Erik Poirier, Construction Engineering Professor
A Professor with a far-reaching vision!Monday, May 25, 2020
You can’t miss Erik Poirier if you come across him in a corridor. The former defensive end for the Université Laval Rouge & Or stands 6’7’’, or exactly 2 metres tall!
However, it’s not his height that gives this Professor in the Construction Engineering Department such outstanding vision. He is among the very first researchers to have contributed to the development of expertise in the area of building and infrastructure modeling by combining innovative approaches to project management with new information technologies.
Erik Poirier joined ÉTS in January 2020, and is currently developing a research plan and the course that he will be teaching in the Fall as part of the new Specialized Graduate Program (DESS) in Construction Engineering focusing on BIM (Building Information Modeling) and digital construction.
From architecture to project management
Erik Poirier’s major passions include football, which he started playing when he was 12 years old, and the built environment. When he got to the university level, he decided on undergraduate studies in Architecture at Université Laval, knowing that he wanted to contribute to the development of cities.
In his opinion: “Architecture depends on a holistic approach involving the integration of ecosystems, taking into consideration interactions between humans and buildings, along with the associated social aspects, in order to create better cities.”
After completing his undergraduate studies in 2006, he took part in an international exchange program that sent him to Europe, where his view of architecture came into sharper focus.
Upon returning to Québec, he moved to Montréal to gain experience on the labour market. “It was a time when the shift toward digital design of buildings and infrastructure was beginning to accelerate. I was able to integrate a BIM approach into the architecture firm that hired me”, he recalls.
During his first two years, he came to the realization that he really enjoyed managing projects. That was when he decided to enrol at ÉTS to pursue a Master’s degree in Construction Engineering.
Erik continues: “I chose ÉTS because it was the only university engineering institute that offered a program that combined project management with new technologies, and because the flexibility of the program allowed me to continue to work while pursuing my Master’s.”
After earning his degree, he went to New Zealand and Australia to work, and returned to Canada in 2011, settling in British Columbia.
A tireless worker who was determined to continue his academic research, Erik Poirier worked for an architectural firm, and at the same time, began his post-graduate Engineering studies at the University of British Columbia, where he also completed his post-doctoral internship.
He notes: “My research was carried out in co-direction between ÉTS and UBC. This allowed me to join GRIDD (Research Group in Integration and Sustainable Development in Built Environment), which was taken over by Professor Daniel Forgues in 2008.”
A Professor and Researcher dedicated to the digital transformation of the construction industry
Erik Poirier returned to Montréal with his small family three years ago. He is heavily involved in the advancement of research in the field of digital construction, and in providing guidance to companies with respect to this technological shift that is essential to sustainable development.
He is a volunteer member of the Leadership Team at buildingSMART Canada, a chapter of buildingSMART International, dedicated to ensuring the development of open standards and best practices in BIM in Canada. He is also Vice-President of Groupe BIM du Québec, an agency of the Ministère de the Économie et de l’ Innovation that is tasked with ensuring the digital transformation of the Québec construction industry, primarily through the Initiative québécoise pour la construction 4.0. In addition, he sits on a number of International Organization for Standardization (ISO) committees that develop standards governing management and the exchange of information in the built environment.
On the research front, Erik focuses on the execution of integrated projects and optimizing design, delivery and operational practices in the built environment. He specializes in managing the life cycles of built assets and on the standardization and integration of life-cycle information flows. He is also involved in a variety of projects at GRIDD, while acting as Co-Director with Daniel Forgues, who was instrumental in Erik Poirier becoming a Professor at ÉTS after convincing him to take the leap.
In his words: “I always enjoyed the research and academic component. I also enjoyed mentoring students when I was doing my post-doctoral studies at UBC, but I never thought I would become a Professor. After Daniel contacted me, I applied, and I got the job.”
Erik Poirier is especially proud and pleased to join ÉTS. “There is no other educational program in Québec that covers the subject of the digital transformation of the construction industry. This is a unique opportunity for me to contribute to the integration of information technology in project management and sustainable development!”