of Highway and Railway Engineering at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden. Prof. Birgisson has served in over 20 boards of centers, institutes and companies during the last 10 years. He has published more than 200 technical papers in journals and proceedings and has been the Principal Investigator or Co-Principal Investigator of over 50 million dollars in research funding to date. Prof. Birgisson is also the registered professional engineer in Minnesota and Wisconsin, a chartered civil engineer in Iceland and a registered European engineer.


Ir. Lau Hieng Ung graduated from Auckland University, New Zealand with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1985. He started his career as an engineer in Public Works Department of Kuching. He was then promoted to as the Division Head in 1989 and the Deputy Director in 2000. In 2006, Ir Lau was served the Ministry of Urban Development and Tourism Sarawak as a senior engineer. At present, he is the Director of Sarawak State Sewerage Services Department. He has served in this position since 2007.


Professor Ir. Dr. Paulus Rahardjo  graduated with a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Parahyangan Catholic University, Bandung in 1980. He was awarded with a master of science and a PhD in civil engineering from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, USA in 1983 and 1989, respectively. His area of expertise is geotechnical engineering, finite element analysis and tunnel engineering. He is now the Director of Center of Excellence on Infrastructure and Urban Development and the Chairman of the Faculty Board of Senate of Parahyangan Catholic University, Bandung. Prof. Paulus has served a number of boards of centers from the university in the last 20 years. He has graduated more than 50 postgraduate students and has produced more than 150 book chapters and articles in journals and conference proceedings. Prof. Paulus is a certified professional geotechnical engineer in Indonesia, and has involvement in various consultancy projects related to slope and landslides, highway engineering, bridge foundation, tank foundation, tower foundation, building foundation, reclamation, wharf and coastal structures, water supply and dam, soil investigation and land development.



Assoc. Prof. Dr. Noor Amila Wan Abdullah Zawawi is currently the Director of Institute of Self-sustainable Building (ISB), one of the six research institutes in Universiti Teknologi PETRONAS. She is also an Associate Professor at the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. She obtained her MSc and PhD from Malaysia in Building Engineering and Built Environment. She has 21 years academic and research experience. She is currently leading research on decommissioning of offshore platform at the Offshore Engineering Centre, UTP, and under the ISB, she is focusing on construction management and sustainability, i.e. low carbon and green building initiatives at the Center for Urban Resources (CUReS). She provides numerous training on decommissioning to the industry in Malaysia and South Korea, working closely with various industry/university collaborators such as PETRONAS SKG11, POSTECH and PBConsultants from the Netherlands. She works with non-profit organisations and NGOs i.e. Malaysia Structural Steel Association (MSSA) and MOGSC. Since 2015, she has been appointed as Chairperson for Rigs.volution Working Group in MSSA (a joint initiative between UTP – MSSA – CIDB), and Council Member for MSSA since 2017. She is active in SPE Decommissioning events. She is listed in the National Industry Expert Directory as a Panel member for the National Occupational Skills Standard (NOSS) for Oil & Gas, by the Department of Skills Development, Ministry of Human Resources Malaysia. Dr Amila has published over 70 articles on her research findings, and passionately championed development of local capability in decommissioning. To date, she has secured over MYR 7.7 million research/training grants, local and international. She has been invited as speakers on decommissioning at local and international engagements since 2013.