The principal focus of the Chair is to industrialize the construction process through collaborative research. Groundbreaking research is currently being conducted with regards to lean principles, BIM technology, CO2 quantification, urban engineering, and the built environment.
The IRC is involved in a broad range of projects, ranging from crane optimization on industrial sites to carbon footprint quantification. Some of the prominent research themes underway are outlined below.
Equipment Utilization and Construction Planning
IRC research as proffered a number of contributions to construction automation as it is applied to equipment selection and planning for heavy industrial construction projects. Among these contributions is the development of crane selection optimization algorithms; these algorithms integrate 3D CAD models with a crane database populated with over one millions records of crane-lifting configurations for over 100 types of mobile cranes. IRC research in the area of crane utilization has led to a number of innovations to minimize the cost and footprint associated with crane operations on industrial sites. Other developments include an automated system for mobile crane support-system design, and tools and algorithms for automated crane motion planning and animation.,
Intelligent BIM-Based Design
Architecturally complex projects require advanced tools. Due to the inherent complexities of innovative structures, 3D modelling and animation can be used to experiment with the construction process on a computer screen in order to prevent potentially costly on-site errors. In this regard, the IRC serves as a hub for research and education on building information modelling (BIM), uniting industry and academia to overcome obstacles that hinder innovation in construction processes. Applications include automated deign and drafting, as well as material waste minimization.
CO2 Quantification and Reduction
Within the construction industry, CO2 emissions and material waste are concerns that are not easily quantifiable. The IRC aims to quantify carbon emissions during the prefabrication and site assembly processes. The ability to reference statistical data with regards to carbon emissions allows researchers to pinpoint areas within the construction process where carbon emissions can be mitigated through innovative technologies and process improvement.
Sustainable urban development, with ready access to amenities and infrastructure, results in a higher quality of life for all citizens. The IRC conducts research investigating infrastructure planning, policies, and community design in order to enhance quality of life and sustainability. This involves interrogating municipal bylaws, exploring potential efficiencies in the design, delivery, and maintenance of infrastructure, and researching policy changes that could reduce costs while enhancing safety.
Ergonomics, Safety, and the Built Environment
IRC research in the area of ergonomic risk assessment looks at evaluating the degree of ergonomic hazard posed by residential construction tasks. This research considers ergonomic risks in terms of worker health and safety in manufacturing facilities and on construction sites, construction productivity, and cost, advancing with the hypothesis that careful design of construction tasks can improve productivity. Complementary research initiatives are investigating safety of occupied buildings with respect to indoor air quality, as well as evidence-based elderly-friendly architectural design, exploring innovative designs that allow elderly persons to age at home with reduced safety hazards.