The fifth international Associated Schools of Construction (ASC) competition for Region 8 was held at the School of Czech Technical University in Prague, in the Czech Republic. The event hosted students from European and US universities who are all working to pave the way for a brighter future in construction.
Region 8 is the international home of the ASC, the professional association for the development and advancement of construction education, founded in the University of Florida in 1965. The association promotes the sharing of ideas and knowledge and inspires, guides and promotes excellence in curricula, teaching, research and service through a variety of programs and services. Members are drawn from disciplines such as architecture, engineering, management and technology.
This year was PlanGrid’s second year supporting the ASC International Competition, and it was impressive to see the event grow this year with students representing eleven schools from Ireland, Czech Republic, UK and US. At the start of the competition, the students formed into ten teams, with four members in each group. Six of the teams represented alliances between colleges offering students the valuable opportunity to work with their peers located in different regions.
Inside the ASC International Competition
The ASC sets out clear guidelines for the two-day competition to promote fairness and integrity, and also ensure all participants gain maximum benefit from their involvement. Over the course of the two-day competition, the students demonstrated a high calibre of work and great teamwork, while performing under time pressure, to deliver their projects.
The competition kicked off officially on the first morning when the teams and their tutors came together in the Technical University to receive details of their project – to design and plan a facility at a High School in Prague. This was a real-life building case study proposed by SWIETELSKY, an Austrian construction company with branches across Europe who were the lead contractors on the actual project. The company was represented on the judging panel and were able to bring their in-depth insight of the project to evaluate the proposals and also test the students during the presentation phase of the competition.
Relevant documentation and additional guidance were provided to each of the teams and they worked through the day to develop their plans. The college tutors were present and provided support and encouragement, without getting too hands-on, per the competition rules. Day one closed at 5 pm with each team handing up their response to the brief, including a full report for review. The students kept a low profile in the evening to prepare for their presentations the next day, while the judges met to review the submissions.
Day two opened with the team presentations to the panel, offering the students an opportunity to elaborate on their written submissions in closed sessions. By lunchtime, the judges had selected a shortlist of four the teams who were invited back for further cross-examination in sessions which the other students could attend.
The final stage involved a rigorous Q&A session for the last four teams, with all the students contributing strongly in response to the questions from the professionals. In the final deliberation, the judges awarded the top prize to a combined team from Dublin Institute of Technology and the University of Denver. The panel recognised the innovation, collaboration and dedication from all the teams and admitted it was a tough decision to select a winner.
Building Professionals for the Future
The ASC International Competition offers students a valuable opportunity to test their knowledge, expand their skills and compete with and against their peers. Also, by teaming up with colleges from other regions they can share best practice that will benefit their careers in construction and beyond.
Additionally, the competition brings benefits for the construction sector as it continues to tackle the challenges of low productivity and labour shortages, through harnessing the enthusiasm, energy and ideas the students will bring to the industry and showing them a real-life situation where they can excel.