Students from the McWhorter School of Building Science competed at the Associated Builders and Contractors national competition during the week of April 16th in San Antonio, Texas. Representing Auburn and the McWhorter School were Charles Powers, Seth Slatton, Kathryn Crowley,Jeremy Bolton, Daniel Chapman, and Chelsey Jacobs.
The ABC competition is organized around a three prong approach. First, each team is provided a project with certain stated objectives in a Request for Proposal two months before the competition. Each team responds to this RFP with its bound proposal at the beginning of the competition in San Antonio. During the second phase, each team is provided a series of changes and/or events that have occurred since the original proposal was submitted. This is done during a six-hour timed period. The team must address these changes with modifications to their scope of work, contract changes and schedule changes. A revised proposal is submitted after this six-hour period.
Each team is graded on their original proposal and their revised proposal. For the final portion of the competition, the top rated teams are invited to provide an oral presentation and answer questions from the owners over the course of the next day. Out of the twenty six teams competing, Auburn was chosen as one the finalist to present the next day!
The winning teams are announced at the Awards Breakfast during the last day of the competition. The top three schools were recognized and provided awards in four categories; (1) Safety Award, (2) Estimating Award, (3) Project Management Award, and (4) Overall Award. Auburn was recognized as the 1st PLACE WINNER of the Project Management Award. Congratulations to the team members.
As team member Charles Powers stated, “[w]e are grateful to the ABC for assembling a great competition. We appreciate the support from the School of Building Science, allowing us the opportunity to compete at such a high level. We’re also pleased that we did so well.”
The project for this year’s competition was the complete repair and renovation of an abandoned, inner city school located in Baltimore, Maryland. Challenges posed to the team included working on a confined site, working next to neighborhood recreational area (basketball courts, picnic areas, etc.), and engaging the community in the construction process.
Auburn’s team addressed these problems by limiting the parking space available in order to keep the recreational amenities open at all times. Additional security was provided with 24 hour security services to maintain the safety of the construction site as well as the recreational area. In addition Auburn proposed a comprehensive training and hiring program in order to engage the local contractors and community in the construction process. The team investigated local community data bases for qualified subcontractors and included these as a part of their proposal. By doing so, they were able to achieve a participation level in excess of 40% from local MBE/WBE construction companies – a figure well in excess of the contract requirements.
During Phase 2 of the competition, one of the challenges the team had to address was arson that occurred just before the start of construction. A portion of the building was damaged by fire which had to be remediated as an additional aspect of the project. Auburn addressed this issue by rearranging the storage areas and modifying its overall site utilization plan; allowing work to continue on the project with only a one week time extension to the overall schedule.
The overall project budget, as proposed by Auburn’s team was just over $5.6 million with a construction schedule of 10 months.