NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Strategic Construction Modeling and Delivery

Research

In Canada, the construction industry is critical to the national economy. Alberta's construction industry is particularly important, as the province is projected to have the second highest investment in non-residential construction in Canada from 2012 to 2020 (Construction Sector Council 2012). However, economic uncertainty, lower than expected productivity, high project costs and schedule growth, a skilled labour shortage, and pressure from international competitors threaten future investment in this area--particularly in Alberta's oil sands, which are expecting a price-adjusted $364 billion CAD of investment between 2012 and 2035 (Burt et al. 2012). Because of the crucial contributions of the Albertan construction industry toward the Canadian construction industry and the Canadian economy as a whole, innovations serving the industry in this area have far reaching benefits.

Within this context, the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Strategic Construction Modeling and Delivery is working to deliver innovative tools and practices to help the Albertan construction industry enhance its competitive position through improved project performance.

Developing Practical Solutions for Industry

Under the leadership of Chairholder Dr. Aminah Robinson Fayek, our team is developing hybrid decision support systems that incorporate fuzzy logic with other modeling techniques such as artificial neural networks, genetic algorithms, and simulation. This approach allows us to translate ambiguous, linguistically expressed knowledge gathered from industry experts into numeric forms from which definite conclusions can be drawn. Our research has significant potential to change the ways in which the construction industry models operations and decisions: it provides a more accurate and realistic representation of the human reasoning process, resulting in improved methods for the planning, structuring, forecasting, control, and evaluation of construction projects. The systems, practices, and tools we create support construction industry professionals by enabling them to better address issues such as labour productivity, workforce management, project management, and contractor prequalification for surety bonding.

Industry Partners

The Industrial Research Chair in Strategic Construction Modeling and Delivery strives to meet the needs of partner organizations with specialized solutions designed for individual parties, as well as joint collaborative projects involving multiple partners. We are proud to count construction owners, owner associations, contractors, contractor associations, labour associations, and labour unions as our industry partners. Read more about how we collaborate with them.

Research Themes

To achieve our primary research goal and address the needs of our industry partners, our research program focuses on the following themes:

  1. Developing fuzzy hybrid techniques for construction modeling and decision support
  2. Developing advanced fuzzy simulation techniques for improved construction analysis and project delivery
  3. Modeling of complex decisions in construction management and development of construction industry best practices

We invite you to learn more about the people, projects, and publications of our research program.


References

Burt, M., Crawford, T. A. and Arcand, A. (2012). "Fuel for Thought: The Economic Benefits of Oil Sands Investment for Canada's Regions", Ottawa: The Conference Board of Canada.

Construction Sector Council (2012). "Total Non-Residential Investment (Excluding Maintenence) for Canada and Provinces, 2012-2020", Construction Forecasts. Online database. Available HTTP: http://www.constructionforecasts.ca/ (20 December 2012).