NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Strategic Construction Modeling and Delivery

Research Themes and Application Areas

In our third term of the NSERC Industrial Research Chair in Strategic Construction Modeling and Delivery, we are building on the successes of the previous IRC term while focusing on the individual needs of our collaborating organizations. We continue to deliver innovative tools and practices to help the Albertan construction industry enhance its competitive position through improved project performance. In addition, we are undertaking joint collaborative projects with our partners to address industry-wide issues.

Under the leadership of our Chairholder, Dr. Aminah Robinson Fayek, we are integrating fuzzy logic with other advanced AI techniques, including machine learning, and/or with simulation methods. The resulting fuzzy hybrid techniques allow us to generate enhanced decision support tools and methods that will lead to improved predictability, efficiency, and performance on construction projects, thereby boosting the competitiveness of our partner organizations. Our program also produces highly qualified personnel for employment in the construction industry.

To achieve these objectives, our research program focuses on four major themes. Learn more about these research themes and their applications below.

  1. Advancing fuzzy hybrid techniques for construction modeling and decision support: We are committed to advancing our expertise in the areas of fuzzy hybrid modeling for construction in order to further establish ourselves as academic and industry leaders in these fields. Building on the work from the previous IRC term, we are focused on advancing current fuzzy hybrid techniques that capture unique characteristics of the construction environment for use in decision-making and modeling. We are applying these techniques to labour and project productivity prediction and improvement strategies, assessing organizational competencies and performance in construction, and advancing risk assessment and management techniques.

    Application: We are producing software-based models that can model crew dynamics to account for the impact of various factors, including motivation, on performance and to optimize the use of skilled labour. We are also developing a way to create generic (i.e., universal) models from existing context-specific models to address new contexts for which data are not available. In addition, we are improving risk assessment and management models to provide greater accuracy in contingency determination.

     

  2. Developing advanced fuzzy system dynamics techniques for improved construction project certainty and performance: In our research, we are combining fuzzy logic with system dynamics in order to enhance our ability to model construction systems that include subjective and uncertain elements. Fuzzy system dynamics techniques allow us to address topics related to productivity analysis and modeling, as well as risk analysis and mitigation, which are intended to lead to greater project certainty and performance.

    Application: We are developing an integrated fuzzy system dynamics modeling framework that will enable us to model full-scale construction applications that contain fuzzy, nonprobabilistic uncertainty and complex, dynamic system components, and which can be applied to both productivity and risk modeling and analysis.

     

  3. Developing advanced fuzzy agent-based modeling techniques for improved construction analysis and project delivery: Our research is combining fuzzy logic with agent-based modeling to enhance our ability to model interactions among components of a system and derive information regarding overall behaviour. These findings will allow us to address topics related to construction labour productivity, including crew motivation and behaviour, in order to improve project performance.

    Application: We are developing a fuzzy agent-based modeling framework that can effectively and accurately model social interactions and environments in the construction domain and capture the subjective uncertainty associated with human behaviour and decision-making. This framework will provide a means to model the behaviour of individuals in a complex system and derive the effect of their collective actions on the system as a whole.

     

  4. Developing construction industry best practices and implementing research products and tools that are of immediate interest to our partners: We are advancing the development and implementation of the research and software tools created in the previous IRC term. We are also focused on addressing topics of immediate interest to our partner organizations, such as the creation of a framework to assess the costs and benefits of Advanced Work Packaging. Furthermore, we are applying our research to the development of best practices that will increase productivity and improve overall performance in the construction industry.

    Application: In collaboration with our industry partners, we are addressing industry-wide issues by developing and implementing best practices and new tools and techniques that will enhance the competitiveness of the Albertan construction industry.