Qian Chen

(She, Her, Hers)

Assistant Professor

Civil, School of Engineering
Office: EME3281
Phone: 250.807.8629
Email: qian.chen@ubc.ca

Graduate student supervisor

Research Summary

• Construction Automation
• Building Information Modeling
• Supply Chain Integration
• Data Analytics
• Circular Economy

Student opportunities:
Dr. Chen is looking to recruit MSc and PhD students in the field of digital construction engineering and construction circular economy. Interested candidates can email Dr. Chen, providing their motivation letter and CV.

Courses & Teaching

• ENGR 433 & ENGR 533 - Construction Engineering and Management
• ENGR 330 - Reliability and Risk Analysis for Civil Engineering
• ENGR 409 & APSC 509 - Construction Digitalization and Informatics


Qian Chen is an assistant professor in Civil Engineering at the School of Engineering at The University of British Columbia (Okanagan campus). She uses digital technologies, optimizing algorithms and project management methods to enable collaboration among stakeholders while accelerating the digital transformation of construction projects.

Dr. Chen completed her Doctor of Science degree in Civil, Environmental and Geomatic Engineering from ETH Zurich in Switzerland. Her previous research was focused on a systematic approach to enabling digital supply chain coordination in construction projects when utilizing lean production methods, BIM techniques and optimization algorithms. Her research outputs have brought to the industry additional insights about the BIM-based digital information and material flows among designers, material suppliers, and contractors and encouraged them to standardize communication interfaces and speed up design-to-construction decision-making processes. Her academic journey has spanned many countries including the United Kingdom, Italy, China, Switzerland, South Korea and the United Arab Emirates. Prior to embarking on her graduate studies, Dr. Chen was a cost controller for Ernst and Young where she oversaw a construction cost estimation project for Shanghai’s Disney Park. Prior to joining UBC, Dr. Chen worked at the University of Cambridge supporting the UK Construction Productivity Taskforce in undertaking a construction performance measurement and benchmarking project.


Doctor of Science – ETH Zurich
Master of Science – Politecnico di Milano
Bachelor of Engineering – Harbin Institute of Technology

Selected Publications & Presentations


Selected Publications:

  1. Zumstein, M., Chen, Q., Adey, B. and Hall, D.M. (2022) A preliminary investigation of the potential benefits of using the ASTRA Bridge for short-span bridge deck refurbishment projects in Switzerland. Journal of Structure and Infrastructure Engineering.
  2. Chen, Q., Feng H. and Garcia de Soto, B. (2022) Revamping construction supply chain processes with circular economy strategies: A systematic literature review. Journal of Cleaner Production. Volume 335, Article No. 130240
  3. Ng, M., Chen, Q., Hall, D.M., Hackl, J. and Adey, B. (2022) Designing for digital fabrication: an empirical study of industry needs, perceived benefits and strategies for adoption. ASCE Journal of Management in Engineering. Volume 38, Issue 5
  4. Kedir, F.N., Chen, Q., Hall, D.M., Adey, B. and Boyd R. (2022) Formative scenario analysis of the factors influencing the adoption of industrialized construction in countries with high housing demand – the cases of Ethiopia, Kenya, and South Africa. Journal of Construction Management and Economics. Volume 40, Issue 9, page 690-710
  5. Zhao, J., Feng, H., Chen, Q. and Garcia de Soto, B. (2022) Developing a conceptual framework for the application of digital twin technologies to revamp building operation and maintenance processes. Journal of Building Engineering. Volume 49(15), Article No. 104028
  6. Meng, L., Yao, X., Chen, Q. and Han, C. (2022) Vulnerability cloud: A novel approach to assess the vulnerability of critical infrastructure systems. Journal of Concurrency And Computation: Practice And Experience. e7131
  7. Hall, D.M., Custovic, I., Sriram, R., and Chen, Q. (2022) Teaching automated construction scheduling: proposed curriculum design and analysis of student learning for the tri-Constraint method. Journal of Advanced Engineering Informatics. Volume 51, Article No. 101455
  8. Chen, Q., Garcia de Soto, B. and Adey, B.T. (2021). Supplier-contractor coordination approach to managing demand fluctuation of ready-mix concrete. Automation in Construction. Vol 121, Article No. 103423
  9. Chen, Q., Adey, B.T., Haas C.T. and Hall, D.M. (2021). Exploiting digitalization to improve the coordination of change requests in engineer-to-order materials flow management. Construction Innovation. 22(1), pp. 76-100
  10. Esfahani, M.E., Rausch C., Sharif, M.M., Chen, Q., Haas, C.T. and Adey, B.T. (2021). Quantitative investigation on the accuracy and precision of Scan-to-BIM under different modelling scenarios. Automation in Construction. Vol 126, Article No. 103686
  11. Chen, Q., Hall, D.M., Adey, B.T. and Haas, C.T. (2020). Identifying enablers for coordination across construction supply chain processes: a systematic literature review. Engineering Construction and Architectural Management, 28(4), pp. 1083-1113
  12. Chen, Q., Adey, B.T., Haas, C. and Hall, D.M. (2020). Using look-ahead plans to improve material flow processes on construction projects when using BIM and RFID technologies. Construction Innovation, 20(3), pp. 471–508
  13. Chen, Q., Garcia de Soto, B. and Adey, B.T. (2020). Transshipment approach to coordinate materials for a contractor’s project portfolio. International Journal of Construction Management. 22(16), 3065-3076
  14. Chen, Q., Garcia de Soto, B. and Adey, B.T. (2018). Construction automation: research areas, industry concerns and suggestions for advancement. Automation in Construction, 94, pp.22–38

Selected Grants & Awards

  • Hampton New Faculty Grant Award
  • UBC Collaborative Research Mobility Award
  • American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) Outstanding Reviewer Award

Professional Services/Affiliations/Committees

  • Certified Cost Technician (ID:00950), Council of Engineering and Scientific Specialty Board, AACE International
  • Academically Qualified Person (ID: 13783588), Construction Skills Certification Scheme, United Kingdom
  • Member of International Association on Automation and Robotics in Construction (IAARC)
  • Member of UBC Materials and Manufacturing Research Institute
  • Faculty member of UBC CREATE Program in Immersive Technologies
  • Program Committee Member of CONVR2022 (The 22nd International Conference on Construction Applications of Virtual Reality)
  • Track co-chair of ASCE CI & CRC Joint Conference 2024 (Track of Computer Applications, Information Modeling and Simulation)
  • Track Chair of 2023 ASCE International Conference on Computing in Civil Engineering (Track of Built Environment Construction, Operations, and Maintenance)
  • Reviewer for ASCE Journal of Construction Engineering and Management
  • Reviewer for Journal of Engineering Construction and Architectural Management
  • Reviewer for Canadian Society of Civil Engineering, CSCE 2022
  • Reviewer for International Symposium on Automation and Robotics in Construction
  • Reviewer for Journal of Automation in Construction
  • Reviewer for Journal of Developments in the Built Environment


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