Technical University of Berlin

Presentation Topic: Engineering the natural and built environment: From today’s knowledge into future visions

Professor for Systems Engineering at the Technical University of Berlin, Germany.


In his research and practical work, he explores new digital possibilities and methods to support and improve the design process of civil engineering systems. He believes that digital methods allow to deliver engineering designs significantly quicker and it much higher quality, but reaching this goal is only possible under consideration of both technical and social factors. Timo received his Ph.D. from Stanford University where he was a student at the Center for Integrated Facility Management. He also received a Diploma in Civil Engineering and his Masters of Computational Mechanics from the Technical University Munich. His work has been published for example in Advanced Engineering Informatics, Design Studies, Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, Building Research and Information, Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering and ITCON. Timo is co-editor in chief of Advanced Engineering Informatics, a journal focusing on exploring how advanced computational methods can help to formalize complex engineering knowledge. He is also an assistant speciality editor for the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management and deputy editor of Construction, Engineering. In his career, Timo has worked in a variety of different practical and research fields, including design management, Finite Element software development and energy simulation of buildings, and railway and road modelling. In particular, he, for example, worked with Arcadis, Autodesk, Parsons Brinckerhoff (USA), Turner Construction (USA), Max Boegl (Germany) and Zelan construction (Malaysia) on large construction projects such as the Fulton Street Transit Center project in New York City, the Sutter Medical Health Center in Sacramento, the Teluk Gong 720MW CCGT Panglima Power Plant in Malaysia, or the Doyle Drive Project in San Francisco.


To tackle the social and natural challenges around our built and natural environment we need to significantly change how we design and engineer projects. Considering pressing needs to adapt to demographic changes, population growth, and global warming, engineers will need to design much faster to a much higher quality. Digital methods and technologies can help, but to leverage their full potential two mind shifts are required: we need to change how we work with data and we need to restructure our design/engineering processes from providing ready solutions to exploring the generic structure of the design problem at hand. During the talk, I will discuss the required mind-shifts using examples from our ongoing research work. The presentation will close with my suggestion for a university curriculum for educating the built and natural environment engineers of the future that we implemented at the TU Berlin.


Prof. Young Hoon KWAK
George Washington University

Presentation Topic: Economics of Facility Standardization: Case Studies

Faculty member in the Department of Decision Sciences and director of International Center for Project Management at The George Washington University School of Business (GWSB) in Washington, D.C.


He is also a visiting professor at faculty of economics and business administration at Ghent University in Belgium. Dr. Kwak is Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Management in Engineering, Specialty Editor of the Case Studies section for the Journal of Construction Engineering and Management, and Department Editor of Project Management for IEEE Transactions on Engineering Management. Dr. Kwak’s primary research interests include project, program, and portfolio management. His sector interests are in engineering, construction, infrastructure, and built environment.
Young Hoon Kwak, Ph.D.
Department of Decision Sciences
The George Washington University
Washington, DC 20052
Tel) 202-994-7115
Fax) 202-994-2736


This CII research seeks to determine the potential of standardization by obtaining a better understanding of upstream, midstream, and mining (UMM) sector and determining the cost of added/strained capacity (from standardization), and identifying the fundamental tradeoffs with design standardization. Implementation of standardization techniques shows that performance levels met or exceeded for all performance metrics, including cost-effectiveness, agility, predictability, safety, and quality. Also, a standardization decision model is presented to assist the industry needs to learn when and how to analyze and justify standardization, and how to exploit its benefits to achieve higher levels of facility standardization in the UMM sector.


Prof. Carl HAAS
University of Waterloo

Presentation Topic: Construction and Deconstruction: moving the built environment toward a circular economy

Chair of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and a University Research Chair at the University of Waterloo, Canada.


His research, teaching and consulting are in the areas of construction engineering and management systems. He has received several research and teaching awards. He serves on a number of editorial boards and on professional committees for organizations such as ASCE, NSERC and IAARC. His research has been supported by numerous companies such as Aecon, PCL, Coreworx, SNC Lavalin, OPG, the Construction Industry Institute (CII) and their member companies, as well as agencies such as TxDOT, MTO, NSERC, NSF, and CRC. He is a member of the Canadian Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the ASCE. He was elected to the US National Academy of Construction in 2013. In 2014 he received the CSCE Walter Shanly Award for outstanding contributions to the development and practice of construction engineering in Canada. He received the ASCE Peurifoy Construction Research Award In 2015. In 2017, he received the University of Waterloo Award of Excellence in Graduate Supervision. In 2019, he received the ASCE Computing in Civil Engineering Award and the Canadian Society of Civil Engineers’ Alan Russell Award.


Moving toward a circular economy in the built environment is necessary for our sustained well being. Therefore, both construction and deconstruction must become more efficient. It is encouraging that the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that compound annual growth rates in productivity have exceeded 5% over the last decade in key construction sectors in the US, including industrial and multi-family residential. Advances in robotics, artificial intelligence, information technology automation and integration, new materials, management practices, and training probably contributed to this outcome. And, we can argue that they were in turn driven by fundamental research advances. I will present a few examples of how our community and our laboratory in particular are currently contributing to those advances and their implementation. Examples include research in construction automation, augmented reality, infrastructure computer vision, and biomechanical applications in the construction trades. However, as we move the built environment toward a circular economy, renovation, refurbishment, and adaptive reuse market activity is approaching new build activity in importance. These projects typically perform poorly, possibly due to poor definition and planning. Research opportunities will be identified for our community related to the circular economy. For illustration, the focus will be on our current adaptive re-use research, including selective disassembly.


Prof. SangHyun LEE
University of Michigan

Presentation Topic: Anthropocentric Construction Management

Professor and John Tishman Faculty Scholar at the University of Michigan, United States.


He leads the Dynamic Project Management Lab ( He received both his MSc and PhD from MIT, and his research interests center around anthropocentric construction and infrastructure management to achieve maximum performance from technologies like wearables, robotics, and automation for humans. He has assumed many leadership roles; he was Chair of ASCE Construction Research Council, Chair of ASCE Visualization, Information Modeling and Simulation Committee, and Board of Governor at ASCE Construction Institute among others. He has five editorialships in leading journals like the ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and Management and the ASCE Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering. He has received numerous awards such as the ASCE Daniel W. Halpin Award for Scholarship in Construction, the ASCE Thomas Fitch Rowland Prize, FIATECH’s Outstanding Early Career Researcher Award, CII’s Distinguished Professor Award, the CSCE Stephan G. Revay Award, the UM Henry Russel Award (the highest honor the University of Michigan bestows upon junior faculty), the Tom Waters Award. His research has earned nine best paper awards including the ASCE Journal of Computing in Civil Engineering best paper awards (twice: 2014 and 2018, respectively). He has over 200 peer-reviewed articles, 2 patents, 2 books and 1 start-up company.


Although the construction industry plays a vital role in our economy, it suffers from a high number of accidents, stagnant productivity, and pressing labor issues, including a shortage in skilled labor and an aging workforce. Recent advancements in technologies like automation, robotics, wearables, AI, etc., provides the construction industry with an unprecedented opportunity to address these concerns, but their application within construction is still at an early stage. In this talk, I propose anthropocentric (i.e., human-centric) construction management, an approach taken in the DPM lab that I direct, as a way to address the above issues. This talk introduces the needs and vision of anthropocentric construction management and how it has been realized for preventive jobsite safety and human robot collaboration where wearable biosensors, computer vision, robotics, signal processing and deep learning have been extensively applied, as exemplary projects. The lessons learned from these applications and future directions are also discussed.