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Off-site Construction Research Centre

About the OCRC

Establishment of the OCRC

The University of New Brunswick (UNB) Off-site Construction Research Centre (OCRC) and its academic lead, the OSCO Chair in Off-site Construction, were founded in 2019 through a visionary partnership between UNB and OSCO Construction Group (OSCO).

The OCRC, located at UNB’s Fredericton campus in the faculty of engineering, is interdisciplinary in focus. It identifies opportunities for collaboration across UNB's engineering departments as well as research within computer science, sociology, law, technology management and entrepreneurship and other fields on the Fredericton and Saint John campuses.

Our goal

The genesis of the OCRC occurred when UNB and OSCO began discussions focused on creating a research hub for off-site construction. The hub was intended to be industry-relevant and centered on innovation with the goal of transforming the industry from 'stick-built' traditional construction methods to off-site manufacturing (i.e., panelized, precast concrete, mass timber, volumetric modular construction). These discussions evolved to create the OCRC, which is governed by 12 industry leaders on an executive board representing stakeholders and construction supply chains across the country.

The executive board has helped form the OCRC’s:

  • Mission: Accelerating construction innovation through the improvement and adoption of off-site construction technologies and practices
  • Vision: To be the Canadian leader in off-site construction knowledge creation and mobilization
  • Values: (i) industry-relevance, (ii) collaboration, (iii) excellence, and (iv) integrity of the OCRC.

How we're achieving our mission

  • Research and development projects with individual industry partners.
  • An industry-wide research program bringing together stakeholders from the public and private sectors to help overcome barriers associated with off-site construction projects and realize the benefits of new construction methods.
  • Connecting industry leaders and creating a centre for innovation through events, webinars, case studies, peer reviewed papers, outreach and more.

The OCRC creates teams of undergraduate and graduate students, professors and industry professionals. This approach brings added value to all participants; students get exposure to real world problems while simultaneously providing industry partners with top-tier talent and potential recruitment opportunities.

Our accomplishments

Since its inception in 2019, the OCRC's quick growth has proven the need for industry-driven off-site construction research. The centre now supports over ten staff and participating faculty members and more than 20 researchers.

Beyond UNB, the OCRC has helped form a network of organizations from both industry and academia that all have the same goal in mind: to transform the construction industry. If the OCRC cannot directly help an organization in their innovation journey, they will facilitate and act as a broker to organizations and institutions with expertise tailored to a specific company needs.

OCRC projects

Looking ahead

The OCRC is focused on growth through industry partnerships. The centre will continue to help partners implement digital technology as new and emerging approaches enable industry to realize the potential of off-site construction and how those methods improve productivity, quality and safety of construction projects. The centre will also continue to focus on material, structural and building envelope testing that enables productization and the transformation to off-site construction.

Beyond research, a new education certificate will be available for existing students and current industry professionals looking to learn more about design for manufacturing and assembly, plant design and layout, and project planning and project management for off-site construction projects.

The OCRC has the opportunity to leverage programs and funding through NSERC, Mitacs, NBIF, NRC-IRAP and more. If you have an appetite for innovation, education and are looking for opportunities to partner with the OCRC, or email us at offsiteconstruction@unb.ca.