Campus: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo -- May 02, 2001

Cal Poly Architecture Student Team Wins National Design-Build Competition

Imagine having to propose, design, estimate and schedule the construction of an $80 million medical center in just 16 hours to win a national design-build competition.

That's what Cal Poly's College of Architecture and Environmental Design student team did in Nashville, Tenn., against six of the nation's top teams.

In only their second year of competing in the National Associated Schools of Construction/Associated General Contractors National Student Competition, "Cal Poly Solutions Incorporated," an interdisciplinary student team, affirmed the effectiveness of the Cal Poly "learn-by-doing" philosophy by taking first place in the Design-Build category.

Organized by the Construction Management Department, teams were sent to compete in the Design-Build and Commercial categories. To qualify for the competition, both teams placed first out a field of 13 schools at the regional competition held in Reno, Nev.

The first day of the competition, the team prepared a conceptual design, budget, construction schedule, management plan and "value engineering" alternatives for a 450,000-square-foot medical facility with an $80 million budget. The next day the team prepared their presentation materials and graphics, and the following morning presented their proposal to the jury.

The design was reviewed by five professional project managers and architects. Steve Jenneman of McCarthy Construction in St. Louis, sponsor of the competition, described the Cal Poly team project as "the most comprehensive, most balanced proposal among all those submitted." McCarthy was the designer-builder of the actual medical facility project in Aurora, Colo.

Cal Poly team advisor Assistant Construction Management Professor Barbara Jackson considered the victory one for the construction management program and the entire college.

"The national title says volumes for the education that students get from Cal Poly and our interdisciplinary collaborative environment. The seamless team cooperation was the key to our success, and it's the magic of design-build."

Members of the Cal Poly Solutions Incorporated team are Bill Armstrong, a construction management senior from Carmichael; Carrie Baughn, architecture senior, Vista; Steve Brenson, construction management senior, San Dimas; Bill Grider, architecture senior, Fresno; Jennifer Ingel, architectural engineering senior, Granada Hills; and Andy Kutzner, construction management senior, Escondido.

"We really made it a user-friendly facility that incorporated the staff's needs as well," says team member Ingel. "We even put the patients' parking spaces, not the doctors', in front of the building in our layout."

The design-build construction technique is known as a "master builder approach," and includes the architect and builder working together as a team with the owner from the earliest design stages through the final construction project.

"With the ever-increasing demand for construction projects in California, the members of Cal Poly Solutions Incorporated are sure to be creating solutions for future design-build challenges," Jackson said.

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