– Students Place in 2012 Regional Construction Competition

26 March 2012

Two six-person teams of UALR construction management and construction engineering students each won third place in the recent ASC/TEXO Region V student competition held in Dallas.

The competition is sponsored by the Associated School of Construction and TEXO, the largest commercial contractors association in Texas.

The UALR teams competed in the Commercial and Heavy Civil competitions, coached respectively by Mike Tramel, chair of the Construction Management program, and Larry Blackmon, an instructor in the program. The Commercial team was third among 10 teams while the Heavy Civil team finished third in a nine-team competition.

Commercial Competition

The Commercial team included:

  • Ryan Burton of Jacksonville, construction engineering major
  • Natalie Clark of North Little Rock, construction management
  • Kevin Fink of Benton, construction management
  • Matthew Hardin of Conway, construction management
  • Pacifique Nshuti of Kigali, Rwanda, construction engineering
  • Stephanie Shank of Miami, construction engineering

The students completed their competition proposal and submitted it to the problem sponsors, working from 8 a.m. to midnight in UALR’s ETAS building.

The competition called on students to construct the Ann Richards Middle School in the Dallas Independent School District. The middle school is a state-of-the-art technology education center and features some of the most sophisticated electronic security devices available.

The team had to download the civil, architectural, mechanical, electrical, technical, and life safety drawings, prime contract, general conditions, supplemental conditions, general requirements, technical specifications, request for proposal, bid forms, addenda, Disadvantage Business Enterprise (DBE) forms, Women-Owned Business forms, subcontract price quotes, allowances, alternates, and special contract document forms.

The students had 16 hours to analyze subcontract price quotes and estimate the cost of the signage, store front, masonry, alternate electronic security devices and general conditions and compile a total project cost. The UALR team’s estimate was only $100,000 off the actual construction cost of $29.5 million, the third consecutive year the team has been the closest to the estimate.

The students also had to develop a project schedule, project safety plan, project site utilization plan, project security plan, and comply with the mandatory 30 percent DBE subcontractor requirement. The students submitted all the required contract documents including six copies of their proposal for the competition in Dallas by 6 p.m. the following evening.

Mike Tramel drove the team to Dallas in a UALR van while the students worked on their 30-minute presentation. The students finalized their presentation and practiced until Monday morning when they presented.

The team finished third among teams representing 10 universities from Texas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. The University of Oklahoma took first place, and Oklahoma State University finished second.

Sponsors of the UALR Commercial team were Thompson Electric, the Arkansas Contractors Licensing Board, CDI Contractors, and Snyder Environmental.

Heavy Civil Competition

The Heavy Civil team included:

  • Angie Matika of Little Rock, construction engineering
  • Chris Meyer of Sherwood, construction management
  • Ignace Nkurikiyimfura of Cutare, Rwanda, construction engineering
  • Jordan Epperson of Heber Springs, construction management
  • Luke Lippig of Little Rock, construction management
  • Xiao Mengyan of Xi’an, China, construction management

In the Heavy Civil competition, students were assigned the project of creating a new water treatment plant that uses an environmentally safe method for treating drinking water. The process involves oxidizing water to remove bacteria, metals, and harmful chemicals because the area where the plant is being built has high sulfur content in the ground water.

Again, the UALR team submitted the most accurate bid – $124 million for a project that cost $125.5 million to construct. The team had to complete the project cost estimate, project schedule, contract document evaluation, and prepare a proposal and present it to McCarthy, a nationally recognized construction firm.

The majority of the other teams’ estimates were off by more than $40 million with one team missing the correct figure by more than $100 million.

To work on the water treatment plant documents, the team members spent 16 hours preparing its cost estimate, scheduling, contract documents, and bid proposal documents. At 10 p.m., the students attended a bid letting. The students made their formal presentations the next morning.

The Highway Division of the Associated General Contractors of Arkansas was the sponsor of the Heavy Civil team, which finished third among nine competitors. The University of Oklahoma team won the competition with the University of Louisiana-Monroe finishing second.

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