Project Profiles | Off-site Construction Research Centre | UNB

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Off-site Construction Research Centre

Project profiles

 If you are interested in getting involved in one of the following initiatives or another research and development project, please contact the Off-site Construction Research Centre

Current projects

Productivity improvement in modular construction

Alantra Leasing (Alantra) is based out of Sussex, New Brunswick. Alantra has distribution and maintenance centres in New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Newfoundland and Labrador, Quebec and Ontario. The company was established in 1981, producing mobile trailers and modular buildings. Alantra has a diverse range of products, fulfilling industrial, commercial, and residential needs.

Project background

Alantra became connected with the Off-site Construction Research Centre (OCRC) with the initial goal of identifying and mitigating bottlenecks within the production process. This goal has since expanded to include more high-level process improvement initiatives, and the development of a design for a facility expansion and an analysis of how units will flow through this new design. The project is on-going, but thus far has involved time studies, process map development and investigation into possible future layouts and the incorporation of automation.

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Scaffolding management solutions

Hinton Scaffold Solutions is an organization that provides scaffold erection, dismantling and consulting service with a background deriving from Canada's largest major projects.

Project background

The overarching goal of this project was to streamline data collection within the organization and form a big data set between all their clients. This was achieved through the development of a digital platform for Hinton Scaffold Solutions to improve data collection, analytics, reporting and general management of their scaffold solution projects. The platform includes prototype developments such as a scaffolding management system application, a dashboard, a progress report single page application, Xalt tenant and a mobile restful react-node-express application.

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Case study analysis for modular hotel in New Brunswick

Iron Maple Constructors (Iron Maple) is a general contractor that was founded by four leaders in the construction industry who have over 100 years of combined experience. They have offices in both Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and operate with a mandate and objective to keep construction simple for their clients.

Project background

In September 2020, Iron Maple began on-site works for the construction of a new hotel in Florenceville-Bristol, New Brunswick. The project was of interest to the OCRC due to the fact that the first floor of the hotel was designed to be constructed on-site, while the second, third and fourth floors of the hotel utilized off-site manufactured room modules from Sussex, New Brunswick. These room modules were to be transported and assembled at the project location. This construction project served as a case study analysis for modular hotel construction. The finalized scope of work undertaken for this project included i) reviewing the project design and construction documentation, ii) creation of a digital representation of the design (3D model) and construction processes (4D model), iii) capturing and documenting module related construction activities on-site through video and stills and iv) completing an analysis of module related construction activities.

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Review of 5D BIM technologies, ideas for workflow improvements and implementing cost estimation within an existing data structure

MacGregors Industrial Group (MacGregors) is a business serving several industrial and construction markets throughout North America. The modular building division at MacGregors, which uses a design-build project delivery method, meets market demand for customizable solutions for clients with varying degrees of prefabrication and system integration.

Project background

MacGregors approached the Off-site Construction Research Centre (OCRC) with an interest in collaborating on a research project focused on cost estimating and work improvement for their prefabrication projects. The OCRC prepared a report as a review of the preliminary work done with MacGregors on improving the modular divisions workflow and implementing new software into their cost estimating procedure.

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Literature review of concrete mix designs for cold climates

Nunafab is a corporation based out of Nunavut that provides 3D, precast concrete modules and element fabrication for residential applications.

Project background

The objective of this study was to determine the optimum type of concrete to produce prefabricated volumetric modules for affordable housing in Nunavut and across the Arctic. Specifically, the review is focused on the performance of concrete in very cold climates (down to -65°C) and the application of concrete technology to reduce the weight of the modules (by increasing the strength- to-weight ratio of the concrete) to aid in transportation and construction. Two specific technologies were examined: the use of ultra-high-performance concrete (UHPC) and lightweight aggregate concrete (LWAC).

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Work improvement for steel fabrication using dynamic value stream mapping

Ocean Steel & Construction Ltd (OSCo) is the leading steel fabrication company in Atlantic Canada. OSCo fabricates and erects structural steel for all industrial, commercial educational, institutional and residential construction sectors. Projects up to 18,000 tons in size have been successfully completed. The company also fabricates and erects highway and railway bridges on land or over water in accordance with rigid standards used by various highway and railway administrations. The company has two plants in New Brunswick, one in Saint John and one in Fredericton.

Project background

In a collaboration between the Off-site Construction Research Centre (OCRC) and OSCo, a project was initiated at the Saint John plant to identify inefficiencies in the steel fabrication process and recommend work improvements by using dynamic value stream mapping (DVSM). The project objectives include integrating a productivity data collection system (PDCS) using scanners and barcodes, developing new productivity and work amount measures via regression analysis, simulating fabrication processes via dynamic discrete models and concluding with lean-based recommendations, according to the DVSM.

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An automated mobile crane selection system for heavy industrial projects

PCL Industrial Management (PCL) is one of the leading construction companies that have implemented off-site construction methodology to improve the productivity and efficiency of their projects. These improvements include shorter project timelines, reduced costs, and improved workplace safety. Over the past decade, PCL has developed an integrated system to cope with the challenges of heavy mobile crane planning in industrial constructions, such as selecting the location of the cranes, path planning for mobile cranes, and sequence of lifting the modules that are part of the off-site construction method.

Project background

An application was developed in collaboration between the Off-site Construction Research Centre (OCRC) and PCL to automate the crane election process. This application includes two different methods, heuristic and artificial neural network. Both methods can work individually for crane selection, and the heuristic method can be used to generate training dataset for the neural network model.

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