Georgeau Institute awards five research grants to address global construction challenges

Five research grants have been awarded to faculty through the newly established Georgeau Construction Research Institute at WMU’s College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

Osama Abudayyeh

“These initial research projects are exactly the kind of innovative, rigorous work we envisioned for the Georgeau Construction Research Institute,” said Dr. Osama Abudayyeh, chair of the Department of Civil and Construction Engineering and founding director of the institute. “We see tremendous opportunity to investigate some of the challenges of the U.S. construction industry and help propel it forward in the global marketplace.”

Establishment of the institute at WMU was made possible by a generous $5 million gift from Phil and Betty Georgeau. Phil Georgeau is a graduate of WMU and founder of Chem Link, a company based in Schoolcraft, Mich., that manufactures products for the construction industry.

The vision of the institute is to advance the construction industry through innovative research focused on addressing global construction challenges and creating better, stronger, sustainable, safer and more resilient construction systems and materials.



William Liou

Fire Safety in Smart Buildings – 4D Fire and Smoke Simulation

Dr. William Liou, PI

The nearly half million structure fires in the U.S. each year cause 17,000 injuries and deaths, and $10 billion in property losses. Dr. William Liou will build a predictive tool to simulate incidents of fire and smoke events and predict the location and likely growth of fire and smoke in smart buildings. The project will use computational fluid dynamics software and WMU’s Floyd Hall in the model.

Xiaoyun Shao

An Innovative Application of Construction Sealants and Adhesives to Enhance Resilience of Wood Residential Buildings to Natural Hazards

Dr. Xiaoyun Shao, PI

Hurricanes and earthquakes cause tremendous devastation around the world. Dr. Xiaoyun Shao’s research will study construction sealants and adhesives, their properties and application, and how to mitigate damage to low-rise wood buildings, which comprise 90 percent of residential structures. Dr. Shao plans to use analytical and statistical modeling to assess the effectiveness of construction sealants and adhesives in improving the resilience of structures in windstorms and earthquakes.

Upul Attanayake

Means and Methods for Improving the Structural Integrity of Roof Systems

Dr. Upul Attanayake, PI

Roof covering failure is a common occurrence in hurricane and tornado disasters. Roof covering failure allows water penetration, leading to significant damage to a building’s interior, and in most cases, structural failure. Dr. Upul Attanayake’s research will evaluate various roof systems and materials for improving structural resilience in damaging winds.

Wuwei Shen

Jiansong Zhang


A Holistic Framework to Support Compliance Checking in the Construction Domain

Drs. Wuwei Shen & Jiansong  Zhang, PIs

Automated compliance checking is used in the construction industry to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of a construction process. However, with increasing demands from clients and tightening regulatory requirements, current automated compliance checking techniques cannot tackle the complexity of a project’s lifecycle. Dr. Wuwei Shen and Dr. Jiansong Zhang are proposing a novel framework that uses a UML profile and then applies conformance checking to perform compliance checking through the lifecycle of the project.

Abiola Akanmu

Towards Unmanned Self-Navigable Real Time Location Sensing System for Construction Safety

Dr. Abiola Akanmu, PI

Despite increasing efforts to address safety concerns in the construction industry, construction sites still have high accident rates. Integrating information technologies with construction activities and environments can provide opportunities for real-time monitoring of resources, access to data on workers’ behavior, and prediction of construction accidents. Dr. Abiola Akanmu’s research will evaluate the performance of a commercially available real-time location sensing system that provides access to the location of workers, materials and equipment, enabling the design and development of an unmanned location tracking  system that can self-navigate indoor construction environments.