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Off-site Construction Research Centre


Meet the team

OSCO Research Chair in Off-site Construction and OCRC Scientific Director

Zhen Lei is an assistant professor in the department of civil engineering, the OSCO Research Chair in Off-site Construction and scientific director of the Off-site Construction Research Centre (OCRC) at the University of New Brunswick.

He received an M.Sc. and PhD in Construction Engineering and Management from the University of Alberta and then worked at PCL Industrial Management Inc. prior to joining the OCRC team at UNB.

Dr. Lei’s main research areas includes:

  • construction process simulation and optimization
  • Building Information Modeling (BIM) and emerging digital technologies
  • work process improvement in off-site construction

zhen.lei@unb.ca | LinkedIn | Publications

Director, Innovation and Operations

Brandon is the Director of Innovation and Operations at the University of New Brunswick Off-site Construction Research Centre. In his role, Brandon is responsible for engaging private and public sector organizations to build partnerships, attract investment to UNB, manage and operate the research centre, and support research projects through grant identification and managing key strategic projects and relationships.

Before joining UNB in 2019, Brandon worked in the public sector on capital projects, followed by a five-year position with WSP, where he was an infrastructure management consultant. In addition to his current role with UNB, Brandon sits as a Board Member and Secretary for Building Transformations (formerly CanBIM), an active member of the Off-site Construction working group at the International Council for Research and Innovation in Building and Construction (CIB), and a member of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineering (CSCE) Construction Division.

Brandon has been instrumental in growing the OCRC and creating an executive board of construction leaders from across the country. He is eager to collaborate and work with industry partners to grow the Off-site Construction Research Centre and to create innovative ideas that will transform the construction industry.

brandon.searle@unb.ca | LinkedIn

Project Manager

Nicole Odo

Nicole is a Project Manager at UNB Off-site Construction Research Centre. A Master of Science in Civil Engineering graduate from the University of New Brunswick, Nicole has been with the Centre as a researcher since 2020. Originally from Fredericton, NB, she completed her B.Sc.E in Civil Engineering at UNB and graduated in 2017.

After completing her bachelor’s degree, Nicole worked for J.D. Irving for 3 years in a variety of roles. She began her career with the Process Improvement team within the Woodlands division, where she earned her Lean Six Sigma Green Belt qualification and completed a variety of business development and improvement projects. She later transitioned to a company within the Construction & Equipment division, Gulf Operators Ltd., where she gained experience as a Quality Manager for the Safe Clean Drinking Water Project and later as a Junior Project Manager for civil construction projects. She then went on to join the Centre as a Researcher in 2020.

Nicole hopes to leverage past industry experience in managing the various projects she handles at OCRC. Nicole’s interests lie in the areas of process efficiency and improvement efforts to streamline construction engineering and management practices.

In her spare time, Nicole enjoys highland dancing, yoga, reading and travelling. She is an active volunteer within the highland community as the current President of ScotDance New Brunswick and chair of the ScotDance Canada Young Professionals Development committee.

nicole.odo@unb.ca | Linkedin

Project Coordinator

Erin Pollard-Feehan

Erin is a Project Coordinator with the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of New Brunswick. Originally from Charlottetown, PE, Erin received her Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Design Engineering from the University of Prince Edward Island in 2021.

While attending UPEI, Erin worked alongside various professors, and participated in the opening of an engineering-specific student success centre. After her degree, she completed an internship with the UPEI School of Climate Change and Adaptation, where she developed and deployed building assessments on senior public housing for the PEI Department of Social Development and Housing.

During her time with the Department of Civil Engineering, Erin will be coordinating the development of various curriculum and program initiatives. She will be working with the Off-site Construction Research Centre to develop a certificate program in advanced construction methods.

erin.feehan@unb.ca | Linkedin

Digital Research Engineer

Sadaf Montazeri

Sadaf is a Digital Research Engineer at the UNB Off-site Construction Research Centre. A Master of Science in Construction Engineering graduate from the École de technologie supérieure (ÉTS) in Montreal, Quebec. She completed her B.Sc. and her first M.Sc. in Architectural Engineering. In her role she is responsible for research and development of software solutions for various OCRC projects related to BIM, VDC, augmented and mixed reality, as well as making decisions about development, the research approach, areas of focus, and technical solutions for the team.

She's been working in the engineering field since 2014, and during that time, she's held different roles including Junior Project Manager and Architectural Designer in different residential and commercial buildings. She's also done Architectural Photography as part of her work.

Her master's thesis focuses on Design for Manufacturing and Assembly (DfMA) challenges in the construction industry. Sadaf aims to use her previous industry and academic experience to contribute effectively to various projects at OCRC.

Structural Research Engineer

Julia Holgate

Julia is a Structural Research Engineer at the University of New Brunswick’s (UNB's) Off-site Construction Research Centre (OCRC). In 2022, she graduated from UNB with a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering and is now completing her Master of Science in Civil Engineering. With a focus on structures and materials, she is passionate about the design of durable structures to mitigate the effects of harsh environmental conditions.

Her current work has been on studying the material and mechanical properties of Ultra-High-Performance Concrete (UHPC). Partnered with Nunafab, she has developed a UHPC mix that is aimed at solving the housing crisis in Nunavut. By optimizing a mix design and large-scale production process, the building components are lightweight, low maintenance and durable enough to withstand arctic climates.

Julia favours her time working in the lab and filling her gaps of knowledge. At the OCRC, she works on a variety of projects involving industry partners and is leading the establishment of UNB’s new Building Enclosure Lab.

julia.holgate@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Participating faculty members

Participating faculty member

Dr. Trevor Hanson

Dr. Trevor Hanson is an associate professor at the University of New Brunswick in the department of civil engineering, with a specialization in transportation. Dr. Hanson obtained his BScE, MScE and PhD from UNB.

His primary research focuses on planning and forecasting tools for age-friendly rural transportation planning, with an initial focus on volunteer transportation. Dr. Hanson’s research was inspired by the transportation challenges he observed while growing up in rural New Brunswick and his volunteer work within a community development group.

With the OCRC, Trevor Hanson is managing a research project that involves smart building sensors as part of a project originated on behalf of UNB by the Smart Campus Integration and Testing Lab at Ryerson University. Dr. Hanson is collaborating with OCRC researchers to help develop the use cases for UNB's data contribution to this project. This project was initiated by Dr. Monica Wachowicz, who continues to work with Dr. Hanson on the project.

thanson@unb.ca | LinkedIn

Participating faculty member

Dr. Alan Lloyd

Dr. Alan Lloyd is an assistant professor in the Department of Civil Engineering and a co-director of the University of New Brunswick Ballistics and Mechanics Testing lab. He has been working with the university in a variety of roles for over 5 years.

Dr. Lloyd received an MA. Sc. and PhD in structural engineering from the University of Ottawa, where his research focused on blast resistant structures. His research interests include ballistic and impact response of structures and materials, reinforced concrete structures, precast concrete structures, and fibre reinforced polymers (FRP) for retrofit of structures.


Mohsen Mohammadi

Dr. Mohsen Mohammadi is currently an associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Director of Marine Additive Manufacturing Centre of Excellence (MAMCE) at the University of New Brunswick. He received his PhD from the University of Western Ontario in London, Ontario. He then joined CanmetMATERIALS and the University of Waterloo as a Visiting Scientist and Postdoctoral Fellow, respectively. The main areas of research of Dr. Mohammadi are “Metal Additive Manufacturing” and “Hybrid Additive Manufacturing”.

Dr. Mohammadi has published more than 150 journal papers in the field and has recently been appointed as the Canada Research Chair in Marine Additive Manufacturing. Dr. Mohammadi also serves as the Associate Scientific Director of the Canadian Center for Electron Microscopy at McMaster University. Dr. Mohammadi is leading significant projects on metal additive manufacturing in collaboration with marine, defense, energy and aerospace sectors in Canada and around the globe. He is currently exploring the characteristics of 3D printed alloys in Arctic and Antarctic environments.

mmohamm2@unb.ca | LinkedIn

Participating faculty member

Dr. Jeff Rankin

Dr. Rankin is a professor and holds the M. Patrick Gillin Chair in Construction Engineering and Management in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of New Brunswick. Prior to joining UNB, Dr. Rankin was the Executive Director of the Construction Technology Centre Atlantic, an innovation broker for the region’s construction industry.

Dr. Rankin’s construction experience has included various project and construction management roles in many types of construction projects including high-rise buildings and larger infrastructure projects such as the Confederation Bridge. He received his PhD in Civil Engineering from the University of British Columbia. Dr. Rankin’s current research focuses on improving the performance of the construction industry through innovation: the appropriate adoption and implementation of advanced technologies and sustainable practices for the delivery of public infrastructure.

rankin@unb.ca | LinkedIn

Participating faculty member

Xiomara Sanchez-Castillo

Dr. Xiomara Sanchez-Castillo is an Assistant Professor and the D.C. Campbell Chair for Highway Construction and Pavement Research at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) and a registered Professional Engineer in the province of New Brunswick. She has been working in the field of pavement engineering for over 15 years. She received her doctoral degree in 2015 at the University of Waterloo.

Dr. Sanchez's main research interests are the use and performance of recycled materials for road construction. At UNB, she is developing a research program to study the effective use of waste and by-product materials in pavements. She has investigated the use of reclaimed asphalt pavement, recycled asphalt shingles, and recycled plastic. Additionally, she is currently researching asphalt modification and exploring the use of biomaterials to enhance the performance of bituminous materials.

A holder of MASc and BASc Civil Engineering from the University of Los Andes, Dr. Sanchez has been recognized with the Harrison McCain Foundation Young Scholars Award (2017). She is a member of the Canadian Society for Civil Engineers (CSCE), Academy of Pavement Science and Engineering (APSE) and Canadian Technical Asphalt Association (CTAA). Dr. Sanchez is also a board member of the New Brunswick Asphalt User-Producer Group (NBUPG).

Postdoctoral Fellow

Maryna Sukhanevych

Dr. Maryna Sukhanevych, a Postdoctoral Fellow at UNB, is a dedicated academic with extensive expertise in civil engineering and building materials. She holds an M.Sc. in Civil Engineering and has earned both a Ph.D. and a Doctor of Technical Science in Building Materials and Products from Kyiv National University of Construction and Architecture, Ukraine. With over 25 years of experience in both academia and scientific research, Dr. Sukhanevych has displayed a deep commitment to advancing these fields.

Throughout her academic journey, Dr. Sukhanevych has undertaken significant research, including her Ph.D. work in 1997, which focused on "Inorganic Bloating Materials Based on Alkaline Binder Systems." More recently, in 2020, she explored "Scientific Principles of Obtaining Waterproofing Mortars Based on Cement Compositions Modified with Carbon Nanoadditives" for her Doctor of Technical Sciences research. Her research primarily concentrates on scientific methods, quality analysis, and structural properties of building materials, with a specific emphasis on developing innovative building materials like dry mixes, coatings, and concretes with specialized features.

In addition to her research, Dr. Sukhanevych has an extensive background in teaching, with over 16 years of teaching experience at Kyiv National University of Construction and Architecture (KNUCA), Ukraine. She continues to educate students at KNUCA through online courses, covering topics such as technology of building composite materials, special-purpose products, and building materials and waste management. In 2022, she expanded her educational reach as a part-time professor at UNB, where she taught the course "Materials for Civil Engineers." Her current research at UNB explores additive manufacturing for building and infrastructure materials, with a particular focus on 3D printing technology using concrete for innovative construction projects. Her interdisciplinary work, combined with her extensive experience, makes Dr. Sukhanevych a valuable asset to the fields of civil engineering and building materials.

maryna.sukhanevych@unb.ca | LinkedIn

Participating faculty member

Dr. Lloyd McCara Waugh

Dr. Lloyd McCara Waugh is a professor in the Department of Civil Engineering at the University of New Brunswick (UNB). He began teaching at UNB in 1984 and was the civil engineering department chair from 1998-2003. Dr. Waugh received a B.Sc. Civil Engineering from UNB, and a M.Sc. and PhD in Construction Engineering and Management from Stanford University.

Dr. Waugh’s career in construction started in the late 1970’s as a laborer, then progressed as he became a job foreman, project manager and construction manager with a general contractor. Since then, he has been President of Swift Mechanical Contractors Ltd, President of AEC Innovations/FocalTrack Inc., and President of the Canadian Society of Civil Engineering, as well as an executive director and board member of the Construction Technology Centre Atlantic and board member of the New Brunswick Chapter of the Canadian Construction Research Board. He is currently a research and development advisor for Bradley Engineering. In addition to his construction industry and civil engineering experience, he has been a president and chief negotiator for the Association of University of New Brunswick Teachers.

Historically, Dr. Waugh’s research interest has been innovation in the architecture-engineering-construction industry; more recently, it has been high visual and spatial resolution virtual reality in the AEC industry.

waugh@unb.ca | LinkedIn


International research partners

Senior Lecture, Liverpool John Moores University

Volkan Ezcan

Dr Volkan Ezcan is a senior lecturer in construction management at the School of Civil Engineering and Built Environment, Liverpool John Moores University (LJMU). He is the offsite construction research lead and a member of the "Construction Skills and Knowledge Hub" and the "LJMU Exemplar Houses" management teams at LJMU. He is also the Scientific Officer of CIB W121 (Offsite Construction Working Commission).

Dr Ezcan received his PhD in Civil Engineering (Construction Management) from Istanbul Technical University. His construction industry experience is mainly based on management consulting, project management maturity assessment and expert witness roles. His research interest focuses on offsite construction (from a socio-technical systems perspective), organisational resilience and agility, maturity models, innovation-based change, and capacity building (individual, organisational and system levels).

Director, Unisearch UK Ltd.

Jack Goulding

Professor Jack Goulding is the director of an award-winning BIM consultancy service in the UK. He has successfully led several research and practice-based solutions - from new offsite platform delivery strategies, through to bespoke client-driven solutions.

This work includes: maturity modelling, process mapping, standards/frameworks, resilience stress testing, innovation strategies and Industry 5.0 execution plans. Jack is a Construction Manager by profession and currently works in both academia and practice. Research outputs have been reported in more than 220 refereed publications, roadmaps, reports and books.

He is also the joint Coordinator of CIB W121 (Offsite Construction), and has written and co-edited several books on Construction Innovation, Offsite Production and Manufacturing and Industry 4.0 Solutions.



Student Researcher | PhD Civil Engineering

Kamyab Aghajamali

Kamyab is a PhD student in construction engineering and management at the University of New Brunswick. He received his bachelor of science at Amirkabir University of Technology and his master of science at the University of Tehran.

Through his graduate studies, Kamyab worked in TECNOSA R&D Center in Tehran as a programming engineer. In September 2021, he joined the OCRC team as a student researcher.

Kamyab’s research interests include automation, simulation and optimization in construction, and the applications of Artificial Intelligence in construction.

kamyab.aghajamali@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Hannah Coldwell

Hannah is a researcher at the University of New Brunswick Off-site Construction Research Center. She is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Civil Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Zhen Lei and Dr. Jeff Rankin. Hannah’s research focuses on construction scheduling, risk management and Building Information Modelling (BIM) accuracy for an expansion project case study. She received her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from the University of New Brunswick.

Throughout her bachelor’s degree, Hannah has worked as a summer student for various companies, including Mathers Project Management Consulting Inc, Bridge Maintenance Branch at DTI and Michelin. In the last two years of Hannah’s bachelor’s degree, she was a part of the UNB Canadian Society for Civil Engineering student chapter - her first year as the National Conference representative and the second year as the Events Coordinator.

Hannah enjoys walking, listening to music and playing softball in her spare time.

hcoldwel@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Kate Cunnigham

Kate is a Reseracher at OCRC. Currently pursuing a master of science in civil engineering from UNB, Kate’s research focuses on testing a new connection developed for precast wall panels and is under the supervision of Dr. Alan Lloyd and Dr. Samira Rizaee. Kate graduated with her B.Sc.E in Civil Engineering from UNB in 2022.

Over the course of her bachelor’s degree, Kate worked for the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure for two summers, where she was part of the Bridge Maintenance Unit. She also worked for the OCRC as a research assistant, during which she was involved in a variety of projects.

A resident of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Kate’s other interests include figure skating, reading, and hiking. She also volunteers as an assistant coach for a local learn-to-skate program.

Benson Doak

Benson is currently in his fourth year at UNB working towards his Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering with plans to complete a Masters in structural engineering. He is currently undertaking research under the supervision of Dr. Alan Lloyd and Dr. Samira Rizaee in partnership with PLAEX Building Systems Inc. His research is focused on the material properties of an alternative concrete material with plastic as a replacement for cement.

Benson is originally from Miramichi, New Brunswick, and has worked in a variety of positions during summer terms throughout his degree. These have included construction work with Valley Structures Ltd., municipal engineering with the City of Miramichi, and research at UNB with the OCRC.

Outside of school, Benson enjoys working as Vice President of the UNB Canadian Society for Civil Engineering student chapter, as well as playing basketball and going to the gym.

Student Researcher | MScE Civil Engineering

Lucas Marshall

Lucas is currently pursuing a master of science in civil engineering at the University of New Brunswick under the supervision of Dr. Alan Lloyd and Dr. Zhen Lei. His research is being completed in partnership with Strescon Ltd., focusing on the bearing capacity of their precast hollow core slabs, as well as the production process.

Lucas is from Quispamsis, New Brunswick, and had moved to Fredericton in 2017 to pursue his B.Sc.E in Civil Engineering at UNB. Throughout his bachelor’s degree Lucas worked as a student in several summer internships. These included time with Dillon Consulting in Saint John, NB, a term with the Bell Mobility Structural and Maintenance team in Dorval, QC, and an eight-month term with the Off-site Construction Research Centre as an undergraduate research student in partnership with Ocean Steel.

In his free time, Lucas enjoys playing hockey, skiing, golfing, and mountain biking, as well as spending time working with the UNB Canadian Society for Civil Engineering student chapter.

lmarsha1@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Saeid Metvaei

Saeid embarked on his role as a researcher at the Off-site Construction Research Centre in September 2023. Simultaneously, he is pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.) in Construction Engineering and Management at the University of New Brunswick (UNB) under the esteemed guidance of Dr. Lei. Prior to joining UNB, Saeid earned a Master of Science from the University of Tehran, where he also gained three years of valuable research experience at the Tecnosa R&D Center, with a focus on innovative construction technologies.

Saeid possesses an insatiable curiosity for knowledge, particularly in the realm of emerging technologies and their applications to address challenges within the construction industry. He demonstrates expertise in Augmented and Virtual Realities, a profound understanding of Building Information Modeling (BIM), proficiency in various programming languages, and a deep passion for Robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI).

Beyond the academic arena, Saeid delights in savoring moments with a cup of coffee, immerses himself in the world of literature, and expresses his imagination through the art of Mobilegraphy.”

Student Researcher | PhD Civil Engineering

Sergiy Polyachenko

Sergiy is currently working on his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering at the University of New Brunswick under the supervision of an interdisciplinary advisory team of Dr. Jeff Rankin, Dr. Dhirendra Shukla, and Dr. Yuri Yevdokimov. In his research, Sergiy is focusing on the competition and innovation capabilities of the construction companies of the Atlantic Canada.

Before joining UNB, Sergiy studied Economics at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale and acquired his M.Sc. in Economics in 2011. After that, Sergiy worked as a junior research fellow at Higher School of Economics in Moscow focusing on problems of human capital accumulation, regional economics, and rural infrastructure.

Sergiy’s area of expertise includes quantitative research, data analytics, construction markets, and public procurement.

spolyach@unb.ca | LinkedIn

Research Programmer

Sanya Sahni

Sanya is pursuing her Master’s in Computer Science at the University of New Brunswick. In addition to her studies, she is also working as a Research Programmer under Dr. Zhen Lei at the UNB Off-site Construction Research Centre, where she uses her background in AI to solve problems in the Civil Engineering space.

Presently, Sanya is collaborating with Bird Construction to auto-generate 3D representations of a structure from its 2D floor plan image. In addition to her research responsibilities, Sanya coordinates with vendors and industry partners to ensure smooth and timely project operations.

Sanya has six years of experience as a Data Scientist for the pharmaceutical and healthcare industries. Her expertise lies in using Natural Language Processing and Computer Vision to build models on and generate insights from unstructured data.

Sanya is an avid reader and spends her off-hours huddled with her books and a warm cup of coffee.

sanya.sahni@unb.ca | LinkedIn

Student Researcher

Fariba Shoeleh

Fariba is a student researcher at UNB Off-site Construction Research Centre. Fariba is pursuing her PhD in Civil Engineering under the supervision of Dr. Zhen Lei and Dr. Jeff Rankin. Her research focuses on areas related to Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) in Off-site construction.

Fariba received her bachelor's degree in architectural engineering from Islamic Azad University in Shiraz, Iran, in 2009. She then went on to pursue her master's degree in construction management in 2013 and her PhD in construction management from the University of Tehran in 2019.

Fariba has worked as a construction project manager for nine years and has continued to work closely with different industries on a number of projects. She is interested in concepts gaining greater productivity and sustainability in the Architecture, Engineering and Construction (AEC) industry using novel approaches.

Fariba enjoys reading and listening to music in her spare time and always looks for opportunities to volunteer.

fariba.shoeleh@unb.ca | LinkedIn

Amir Hossein Shokouhy

Amir is a MScE student in Construction Engineering and Management at the Civil Engineering department of the University of New Brunswick. He is originally from Iran and holds a bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from the University of Tehran (2017), as well as a master's degree in Water Engineering and Hydraulic Structures from Sharif University of Technology (2019).

As part of his first master's degree program, Amir conducted experimental research on the durability of fly-ash-based Geopolymer concrete in various harsh environments. This research project enhanced his understanding of supplementary cementing materials and the durability of concrete.

Upon completion of his first master's degree program, Amir joined UNB in January 2020 and engaged in a collaborative industrial research project until August 2022. Through this project, he was able to deepen his knowledge of the durability concerns related to concrete structures and gained valuable hands-on experience working on the largest hydroelectric power plant in the Maritime provinces. The research focused on the structural health monitoring of the Mactaquac Dam's intake structure, which is affected by Alkali-silica reaction (ASR). As part of this project, he designed a real-time vibration data collection system and gathered data from this intake structure for almost two years. The data can be used for modal analysis and damage detection purposes on this massive structure in the future.

As of September 2022, Amir started a new research project at The Off-Site Construction Research Center (OCRC) as part of his MScE studies under the supervision of Dr. Jeff Rankin. His research aims to improve supply chain coordination between off-site manufacturing and on-site construction activities by capturing and analyzing on-site construction processes. Amir has been collecting and analyzing data since November 2022 from two separate case studies located in Fredericton and Saint John, which are constructed using wood panels and precast concrete hollow core panels, respectively. Both projects are carried out by Iron Maple Construction company.

A.H.Shokouhy@unb.ca | LinkedIn

Tahura Soleimani

Tahura Soleimani is a researcher at an off-site construction research centre with a strong academic background in civil and environmental engineering. She earned a minor in entrepreneurship from the Sharif University of Technology, Tehran, Iran, and a Bachelor of Science in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the Amirkabir University of Technology (AUT), Tehran, Iran, where she gained extensive knowledge of construction management and developed a passion for off-site construction management.

During her academic career, Tahura was involved in a thesis titled "Application of Nonlinear Analysis in Seismic Performance Assessment of Steel Structures" and research assistantships under the supervision of Professor Mehdi Banazadeh. She also received several awards and recognitions and was offered straight admission to the M.S. in Earthquake Engineering programme at Amirkabir University of Technology (AUT), ranking within the top 10% of bachelor’s students. Ranked among the top 1.3% of candidates in the Iranian University Entrance Exam known as "Konkour,"

After completing her studies, Tahura went on to work at IranMall (the world's largest mall by gross leasable space, with 1.4 million square metres in Tehran) as a project control engineer for four years.

Currently, Tahura is focused on off-site construction supply chain management. She is dedicated to advancing the field of off-site construction to solve the housing industry's supply shortage. She continues to stay engaged in academic research, collaborating with other experts in the field to push the boundaries of what is possible in off-site construction.

Overall, Tahura's strong academic background and experience make her a valuable member of the off-site construction research community, and she is committed to driving innovation and excellence in the industry.

tahura.soleimani@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Past researchers

Research Assistant

Aziz Alattas

Aziz is a recent graduate from UNB’s bachelor of science in civil engineering program. After completing the first two years of his degree at UNB Saint John, Aziz continued his studies in Fredericton to finish his final two years. While working on his undergraduate degree, Aziz worked at OSCO Construction Group’s Strescon Limited in Saint John, NB, then had a 4-month co-op with Aecon Foundations in Toronto, ON. During this co-op, Aziz was responsible for coordinating and inspecting on-site construction activities. Finally, Aziz completed an 8-month co-op with Stantec Consulting in Fredericton, NB where he worked on hydraulics and hydrology related projects. In this final co-op, Aziz expanded his CAD modeling skills as he worked extensively on software such as AutoCAD, Civil 3D and MicroStation.

Aziz’s interest in off-site construction began after taking a special studies course about Building Information Modeling (BIM) with Dr. Zhen Lei in his fourth year as a civil engineering student. Aziz’s current research work with the OCRC focuses on improving productivity of steel fabrication workstations by using data analytics and lean manufacturing techniques. Aziz has been very passionate about playing sports since he was young, especially soccer and volleyball. When he isn’t in school, researching, or playing sports, Aziz also enjoys reading books.

alattas@unb.ca | LinkedIn

Student Researcher | MScE Construction Engineering and Management

Shahrnaz is pursuing her MScE in Construction Engineering and Management at the University of New Brunswick under the supervision of Dr. Zhen Lei and Dr. Jeff Rankin and is part of the Off-site Construction Research Centre.

Her research revolves around building information modelling and the application of digital technologies, including construction digital twin and augmented reality in the construction industry. Prior to joining UNB, she worked at Jayne Construction Company, a general contractor company in Iran, for more than three years, where she served as a manager of the tender department and technical expert on wastewater treatment plant projects.

She completed her Master of Science in structural engineering at the Iran University of Science and Technology in 2015. In her thesis, she focused on the optimal design of reinforced concrete structures to minimize the cost and carbon dioxide emissions through different phases of a building life cycle using metaheuristic algorithms.

Shahrnaz’s research interests lie in the area of optimization to achieve a more economical and environmentally friendly way of construction. In her spare time, she enjoys cycling, travelling, pencil drawing and reading books.

Shahrnaz.ardalani@unb.ca | LinkedIn

Student Researcher | MScE

Ramtin Azami

Ramtin started his master’s degree at UNB in May 2020, working with the Off-site Construction Research Centre. He has a background in civil engineering specializing in geotechnical engineering. After graduating with a degree in geotechnical engineering in 2017, he started working as a site engineer to expand his knowledge, skills and experience, which triggered his interest in construction management. Following this, he elected to pursue a degree in construction management under Dr. Lei’s supervision. Ramtin is now part of Off-site Construction Research Centre and is working on his thesis focused on optimizing the use of robots in the construction industry.

His skills include soil mechanics testing such as direct shear, triaxial, and cyclic triaxial test; analyzing geotechnical structures using GeoStudio (geo-slope), PLAXIS, and Abaqus; structural design of different buildings using both ETABS and SAP2000 software; and coding in Python.

Ramtin enjoys meeting new people and hearing or learning new perspectives. Please reach out if you are interested in talking about robotics in the construction industry, managing projects, geotechnical engineering or movies.

ramtin.azami@unb.ca | LinkedIn

Research Assistant

Brandon Beasley

Brandon Beasley is a computer science graduate with a specialization degree in cybersecurity, and he is currently a research assistant with the OCRC. Prior to joining the OCRC, he worked as a full-stack developer for mechThat LLC; he was tasked with developing a secure web application designed to help law firms with case management. Brandon always likes to give a helping hand; with his free time, he has worked as a volunteer for several projects; one of those projects, he was the technical consultant for the 1000 donors Edmonton campaign, tasked with the development of the 1000 donor’s website and API used to track the current blood donation statistics. In his spare time, he enjoys road trips to explore Canada while sampling various cuisine.

His current research is focused on leading the designing and development of a secure application to automize data retrieval of projects. Brandon is also working on a second research project, where he is tasked to lead the design/building and prototyping of a secure application used to automize workflow.

bbeasley@unb.ca | LinkedIn

Zhuo Cheng

Zhuo Cheng completed her bachelor of science in timber structural engineering at the Nanjing Forestry University (NFU) and her master's degree in forestry engineering at the University of New Brunswick (UNB). During her bacherlor’s degree, Zhuo was the vice president in Student Union of Material Science and Engineering College, NFU. Her responsibilities were focused on marketing and publications including designing posters, managing, and running social media and organizing or participating in student events.

While completing her education, she became fond of BIM, construction management and digital engineering in the early stage of the building lifecycle. As a research assistant with the OCRC, Zhuo is focused on visualization design using 3D BIM, modelling software for architectural drawings and animation software (4D BIM). Zhuo’s projects to date have focused on creating architectural and project simulation drawings for a simulation where housing is manufactured in southern Canada and transported to northern Canada for assembly, erection and installation. In addition to her research projects, Zhuo is conducting research on the potential of implementing game engine software in the construction field.

Student Researcher | MScE Construction Engineering and Management

José Daniel is a Colombian engineer with a petroleum and business background. He is currently a Master of Science student in Construction Engineering and Management under the supervision of Dr. Zhen Lei and he is part of the Offsite Construction Research Centre. He completed a Bachelor of Science in Petroleum Engineering at Universidad Industrial de Santander (UIS) in 2014, followed by a degree in Business Management at Universidad de La Sabana in 2017. His research focus involves Data Analytics and Construction Project Optimization and Automation to increase economic and environmental sustainability in the Offsite Construction Industry. His professional experience includes working in the field, managing projects for companies in various industries and developing entrepreneurial projects.

José Daniel is particularly passionate about the application of Data Sciences and AI to enhance productivity in multiple fields. He loves to play and watch sports, most notably soccer, tennis and biking, and he also enjoys cooking, reading, movies and nature. Family and education are the strongest influence and inspiration for his life and career.

jcuellar@unb.ca | LinkedIn

Undergraduate Research Assistant

Jenna Eveleigh is an undergraduate research assistant with the OCRC. She is currently in her third year of civil engineering in pursuit of her bachelor’s degree at the University of New Brunswick (UNB). Her summer experience includes conducting quality assurance and control in a processing plant in the agriculture industry and working as a Capital Works Inspector for the City of Moncton (City) for a 4-month co-op term in summer 2021. While with City, Jenna acted as the project coordinator, inspector and liaison between the project engineer and contractors on site.

With the OCRC, Jenna will be focused on Lean construction and value stream mapping (VSM) of a steel fabrication plant. Her role will include statistical analysis, data collections and time studies, process mapping, and exploring the use of augmented reality (AR) in a fabrication environment.

Originally from Newfoundland, she enjoys skiing, soccer, volleyball, and playing the piano.

Research Assistant | Concurrent BCS/B.Sc. program

Yongde Hu

Yongde Hu is currently a student in the bachelor of computer science/bachelor of science concurrent degree program. At the end of this program, Yongde Hu will graduate with two degrees, a bachelor of computer science, as well as a bachelor of science with a major in physics.

With both physics and computer science as theoretical and practical background knowledge, Yongde takes particular interest in applying simulation and data/business analysis skill in Off-site construction, utilizing Industry 4.0.


Research Assistant | B.Sc. Computer Science

Jialiang (Rafael) Hua

Jialiang Hua is originally from Shanghai, China. In 2020, he completed his bachelor’s degree in Computer Science at the University of New Brunswick.

Jialiang worked with Dr. Zhen Lei to develop a System UI/UX workflow and design for Hinton Scaffolding. Jialiang helped to design and develop business intelligence dashboards, a mobile app prototype and data visualizations using Microsoft Power App and Azure SQL server.

Jialiang is always drawn to learning new technology and cool gadgets. His curiosity towards latest innovative technologies made him knowledgeable in the rapid evolutionary tech world we live in. Of course, he has to get his hands on the latest gadgets. Apart from coding and problem-solving with technology, he enjoys playing basketball and travelling with his friends.

jhua@unb.ca | LinkedIn

Dylan McKenna

Dylan McKenna is currently completing his Master of Science at the University of New Brunswick under the supervision of Dr. Zhen Lei. Before beginning his master’s, he earned a General Studies Diploma from Lethbridge College while playing college baseball. Following his studies at Lethbridge, Dylan earned an Engineering Diploma from the University of Prince Edward Island before transferring to UNB, where he completed his Bachelor of Science in Engineering, graduating in May 2020.

While completing his bachelor’s degree, Dylan spent two summers working for the City of Summerside as a student site inspector for municipal engineering projects. He spent last summer working as a carpenter’s apprentice for LEAD Structural Formwork Ltd. in Halifax. While attending UNB, Dylan completed two 4-month co-op terms: one as an intern with a geotechnical engineering firm in Stuttgart, Germany, and the other as an environmental engineering student with GEMTEC Ltd. at their Fredericton office. He enjoys golfing, skiing, and spending time with friends and family.

dylan.mckenna@unb.ca | LinkedIn

Nasim Rashidpour

Nasim is a research assistant at the Off-site Construction Research Centre. She is currently completing her Master's in Technology Management and Entrepreneurship with the department of mechanical engineering at UNB. Before joining UNB, Nasim was an architect and manager of the architecture department at the Qasr Paeezan Construction Company in Iran, where she had the opportunity to complete various residential and commercial building projects. She also worked with the Construction Engineering Organization as an architectural supervisor of building construction (IRCEO), where she was responsible for supervising building construction, drawing asbuilt plans, and confirming the building construction.

Nasim completed her Master's degree in architectural engineering in 2018. Her Master's thesis focused on designing public spaces for teenagers with disabilities, and she turned her research into a book called "Responsive Park to Teenagers with Physical Disabilities." She also wrote some papers which lie in the area of sustainable architecture and planning.

Elham.rashidpour@unb.ca | LinkedIn | ResearchGate

Mahsa Rezvani

Mahsa is currently enrolled in the master of construction engineering and management degree program at the University of New Brunswick. She completed a bachelor of science in civil engineering at the University of Mazandaran followed by a master of science in water resources planning and management at the University of Isfahan.

In 2015, Mahsa started her first work experience as an assistant site supervisor in a nine-story concrete-frame construction with ICF walls system located in Babolsar, Iran. This work experience sparked her curiosity for finding ways to solve existing construction issues and finding ways to leverage technology for more productive construction practices. She started her master studies in May 2021 at UNB off-site Construction Research Center. Under the supervision of Dr. Zhen Lei and Dr. Lloyd Waugh, she is focusing on exploring the technology potentials and applications of digital technologies including augmented and mixed reality in precast concrete production.

In her spare time, Mahsa enjoys running, listening to music and oil painting. She always looks forward to opportunities to join and get involved in voluntary activities and event organizations in the university community and the Graduate Student Association, as she was a member of the Civil Engineering Students Association in her third and fourth years of bachelor's studies.

mrezvani@unb.ca | LinkedIn

Qianyu Shen

Qianyu Shen is currently pursuing her bachelor's degree at the Hong Kong Polytechnic University and majoring in building engineering and management.

Qianyu has a keen interest in intelligence construction and modular integrated construction. Recognizing the importance of gaining practical experience and global views, Qianyu participated in attended the 2023 Mitacs Globlaink Internship program and worked for Dr. Zhen, where she focused on studying the maturity level of digital and automation technologies within the Canadian off-site construction industry.With OCRC and the guidance of Dr. Zhen, Qianyu had the opportunity to engage with local off-site construction companies, and gain valuable insights into the technology development within this market.

Research Assistant | B.Sc. Civil Engineering

Pritish Sookar

Pritish was born and raised in Mauritius. He completed his B.Sc. in Civil Engineering at the University of New Brunswick in 2021.

In 2019, Pritish worked as a design management intern for Flatiron Construction, a construction company based in Richmond, British Columbia. During his time at Flatiron Construction, he had the opportunity to work on the design and bidding phase of two Private-Public-Partnership (P3) projects, namely the Pattullo Bridge Replacement project and the Kicking Horse Phase 4 project.

Pritish has also worked as a Civil Engineering intern with the Department of Transportation, Government of New Brunswick and as a technical student with the Department of Transportation and Infrastructure Renewal, Government of Nova Scotia.

psookar@unb.ca | LinkedIn

Michael Thomas

Michael Thomas is a Professor at UNB’s Department of Civil Engineering. A holder Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Aston, Michael currently teaches Materials for Civil Engineering and Concrete technology classes at UNB.

Michael graduated from the University of Nottingham in 1982 after obtaining his B.Sc. Civil Engineering degree, after which he also went on to complete his PGCE Teaching Certificate in 1983.

His research interests include Durability of cement and concrete materials, alkali-silica reaction (ASR), alkali-carbonate reaction (ACR), chloride ingress and corrosion of steel, delayed ettringite formation, sulfate attack, use of portland limestone cement, pozzolans, slag and other industrial by-products; Repair of concrete, use of fibre-reinforced plastics, use of lithium for ASR control; and Service-life prediction and life cycle analysis of concrete structures (co-author of Life-365).

During his professional span of over two decades, Michael has been a member of the Cement and Concrete Research editorial board, along with being the Associate Editor for Canadian Journal for Civil Engineering. He has won many awards during his career, including American Concrete Institute Wason Medal in 2009 and 1996.

mdat@unb.ca | LinkedIn | Publications

Student Researcher | M.Eng. (part-time)

Nic Thompson, Master of Engineering (part-time) (MEng)

Nic Thompson is currently completing his Master of Engineering at the University of New Brunswick while working fulltime with FCC Construction, a general contracting company, part of OSCO Construction Group, based in Saint John, NB. Nic is completing his masters under the supervision of Dr. Zhen Lei with a focus on the implementation of a case study within FCC to assess the practical advantages of building information modeling. Before beginning his masters, he completed a Bachelor of Science in Engineering at UNB, graduating in May of 2019.

While completing his bachelor’s degree, Nic returned to his home town of Saint John, in the summers to work with the City of Saint John. With the city, he was responsible for collecting data to aid in the development of a 3D flow model of the city’s underground infrastructure. 

Before graduating, he also completed an eight-month co-op term with FCC Construction where he played a key role in the development and submittal of turnover documentation for a 220-million-dollar water treatment facility. In his free time, he enjoys playing and coaching lacrosse, and spending time with friends and family.

nic.thompson@unb.ca | LinkedIn

Student Researcher | MScE Civil Engineering

Alyssa van de Riet

Alyssa graduated with a B.Sc. Civil Engineering and is now pursuing an accelerated master’s in civil engineering. Alyssa comes from rural Nova Scotia and has developed an interest in off-site construction after working at Shaw Precast Solutions in Lantz, NS.

Alyssa’s first project with the OCRC was partnered with Alantra Leasing. This project focused on improving the productivity of their off-site operations. This project has inspired various projects since this time, including her undergraduate research thesis and her current master’s project.

avan4@unb.ca | LinkedIn


Yuxi graduated with a master of architecture degree from the University of California and is now pursuing master of science in civil engineering at the University of New Brunswick.

She developed her interest in off-site construction while taking a construction course, which included a semester-long site visit to a modular construction site in Oakland, California. Her current research work with the OCRC focuses on architectural design opportunities in an off-site construction environment.

y.w@unb.ca | LinkedIn