Amir Rezaeivahdati received the 2019 Most Outstanding Thesis award from The Masonry Society.

USask master's thesis wins prestigious international award

Amir Rezaeivahdati, who completed his Master's degree in Civil Engineering at the University of Saskatchewan, recently received the 2019 Outstanding Master's Thesis award from The Masonry Society (TMS).

By Donella Hoffman

His thesis reported the results of an investigation of a specific design method for walls as included in the Canadian masonry design code.

TMS, which has an international membership, is a scientific and technical organization that advances the knowledge and use of masonry around the world.

Winning the award was a welcome surprise, Rezaeivahdati said. “I worked hard on my thesis and was pleased to see it recognized by such a prestigious society.”

Rezaeivahdati’s supervisor, Dr. Lisa Feldman (PhD), a professor in the Department of Civil, Geological and Environmental Engineering, said he did an exceptional job of his research. This is her second student to win the award; the first was Kawsar Ahmed in 2011.

“I think the College of Engineering holds students to a very high standard,” Rezaeivahdati said. “Everybody is expected to produce thorough and rigorous work, and Dr. Feldman was a dedicated and patient supervisor.

“I'd also like to give a big shout-out to The Union of Graduate Employees and Postdoctoral Workers (PSAC Local 40004). They’ve given a voice to students since 2014, fighting to make graduate studies and work more accessible and fair for everyone.”

Rezaeivahdati is currently working as an Engineering Assistant at the City of Vancouver, surveying the city's facilities. He’s also doing some freelance work that involves computer simulation and modeling of engineering problems to ensure compliance with safety standards.

The Canadian masonry standard that Rezaeivahdati evaluated in his thesis, S304-14, includes empirical provisions (based on rules-of-thumb handed down from mason to mason) as well as rational provisions (those based on fundamental mechanics and engineering knowledge). His research sought to rationalize the two sets of provisions, to ensure that both provide the same level of structural safety.

The thesis – Towards the Reconciliation of the Empirical and Rational Design Provisions of CSA S304-14 – is available online.