The tallest building in Southeast Asia, due for completion in 2022, will be protected from termites using an impressive number of baits.

When it is completed in 2022, Merdeka 118 will be the tallest building in Southeast Asia and the second tallest building in the world, with 118 floors towering up to a height of 644 metres.

The team behind Merdeka 118 is pursuing a rigorous environmental and sustainability program to ensure certification under various international audit programs. So when it came to protection against termite infestations, it was vital that the chosen system met the highest standards for environmental sustainability, safety, and of course proven efficacy in protecting against termite ingress in a harsh tropical environment, in which termites are known to abound.


Although currently incomplete, Merdeka 118 already towers above the Kuala Lumpur skyline


After a lengthy review and evaluation process, the Exterra Termite Colony Elimination System was chosen as the ideal system, with its scientifically proven and well-established record for intercepting and eliminating termite colonies without harming the environment or affecting human health.

According to Steve Broadbent, regional director of Ensystex, Exterra is also the only termite baiting system that is proven through peer-reviewed studies to provide protection against the higher termites of the family Termitidae. “This includes the genera Macrotermes and Odontotermes, which are renowned for their destructive presence throughout Southeast Asia. Exterra also protects against the lower termites in the family Rhinotermitidae, which includes the commonly encountered general Coptotermes,” he said.

Protecting a building of this size and scale, with its enormous ground footprint and extensive excavations, requires a mammoth effort involving careful planning and liaison with construction teams. The Exterra team, led by country manager Shahrem Md Ramli, with Faizal Mohd Yusof and his Insepro team, is well experienced in dealing with such challenges. In addition to the main tower, the complex includes a theatre, three residential towers, a high-end shopping mall, two sports stadiums and a parkland boulevard.

Exterra teams have been involved in protecting some of the world’s largest and most challenging termite infestations. “In France and China, entire towns have been protected using Exterra,” said Mr Broadbent. “In Botswana, the country’s entire water infrastructure, including more than 30 km of dam walls, is protected. There’s also world heritage sites in Cambodia and the United Arab Emirates; Royal Palaces in the Gulf Region and throughout Southeast Asia; hundreds of high-profile premises; and more than 250,000 other properties, all successfully treated and protected by Exterra. We know how to manage large-scale termite jobs!”

The Merdeka 118 termite management program comprises two stages. The first phase commenced during the initial construction in 2019 and will run until 2022. Exterra In-ground Stations are installed at strategic locations around the construction site, to intercept any termite colonies foraging around the site. The number and locations of the stations are subject to change as the site evolves. A two-man team is deployed to make regular inspections at the site for signs of termite activity. Requiem-baited Above-ground Stations are installed if termite activity is found.

The second phase, protection of the property post-construction, is scheduled to commence in 2022 and will contractually run until 2028. In-ground stations and inconcrete stations, with Focus Termite Attractant, will be installed around the completed buildings, and at strategic locations within Merdeka’s compound, to create Exterra’s unique Termite Interception Zone and provide secure ongoing protection.

Exterra is also reaching new heights in the world of education! Universiti Malaysia Perlis (UniMAP) is a major University located in the state of Perlis in the northwest. The main campus, Nature Campus Pauh Putra, is spread over 420 hectares. With its wide-open spaces and tropical rainforest trees, it has been experiencing serious termite infestations and damage since 2010.

“Various commercial methods have been tried in an attempt to manage these infestations in the buildings and landscape trees,” said Mr Broadbent. “Given the environmental concerns of the institution, several termite baiting systems were evaluated by the University, with Exterra the only system proven to be capable of successfully eliminating the severe termite infestations and protecting the structures and trees. In late 2020, the senior management team chose Exterra to protect the entire campus, with all its trees, from further termite predation.”

This is one of the largest termite protection installations performed in Southeast Asia, using more than 11,700 in-ground stations and around 400 in-concrete stations, and requiring immense planning and commitment (picture above shows in-concrete station installation). A two-man team will be stationed full time at the campus. Stations will be inspected at least monthly, and buildings, quarterly. On average, the team will need to service around 600 stations daily, and provide monthly reports to the university’s maintenance department.

Installation of all stations is expected to be completed by mid-July 2021. This has been an enormous logistical exercise, with the Covid 19 pandemic impacting on so many aspects of the business. This has required the global Ensystex supply chain team to pull together and work closely with Insepro and the Universiti to get all the stations delivered and installed in a timely manner. When completed, Exterra will provide protection against termite infestation for all the campus buildings and landscape trees.

Ensystex is well known for the safety of its products and commitment to the environment. This is considered in many aspects of the business. For example, the timber interceptors used in the Exterra In-ground Stations are sourced from sustainable forests managed in accordance with the international PEFC Responsible Wood program.

More broadly speaking, Exterra represents a paradigm shift from the large volume application of soil termiticides to a system that typically uses less than a teaspoon of a mildly toxic active ingredient that is targeted specifically towards termites.

Exterra employs an insect growth regulator to inhibit the termites’ production of chitin. Whilst Ensystex pioneered this approach with chlorfluazuron, Exterra and Requiem Termite Bait are much more than just the active. Numerous studies have shown how termites eat more Requiem than any other bait and that the Exterra In-ground Station design, with Focus Termite Attractant, better intercepts termites.1,2 It is the reliability of high bait consumption that uniquely enables Exterra to eliminate colonies of the higher termites, family Termitidae.

When it comes to the environment, Ensystex takes a holistic approach with Exterra. For example, in Australia, Exterra holds a partnership with Australian Wildlife Conservancy for the protection of Australia’s native wildlife.

In Malaysia, Exterra has provided its services in association with Universiti Malaysia Terengganu’s Sea Turtle Research Unit (SEATRU) to protect the timber buildings at the isolated research station at Chagar Hutang on Pulau Redang, which were being destroyed by termites. This led to Ensystex becoming involved in not only protecting the timber buildings at Chagar Hutang from decimation by termites, but also in developing programs for the protection of the turtles from rats, monitor lizards and fire ants.

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