– UALR Students Win 2010 Construction Competition

The Construction Management Department had 12 students that competed in the 2010 TEXO/ASC Region V student construction competition in Dallas, Texas. The UALR Commercial Building Team took 1st place and the UALR Heavy-civil Team took 2nd place. This was the largest competition to date with 27 teams and included for the first time an international team from the Dublin Institute of Technology. This was the first year that both UALR teams placed in the competition and the first time that Arkansas AGC sponsored two teams. The competition website contains additional information, including team photos.

The Commercial Building Team was coached by Department Chair Mike Tramel, and the team consisted of Jessica Jeffries, Krystal Handy, Caleb DeWoody, Trey Hefley, Larry Newkirk, and Kevin Sullivan. UALR took 1st place, John Brown University took 2nd place, and Texas A&M University took 3rd place. There was a total of 12 teams competing in the Commercial Building Division with teams from Oklahoma State University, Oklahoma Institute of Technology, University of Oklahoma, University of Louisiana Monroe, Texas Tech University, University of North Texas, Texas State University, Texas A&M Commerce, and Austin College.

The problem was sponsored by J.E. Dunn and consisted of a 5 million dollar Monastery of the Most Holy Trinity add on and remodeling. There were 17,000 square feet of new construction and 10,000 square feet of remodeling work. The main issue was privacy and security for the Monastery Nuns and the remodeling of the commercial kitchen. The Nuns bake bread for distribution and a temporary kitchen had to be in place before the existing kitchen could be remodeled. The security issues were predominant since men were not allowed on the second floor and the site campus had to be secured at all times.

The UALR team’s schedule was within one day of the actual schedule and their estimate was within $100,000 of actual cost. Their bid for the general requirements was within $1000 of actual cost and their insurance/bond cost was within $100 of actual cost. J.E. Dunn took seven days to estimate and schedule the project and the UALR students had only 16 hours. Of course J.E. Dunn provided enough information for the team to complete the task but the other 11 teams did not come close to the actual estimate or actual schedule. UALR should really be proud of what these students accomplished in such a short time.

The Heavy Civil Team was coached by Instructor Larry Blackmon and the team consisted of Captain Mark Gernhart, Chris Baxter, Jay Lewis, Malcolm Jeffers, Chris Meyer, and Josh Morris. UALR took 2nd place with the University of Oklahoma taking 1st place and Louisiana Tech University taking 3rd place. There was a total of eight teams that competed in the Heavy Civil Division with other teams from Oklahoma State University, Texas A&M University, Texas Tech University, University of Louisiana Monroe, and the University of North Texas.

The problem was sponsored by McCarthy’s Texas Civil Division and consisted of a $63,000,000 elevated railroad bridge with two rail lines for the new DART transportation system in Dallas Texas. The UALR team’s estimate for the entire project was closest to the actual estimated cost with the other teams missing by over $10,000,000. The Heavy Civil Team was literally locked in a hotel room for the 16 hour period with no access to cell phones or the internet. They had to develop a plan that would phase the project around the existing rail line and not interrupt the main street that parallels the rail line. Over the years UALR has consistently come closest to the actual estimated bid cost and this year was no exception.

This year McCarthy’s bid opening procedure duplicated the way that public bid lettings are done. The real world approach resulted in four teams not filling out the bid forms correctly resulting in their bids being non-responsive. This resulted in a 200 point deduction from the 1000 point total. During the debriefing McCarthy expressed their concern that teams could not follow basic highway bidding procedures. In the real world a non-responsive bid is not accepted by the public sector entity. This speaks volumes for how well Larry Blackmon prepares our students in his Heavy Civil elective course.

With the addition of the new Construction Engineering program, UALR will be able to send a third team and compete in the Design Build division. The ASC/TEXO Region V competition has become an international student competition with additional teams coming from the United Kingdom.

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