Professor-Researcher in the Construction Engineering Department at ÉTS
Ivanka Iordanova, committed to “building on BIM”Monday, February 17, 2020
Ivanka Iordanova has long had a passion for innovation in the built environment. She earned her degree in Architecture from UACEG in Sofia, Bulgaria, before discovering the world of digital architecture and integrated design while pursuing her Master’s and Ph.D. at Université de Montréal, where she worked with the CAD Research Group (GRCAO). Her transition to GRIDD at ÉTS within the context of post-doctoral studies with Daniel Forgues was a determining factor in her interests turning toward the construction industry.
Having recently joined ÉTS as a Professor-Researcher in the Construction Engineering Department, Ivanka Iordanova is of the opinion that the construction industry is currently experience a period of acute transformation, driven by the “digitization” that is overturning business models and organizational cultures all along the supply chain. “The contractual framework and construction standards must be updated in order to allow for and facilitate a more collaborative approach, which will lead to increased productivity, higher quality and improved safety within the industry”, she explains.
Incorporating a culture of technological innovation at Pomerleau
Professor Iordanova wants to contribute to the training of future construction professionals through the application of her expertise in business innovation. It is worth noting that she spent the last seven years at Pomerleau, where she was responsible for creating a BIM team, which then became the Innovation team, comprising 40 individuals across Canada in 2019.
Entrusted with implementing BIM-VDC (Building Information Modeling – Virtual Design and Construction) at Pomerleau, she enthusiastically tackled the challenge of instituting this process of profound change. She proudly declares: “Today, BIM and VDC are a reality at Pomerleau. The culture of technological innovation has been equally effective on construction sites and in the estimation and project management departments, and even among the company’s partners.” Under her leadership in the area of innovation, Pomerleau has been mandated to oversee numerous innovative projects involving BIM, and was the first construction firm in Canada to be certified by CanBIM.
In addition to her responsibilities with the Innovation team at Pomerleau, Ivanka also acted as the industrial scientific liaison for the Industrial Research Chair at ÉTS, which is led by Professor Daniel Forgues, and for the Pomerleau Chair at Polytechnique Montréal. Now, as a Professor herself, she is co-holder (with Daniel Forgues) of the Industrial Research Chair on the Integration of Digital Technologies in Construction. This is a unique research chair in Canada, and in the world, in that, in conjunction with its 11 industrial partners, it represents the entire supply chain.
Expert in BIM-VDC and Lean practices
Ivanka Iordanova is involved with a number of BIM think tanks in Québec and Canada, and has been a member of the Board of Directors at CanBIM since 2018. She co-authored the Canadian Practice Manual for BIM, published by BuildingSmart Canada, and has been invited to speak at many conferences in this field, including as the Keynote Speaker on innovation at the CCA conference in Banff in 2018.
“Building on BIM”
Professor Iordanova plans to continue the revolution in the construction industry, which is often described as excessively traditional, through the application of new collaborative methods and technological innovations. She explains: “The technologies of Industry 4.0 and applications in artificial intelligence create a strong potential for automation, assisted decision-making and other optimizations related to the design, construction and operation of buildings and infrastructure assets.”
Robotization, digital manufacturing, parametric (computational) architecture, off-site and modular manufacturing and industrialization are all subjects that Professor Iordanova is passionate about. She considers BIM to be a jumping-off point, a “facilitator that opens the door to the true potential for the industrialization of construction and improving the quality of our built environment, with a view to reducing material waste and usage, and ultimately, decreasing the ecological footprint of construction”.
Driven by a spirit of collaboration and the sharing of knowledge, Professor Iordanova is part of a vast network of researchers and technological innovation practitioners in the AECO industry in Québec and around the world, including Canada, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium and Australia. She is an active member of GRIDD (Research Group in Integration and Sustainable Development in Built Environment) and teaches two courses in the Short Graduate Program in BIM. She is also currently working with the other members of GRIDD to prepare courses for the new Specialized Graduate Studies (DESS) project involving “BIM and digital construction”.