Career-like experiences are valuable for all students hoping to have a career upon graduation. BYU construction Management students recently had the opportunity to practice their skills at a competition held in Reno, Nev., where they performed well.
Clifton Farnsworth, assistant professor of construction management, supervised the 51 BYU students who attended the conference.
“It [the conference] gives them the opportunity to apply principles,” Farnsworth said. “It brings all the coursework together.”
BYU brought eight teams with eight members per team to participate in different parts of the competition. BYU also brought three alternates who participated in their own part of the competition.
“We go every year,” Farsnworth said. “We traditionally do very well. [This year] The Mixed Use Team placed third. The Building Information Modeling placed first.”
The Mixed Use team planned construction projects for buildings that have multiple uses, such as an office building with apartments. The Building Information Modeling Team, or BIM Team, used computers to design and plan 3-D models for a construction project.
“BIM — that’s really something we’ve latched onto at BYU,” Farnsworth said.
The teams did not actually build their projects. Instead, they were judged on how well they designed the project on paper, or, in the BIM Team’s case, on the computer. Students were judged on their building plan, timeline and budget.
Elizabeth Sayer, a junior from Ames, Iowa, was part of the BIM Team.
“The company that was judging us wanted us to link everything together,” she said. “[We had to] link the model with the estimate and schedule to make it easy to update. So if you changed one thing, everything changed.”
Sayer said the team ran into some problems with its project. BYU uses software with a free edition for students, while the judges used software without the free edition.
“They use a different software than we used,” she said. “We were confident with the system we set up, but we weren’t sure it would be enough to convince them it was as good as their software. We weren’t expecting to win.”
Brent Willie, a junior from Mendon, was part of the Mixed Use Team.
“We, as the team, acted as the company and had to tell them why we should get the project,” he said. The team presented the plans to a real company that acted as judges.
“Overall, it was just a really good experience,” Willie said. “It was a big learning experience both individually and as a team.”
While this was the Mixed Use Team’s first time presenting at the competition in Reno, it was not the first time they had competed. In November, they competed in an on-campus tournament with other universities from northern Utah.
“We were able to get out a lot of the kinks,” Willie said. The first competition also helped the team realize their strengths and weaknesses, he added.
While the team was confident with its project, Willie attributes a technological glitch to their third place placement.
“Printer problems led to it being handed in late,” he said. Because the project was late, they got points docked.
Even though the team placed well, placing was not the most important aspect for Willie.
“The learning experience for me was more important than placing,” he said.