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Solutions for innovation and productivity improvements in the construction industry

May 17, 2017 - Source : NEWS

Polytechnique Montréal and the Pomerleau construction company inaugurate the Pomerleau Industrial Research Chair in Innovation and Construction Project Governance, led by professor Mario Bourgault of the Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering.

The construction industry is complex, and given the major projects currently in progress and others on the way, there is a pressing need to pursue innovation and improvements to management processes, with the ultimate goal of achieving greater performance and reducing delivery lead times.

Researchers at the Pomerleau Industrial Research Chair in Innovation and Construction Project Governance at Polytechnique Montréal, inaugurated today, will study solutions to drive innovation in this industry.

Fertile ground for research

Temporary multi-organization partnerships, hundreds of workers and firms on the job, one-of-a-kind projects, co-ordination of multidisciplinary teams, evolving implementation conditions, stringent safety requirements—the construction industry involves a broad range of risks and complexities.

“This key economic sector in Québec, Canada and around the world presents fertile ground for research, and we are very pleased with this partnership between Pomerleau and Polytechnique Montréal,” explained the holder of the chair, Mario Bourgault, a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal and a specialist in management of collaborative projects as well as innovation management.

“There is no comparing construction with, say, commodities production, where operations are often repetitive and conducted in a controlled environment,” he noted.

Tangible improvements for the industry

The research chair and its partner, Pomerleau, a major, innovation-driven construction company based in Québec, hope to find practical solutions applicable to the industry, which has maintained more or less the same operating methods in the past few decades.

“The commitment to innovation is among Pomerleau’s core values, and we are extremely proud of this partnership with Polytechnique Montréal, which gives us the opportunity to advance the industry as a whole through collaborations with the best available talent,” said Pierre Pomerleau, President and Chief Executive Officer of the family-run firm, which today has operations right across Canada.

“The work of this research chair will drive improvements to project management practices and, in turn help raise the profile of Québec and Canadian know-how in the field,” he added.

Indeed, innovation in the construction industry touches on more than materials, methods and equipment: improvements to mechanisms for management and co-ordination among multiple organizations, implementation of new technologies, etc., are equally vital aspects.

A win-win partnership

“This partnership between researchers and private enterprise will foster exchanges and transfers of knowledge between the academic and professional communities, with each enriching the other thanks to their complementary perspectives and resources,” says an enthusiastic Christophe Guy, Chief Executive Officer of Polytechnique.

The Pomerleau Industrial Research Chair in Innovation and Construction Project Governance is receiving substantial five-year funding from Pomerleau. Its team of researchers and students will develop high-level scientific knowledge in governance and project management applicable to the construction industry, while conducting international-calibre research, teaching and outreach activities.

Dignitaries present at the inauguration of the Pomerleau Industrial Research Chair in Innovation and Construction Project Governance at Polytechnique Montréal

From left to right: Diane de Champlain, outgoing President and Chief Executive Officer of Fondation de Polytechnique Montréal; Christophe Guy, Chief Executive Officer of Polytechnique Montréal; Mario Bourgault, Full Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering and holder of the Pomerleau Industrial Research Chair in Construction-Project Innovation and Governance at Polytechnique Montréal; Pierre Pomerleau, President and Chief Executive Officer at Pomerleau; Michèle Thibodeau-DeGuire, Principal and Chair of the Board of Directors of Polytechnique Montréal; Michel Gendreau, Full Professor and Chair of the Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal; François Bertrand, Chief Research, Innovation and International Affairs Officer at Polytechnique Montréal.

To learn more

Expertise profile of professor Mario Bourgault
Website of the Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal