The Centre for the Effective Design of Structures – Faculty of Engineering
Two people wear hardhats at the centre for effective design of structures.

The Centre for the Effective Design of Structures

The Centre assists the industry in developing cost-effective products and construction processes through sponsored and collaborative research. In addition, it is a goal of the Centre to increase recognition of the value of effective design to include optimum design, including timeliness of completion of construction.

Visible impact

The initiative to establish the Centre for Effective Design of Structures has resulted in the following visible impacts:

  • A tenure-track University funded faculty position was created and filled by Dr. Samir Chidiac.
  • The Ontario Masonry Contractors’ Association donated $1 million to help endow the Martini, Mascarin, and George Chair in Masonry Design.
  • Joe Ng and JNE Consulting have donated $1 million to help endow the Joe Ng/JNE Consulting Chair in Design, Construction, and Management in Infrastructure Renewal.
  • Canadian Masonry Contractors’ Association has contributed $500,000, the Ontario Concrete Block Association has contributed $125,000, Sobotec Ltd. has contributed $100,000, the Canadian Plastics Industry Association has contributed $45,000, Atlas Block has contributed $80,000, and Brampton Brick has contributed $150,000 towards a $1 million endowment for a Chair in Effective Design of Structures.
  • Funding through the Centre created a new research technician position.
  • Funding through the Centre has supported 8 research engineer / post-doctoral fellow positions.
  • Funding through the Centre has provided financial support for 71 graduate students. For the past year, enrollment included 49 graduate students in structures.
  • Funding through the Centre has provided financial support for undergraduate summer research engineers each year, 25 students have been supported so far.

Research areas

McMaster will continue to serve the traditional structural research needs in concrete and steel construction and modern solid mechanics and structural analysis areas. In addition to serving identified needs of the 21st century, the Centre will focus on the following areas which help to differentiate McMaster University from other Canadian Universities:

This long standing area of strength and of extensive industrial collaboration is being expanded to provide leadership and a unique ability to assist the masonry industry. Targeted educational efforts and practical application of the results of research are progressing.

McMaster’s historical strength in this area, which was reduced through recent retirements, is being re-established. The increased importance of earthquake loading in design signifies the continuing importance of research and education in this area.

Canada’s built infrastructure is aging and has reached the point that repair or replacement is a growing requirement. Methods to investigate the condition of structures and to analyze current conditions and retrofitted conditions are required. This includes upgrade and / or repair of the building envelope. In addition, retrofit techniques need to be developed and refined for effective strengthening and development of effective resistance to seismic forces.

Construction is a very traditional area making it difficult for new materials to gain market acceptance. Plastics, fiber reinforcement, and new composites are examples of emerging new materials. In addition, some materials that have existed for some time have potential that has only been partially developed. Over the long term, this focus area is likely to become the largest area of collaboration with industry.

Some of the general thrusts that will be incorporated into the above focus areas include:

  • Service life modelling (including life cycle costing)
  • Construction methodology and management
  • Integration of building science/building envelope



Centre for Effective Design of Structures
Department of Civil Engineering
McMaster University
1280 Main St. West, JHE 301
Hamilton, ON  L8S 4L7

Contact us


905-525-9140 ext. 24917