Professor Tuan Ngo makes the keynote presentation at the October 2018 Colloquium in Construction Management

The Centre for Smart Modern Construction’s October colloquium was pleased to host University of Melbourne’s Research Director Professor Tuan Ngo to present an overview of his work at the CRC-Ps for innovative Prefabricated Building Systems and Advanced Manufacturing of Prefabricated Housing.

Prof Tuan Ngo (opens in a new window) is the Director of the Advanced Protective Technologies for Engineering Structures (APTES) Group at the University of Melbourne. He is also the Research Director of the ARC Centre for Advanced Manufacturing of Prefabricated Housing (opens in a new window) and Leader of the CRC-P for Innovative Prefabricated Building Systems and the CRC-P for Advanced Manufacturing of High-Performance Building Fa├žade Systems. The APTES Group led by Prof Ngo is recognised as one of the leading centres in advanced materials & structural systems, and physical infrastructure protection in Australia and the Asia Pacific region.

Prof Ngo is also the winner of the 2013 Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia. He received the Safeguarding Australia Award for Best Contribution to National Security Technology Research in 2011. He also received the Award for Excellence in Concrete by the Concrete Institute of Australia-Vic Branch in 2017 and the University of Melbourne Excellence Award for Industry-engaged Research.

Tuan was welcomed by the Centre’s Director Professor Srinath Perera who provided a brief overview of the c4SMC initiative and the progress the Centre had made in advancing new research projects and industry engagement over 2018. He also briefly introduced the key research projects of the Centre that are driving new pathways to smart and modern construction. Deputy Dean of the School of Computing, Engineering and Mathematics and Professor of Built Environment and Urban Transformation Kerry London provided an overview of the School, other Centres at the university and highlighted some of the innovative research projects being undertaken.

Professor London spoke to the developments occurring in the area of new hybrid research funding models and academic-industry partnerships. Her presentation addressed the growing interconnectivity of things and their intersection with the modern university imperative to develop new research funding models like c4SMC to help lift the industry’s low level of investment in its future knowledge and capabilities. Kerry pointed to the Professor Vivian Tam’s work in carbon abatement technologies and her collaboration through her EcoBond (opens in a new window) enterprise and academic venture capital specialist Innovyz (opens in a new window).

Professor London also shared an overview of new Construction Management Director of academic programs Dr Yingbin Feng’s work in new industry models for developing resilient safety systems for construction enterprises and projects. She also spoke to the collaborative project that they are working on robotics in construction with the University of NSW.

Tuan’s visit was timely for many reasons. He recently presented at the PrefabAUS (opens in a new window) conference in Brisbane having earlier this year attended PrefabNZ’s CoLab (opens in a new window) and joined the PrefabAUS North America study tour or Off-Site Construction Manufacturing businesses, technology companies and projects. Tuan was able to share the insights he gained during these industry engagements where he is a respected contributor and fossicker for new innovations which he is able to bring back to local industry and his university. Tuan is a benchmark for academic researchers looking to engage with industry and through these collaborations to access new sources of funding for the projects he leads.

The ARC CAMP.H vision is to create a global research & training hub that enables rapid growth of the emerging prefab manufacturing industry to deliver affordable and high-quality buildings through innovation and streamlining of the supply-chain. The project involves $4 million from the Australian Research Council and matching funding from industry.

CAMP.H’s main objective is to help transform the Australian Construction Industry through developing;

  • New materials, systems, techniques, and processes
  • New financing and supply-chain models
  • Achieve a step-change in productivity
  • Realise significant cost reduction
  • Up-skill existing workforce
  • Develop high-value manufacturing capabilities

In many ways’ Professor Ngo’s work at the University of Melbourne is a great fit with the work the work of c4SMC at Western Sydney University. A collaboration focused on how the pieces and parts of construction will join up with UoM bringing the parts and WSU bringing the organisation and management piece is now on the agenda. Professor Perera has commenced these discussions with Tuan and be continued at the Centre’s Inter-University Academic Roundtable in November.

Two presentations were also made by the c4SMC's PhD candidates.

Amer Hijazi outlined his research which deals with developing a methodology for integrating Blockchain data with BIM for construction supply chains. Amer was awarded a full scholarship from the Centre. He holds a MSc in BIM from the University of the West of England in Bristol UK. Amer is amongst a high-quality field of candidates who have been awarded scholarships to take on the c4SMC research opportunities. The Centre believes that the new research areas supported by industry and the university will be the incubator for new modern construction related knowledge that will be able to form part of a modern academic program. Amer’s research project is supervised by Professor Srinath Perera, Dr Ali Alashwal and Dr Rodrigo Calheiros.

Buddhini Ginigaddara is another of the Centre’s new PhD candidates. She is a Quantity Surveyor who holds first class honours from the University of Moratuwa, Sri Lanka. Buddhini has several years construction industry experience before joining c4SMC as a doctoral candidate. Her research project will develop a construction skill profile for different mixes of On-Site and Off-Site Construction. This work will provide important insights into how the transformation of the modern construction industry will call for new professional and technical skills. Her supervisors for the research are Professor Srinath Perera, Dr Yingbin Feng and Dr Payam Rahnamayiezekavat.

The Centre is attracting some impressive academics to visit and share their work, and to forge new collaborations. The value of developing deep inter-university and industry engagements was the clear message from the Centre’s October colloquium.  The Centre’s work in the new areas of investigation that are now being showcased is gaining wide industry acknowledgement.

Written by:
David Chandler OAM
Adjunct Professor at Western Sydney University
21 October 2018