Improving earthquake safety with Mitacs-Accelerate

UBC Engineering Masters student gives Kamloops engineering firm the edge in earthquake design knowledge

It is this knowledge that Kamloops-based firm West Edge Engineering Ltd. was looking for when they approached UBC Okanagan’s School of Engineering.

There, they were teamed up with Engineering Masters student Konrad Duerr, through a Mitacs-Accelerate internship.

Konrad worked on implementing seismic hazard assessment computer software at West Edge, allowing the company to carry out earthquake risk assessments on buildings – something they had not been able to do before the internship.

“I was able to transfer the latest knowledge coming out of academia on earthquake engineering to West Edge, giving the company expertise on how to retrofit buildings to minimize damage during a quake.   The process involves doing a detailed survey of the building to identify any structural weakness.  Then extra supports or steel braces are strategically added to help minimize the risk of collapse during a tremor,” Konrad explained.

“The computer software is used to determine how to maximize the structural integrity of a building while at the same time minimizing the cost of the retrofit.”

Principal and Senior Structural Engineer at West Edge Engineering, Yu Kang, said Konrad brought invaluable knowledge to the company which has allowed it to expand on the range of engineering services it offers.

“Mitacs-Accelerate gave us the perfect opportunity to access the latest in engineering research and techniques from a university graduate.  The program has also helped us establish a strong relationship with UBC Okanagan through which we can share knowledge and the co-funding was a big help financially.”

The internship also led to employment for Konrad.  “It not only helped me complete my Masters but also helped me get a job – I’ve been employed full-time by West Edge and I’m now working on their team.”

Mitacs thanks the Government of Canada and the Government of British Columbia for their support of the Accelerate research internship in this story. Across Canada, the Accelerate program also receives support from Alberta Innovates, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, the Government of Prince Edward Island, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan and Research Manitoba.

Do you have a business challenge that could benefit from a research solution? If so, contact Mitacs today to discuss partnership opportunities:


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