WSU students take first in national construction competition

Team designs models, solves problems from various real situations



Four WSU student teams competed against universities nationwide to see which group could come up with the best presentation for a solution to a construction problem.

ELAYNE RODRIGUEZ, Evergreen reporter

The WSU Construction Management team earned top rankings for their solution strategies in the Associated Schools of Construction competition in early February.

Anne Anderson, WSU construction management assistant professor, said the virtual design and construction team competed with schools across the country and won first place against eleven schools with programs like University of Florida and Auburn University.

Anderson said real-world industries are becoming more technology-based, so students must be proficient with modern tools after graduation.

“Our team uses this technology [such as] building information modeling tools,” she said.

Matthew A. Hill, construction management team captain, said WSU sent four teams to compete that each focus on a different aspect of construction.

He said he participated in the virtual design and construction section of the competition, along with 16 teammates and one alternate.

“We did building models, we worked with running protections that could say whether or not structural numbers and plumbing numbers will be in conflict with each other using different computer technologies,” he said.

The competition usually takes place at the Nugget Casino Resort in Sparks, Nevada, Hill said.

He said the competition assigned students real-world projects to solve and show how they would fix the issues.

“The one that we worked on was a hotel in Los Angeles,” he said, “and every single problem that [the competition] gave us was something they have encountered.”

Hill said they were tasked with different problems throughout the day. The team was split up in different aspects of construction, like estimating problems, clashing different structural numbers and scheduling logistics problems.

“We are given a set amount of time to find a solution,” he said, “we prepare for a presentation the following day and then the judges deliberate and decide [what team] they feel provided the best responses.”

He said Webcor Builders put on virtual design and construction, and Absher Construction sponsored the team.

Anderson said she managed the virtual design and construction, and that team is different from the other teams. Other teams apply with projects directly in real time, and the virtual design and construction team uses technology to solve problems ahead of time.

“We essentially design and construct everything in the computer so that we make all of the mistakes in the computer before we build it on sight,” she said.

Anderson said WSU takes four different teams to compete in four different competitions, like the heavy civil, commercial and design-build constructions.

“I am really proud of this team for working so hard for doing what they do,” Anderson said.