Off-site Construction Research Centre

UNB OCRC Innovator: Jose Daniel Cuellar Lobo unveils the extraordinary journey of a research adventurer in off-site construction

Author: OCRC

Posted on May 26, 2023

Category: Student spotlight

Calling all adventurers and seekers of the extraordinary! Prepare to embark on an awe-inspiring expedition that will transport you to the very frontiers of innovation and discovery. We indulge in a conversation with Jose Daniel Cuellar Lobo, a past student researcher at the OCRC and a research and data analyst at the City of Edmonton, to talk about his journey in off-site construction.

What brought you to UNB?

It all began with a serendipitous encounter, a chance conversation with a colleague at the University of Alberta. As fate would have it, they introduced me to the recently funded Off-Site Construction Research Centre (OCRC) at UNB. The goals and vision of the OCRC perfectly aligned with my research interests, serving as the catalyst that propelled me to embark on this thrilling journey at UNB.

Exploring the ground-breaking research

I developed a game-changing BIM-based Generative Design Algorithm in Python, integrating the powers of object-oriented programming, optimization and simulation techniques. This algorithm revolutionizes cost-efficiency and planning in construction projects' design and planning stages. Additionally, it incorporates a decision-making support module that evaluates multiple design alternatives based on management criteria. These efforts resulted in the research paper Building Information Modelling (BIM-) Based Generative Design for Drywall Installation Planning in Prefabricated Construction, published in the prestigious Journal of Advances in Civil Engineering.

Unearthing the passion for off-site construction

It's a fascinating tale of the convergence of two passions: data analytics and construction project optimization and automation. The boundless potential for development in the off-site construction industry captured my imagination. As a result, my research focused on enhancing economic and environmental sustainability within the off-site construction domain, fueling a journey of discovery and innovation.

The future of off-site construction: opportunities and barriers

The future of off-site construction holds immense opportunities waiting to be seized. Automation, optimization, and data utilization offer the key to enhancing processes across all stages of the construction lifecycle. However, challenges must be acknowledged. Foundational data gaps arising from the diverse nature of construction projects pose a significant barrier. Overcoming these challenges necessitates improvements in data governance, management, and maturity, paving the way for advanced applications like Machine Learning and Deep Learning. The future promises a captivating fusion of possibilities and hurdles.

The graduate student experience: challenges and highlights

Embarking on a graduate student journey is a challenge in itself, but I faced it head-on as a newcomer immigrant. Fortunately, I found support within the OCRC, where kindness, intellect and collaboration thrived. Moreover, the invaluable guidance and mentorship of Dr. Zhen Lei, my supervisor, played a pivotal role in my personal and professional development. My journey was adorned with unforgettable highlights, serving as milestones along the path of growth.

From research experience to a career in construction

My involvement with the OCRC provided a gateway to the industry, allowing them to establish crucial connections. This, in turn, led to a research internship with the city of Edmonton, focusing on the development of ground-breaking Machine Learning solutions to enhance operational performance in critical areas of construction licenses. Eventually, this incredible experience opened doors to a full-time position as a Research and Data Analyst with the city, where I am on the road to continue to shape the future of the construction landscape.

Advice for new graduate students: a journey of excellence

A treasure trove of wisdom awaits new graduate students. I urge you to embark on a relentless pursuit of learning and excellence. Average is not enough; you must strive for greatness. This dedicated path of continuous growth and development will undoubtedly pave the way for a prosperous and fulfilling career, nurturing your personal and professional aspirations.

Career aspirations: a passion for data analytics and AI

The flame of passion burns bright within my heart. I’m deeply committed to data analytics and AI and that fuels my career aspirations. Embracing a lifelong journey of continuous learning, I envision a future at the forefront of these captivating fields.

Inspiring the next generation: advice for high school students

For high school students with a yearning for a career in construction, I ask you to follow your passion. While the field of construction can undoubtedly offer financial rewards, true fulfillment lies in pursuing a path aligned with personal interests and passions. By embracing your true calling, aspiring individuals can embark on a lifelong journey of satisfaction and joy, paving the way for a remarkable career.