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BYU students win Associated Schools of Construction Competition

Four of six BYU Construction Management teams won high awards at the national Associated Schools of Construction Competition (ASCC).

The Ira A. Fulton College of Engineering Weidman Center for Global Leadership sponsored forty-seven skilled undergraduate students to travel to California and participate in a 4-day high-stress, high-reward construction competition. After 12 hours of technical work and an entire night devoted to preparing presentations, BYU students emerged triumphant in the competition and with commitments to job offers and internships.

Four of six BYU teams that competed won awards: BYU’s Mixed-Use team and Commercial team won first place; the Design Build team placed second; and the Heavy Civil team placed third. Other participating teams included Sustainability and Project Management.

  • Mixed-Use (1st place)
    • Competitors in the mixed-use competition are asked to respond to Request for Proposals for actual commercial and residential construction projects, requiring them to create a project-specific schedule, estimate, project management plan and safety management plan.
  • Commercial (1st place)
    • The commercial competition requires students to present construction plans from the viewpoint of a general contractor for high-profile commercial construction projects.
  • Design Build (2nd place)
    • This competition focuses on design, planning and execution processes of large, commercial construction projects, from the viewpoint of a general contractor.
  • Heavy Civil (3rd plaice)
    • This competition focuses on earth-moving, transportation, roadways and underground utilities. Typical deliverables include bidding work, estimating work, proposal preparation, problem-solving, scheduling and risk management.
  • Sustainable Building
    • This competition looks at current, sustainable trends, certifications, and strategies utilized in the design and construction process to create buildings that are more “green.” Typical outcomes include an in-depth knowledge of green-building certifications, sustainable building strategies, life cycle costing, sustainable materials procurement and sustainable construction practices.
  • Project Management
    • This competition requires students to evaluate a potential construction project for risk and reward, ultimately deciding whether or not it is worth pursuing. As competitors, students will act as a proposal team addressing real-life issues such as cost, scheduling, contracts and technical challenges.

Teams arrive for an initial welcoming dinner, and are presented with their problems early the following morning. After receiving their problems, teams spend the rest of the day analyzing, planning, and solidifying their solution, in order to submit their deliverables before the deadline, which ranges from 10:00 PM to 11:30 PM. Students then use the remainder of the evening, sometimes working all night, to prepare their presentations, which are due at 7:00 AM the next morning.

While the ASCC is somewhat brief, it takes months of preparation. Some teams prepared for nearly ten months for the competition. This preparation, along with the competition itself, provides students with valuable leadership and team building experiences, which act as foundations for successful careers.

After students present their final solutions, they have more opportunities to interact with industry professionals through structured networking and a formal company showcase. Often, impressive students are even singled out and pulled aside by companies after giving their presentations.

These networking opportunities are not only reserved for students. During the student presentation period, many professors and advisors meet together to discuss how they can effectively enhance their students’ education experience.

Dr. James Smith, assistant Construction and Facilities Management professor at BYU and ASCC veteran advisor, believes that “the most successful teams have a legacy built into them.” This legacy, he explains, is created through the appointment of qualified, experienced team captains who have attended ASCC for several years.

Overall, Dr. Smith believes that this competition “goes well beyond learning how to do something.” It requires consistent practice and preparation, while pushing students to pursue excellence through unique stress, extempore skills and networking opportunities.

For students who want to get involved in ASCC, the Construction Management Student Association (CMSA) provides information and applications. Students can also contact the School of Technology main office in the Snell Building (SNLB) on campus for more information.