Construction Challenge 2015: Tall Towers

Our annual ICE North West Graduate and Student (G&S) Construction Challenge competition was held recently, with simultaneous events in both Manchester and Liverpool. 

Arup Structures prevailed as the lowest cost structure in the Manchester competition
Arup Structures prevailed as the lowest cost structure in the Manchester competition

As always, the night proved to be both fun and challenging giving our G&S members the opportunity to test their design and construction skills.

This year's challenge saw teams design and build a three-storey building out of basic materials including play-doh, paper, sellotape, lollipop sticks, and string. The structure had to withstand additional loading, representing a third floor swimming pool and a plant area on the roof, whilst adhering to a £5m construction budget.

Manchester

Nine teams competed for glory, with team members from local engineering companies and universities. Out of these, seven teams successfully completed the challenge and built a structure that withstood the maximum load case.

The final results were extremely close, with the top three teams separated by just £250k.

Arup Structures won with the lowest cost structure (main picture); their use of straws being the deciding factor. Jacobs, second place, and Ramboll, third place made use of paper as their main building material but were affected by its high whole-life cost.

Liverpool

LJMU's winning structure, mid-construction, in the Liverpool event
LJMU's winning structure, mid-construction, in the Liverpool event

In Liverpool, five teams battled it out to produce the most economical structure whilst meeting the brief to withstand its own self-weight plus the additional loading.

The teams were made up of students from both Liverpool John Moores University and The University of Liverpool.

Two of the teams - Big 4 and LJMU – were successful in building structures that withstood the maximum load applied.

Team LJMU was hailed the winner because they built the most economical structure (shown below in mid-construction).

Well done to all the winners and thanks to everyone who took part.

Construction Challenge is run by ICE North West G&S with the aim of getting together, having fun and applying some civils knowledge to the competition task. We'll see you again in 2016!

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