Mila Duncheva is a Research Assistant at the Centre for Offsite Construction + Innovative Structure, working on multiple projects, whose main aims are to mitigate the skills shortage in the UK construction industry and to facilitate collaboration between offsite timber companies in Scotland.
Mila is now completing her PhD on measuring and comparing the productivity of panelised, mass timber and volumetric offsite timber systems. To achieve this Mila extracted best practice information from international leaders in volumetric manufacturing in Denmark, Finland, Estonia, Poland in Europe; Inverness, Glasgow, Oxford and Meifod(Wales) in the UK. This PhD study is funded through an 'Engineering the Future' scholarship from the University of Strathclyde and supervision is provided through collaboration with the University of Glasgow.
Beforehand Mila completed a BA (Hons) Architecture degree with distinction at the University of Kent, Canterbury. Mila undertook two architectural assistant internships in her home country Bulgaria on residential architecture design and BIM integration, respectively. Through the combination of education and practice Mila completed her RIBA Part I training in 2013.
Throughout these experiences Mila has had the opportunity to take part in the following additional activities:
- Carbon audit with the Carbon Trust, working with a local business to evaluate their current energy consumption and outline strategies for carbon and cost savings [completed 2015]
- Common Purpose Leadership School, a three-day course including interactive activities and working with two local businesses to deliver solutions to specific problems, where Mila was group leader and spokesperson [completed 2016]
- Scottish Ecological Design Association (SEDA), creating visualisations for planning approval within a larger SEDA project on the construction of a community centre in Edinburgh [completed 2017]
- Construction Scotland Innovation Centre (CSIC), offsite productivity research on the first Gold Standard volumetric development in Scotland and on the tallest CLT building in Scotland; also involved in organizing knowledge exchange activities [ongoing]
- Built Environment Exchange (beX), international knowledge exchange in Canada and Sweden with a focus on offsite timber systems, including a presentation at the renowned Modular and Offsite Construction Summit 2016. Mila was involved in organising and overseeing a knowledge exchange week with Harvard Graduate School of Design architecture students and engineering students from Edinburgh Napier University. Through the beX programme Mila continuously supervises students' employability work at COCIS [ongoing]
- Structural Timber Association, production of Timber Frame Manufacturing and Timber Frame Design workbooks to aid the upskilling of the offsite timber industry across the UK [completed 2018 with ongoing updates]
- Forestry Commission, analysing sustainable communities and how Design for Manufacture and Assembly (DfMA) can aid environmental, social and economic sustainability [ongoing]
- Offsite Solutions Scotland, facilitating a consortium of 10 offsite manufacturers who have come together to share Research and Development, including involvement in OSS marketing activities [ongoing]