The annual construction competition in Reno, Nevada allowed Stanford students to again put their minds, effort, and training to work this year against some of the best programs across the nation. Sending two teams that spurred each other on during the months leading up to the event, Stanford’s “Team 2” took home 1st place in 2017 despite a strong set of competitors this year.
Though primarily student-led, the teams were again supported by distinguished Stanford CEE alumnus Darryl Goodson who has ably led the teams’ industry coaching effort to help prepare our teams since 2010. This year, specifically, Darryl enlisted the help of additional recent CEE alumni as industry coaches, including Senior Executives Peter Worhunsky and Scott Anderson, who proved instrumental in properly preparing both teams this year for the host of scheduling and cost estimating challenges.
Stanford’s success in the Integrated Project Delivery (IPD) category in 2017 was largely thanks to a very adaptive skillset due to the novel nature of the problem statement this year. The problem in the past typically requires the team to represent a general contractor and put together a full bid proposal for a (slightly altered) real-life project, all in the roughly 16 hour time span of the competition. This year, however, teams were forced to come in on a project - a collaborative scientific building on a college campus in San Diego - in the midst of the design phase, already behind schedule and over budget, and solve an explicit list of problems set forth by the judges. The problems ranged from how to bring the project back on schedule and on budget, a strategy for bringing in large and fragile medical equipment into the project basement laboratory, and properly orienting new members of the construction team to the novel dynamic set forth by an integrated form of agreement (IFOA) delivery type (which demands far more collaborative work than in traditional construction contracts).
Students were prompted to explicitly delineate solutions to each of the ten problems, write them up and defend them in the paper as well as an interview with the judges on the following day. As another challenging new aspect of this year’s competition, each of the six students on each team were forced to take on a disparate role typically represented in an IFOA contract: roles included the project architect, key subcontractors, superintendent, and project manager.
Despite the successful finish and a reason to finally celebrate, both teams were quick to sit down with the coaches and faculty soon after the competition and brainstorm the best improvements to make for next year’s team(s), and they are excited to facilitate that process starting next fall with a whole new suite of talented students.