A team of Cal Poly construction management students won first place at the Home Building Institute’s (HBI) Residential Construction Management Competition, in association with the National Association of Home Builders, on Jan. 15. The students acted like custom homebuilders when submitting a funding proposal for the construction of three model homes.
The team’s proposal covered everything from market research and financial analysis to construction schedule and estimated cost of construction. On Jan. 12 they presented before a panel of judges in Orlando, Fla.
Team captain and construction management senior, Ryan Wenig said the team was strengthened by a free-flow of ideas between members.
The parameters of the competition required the team to create a proposal to build three model homes in Yadkin County, N.C. In past competitions, students submitted proposals for large neighborhood developments in more urban areas.
Wenig said the team was encouraged by the fact that the problem was based off a construction project currently underway in North Carolina.
“Actually knowing that this project was going to happen, we knew in the back of our head, ‘OK, it’s feasible,’” Wenig said.
For the team, one of the biggest hurdles was creating a project to met the needs of a rural community on the other side of the country. Nick Turner, a construction management senior, said the North Carolina market was an unusual environment.
“The clientele is totally different from what we’re used to in California,” Turner said.
The team stayed at Cal Poly several days into their winter break to finish the packet, and several members stayed the week after finals to put the last touches on the proposal.
Mat Dunlap, a construction management junior, said not knowing what other schools were submitting meant the team had no idea how it would place.
“We hadn’t really seen any other school’s work so it was hard to gauge,” Dunlap said.
The team said it felt confident at the live presentation on Jan. 12, after they gave a “practically flawless” presentation, Dunlap said.
Construction management professor Scott Kelting, who acted as team coach and recruiter, said the quality of the presentation helped them place first.
“Practice makes perfect and they practiced this thing over and over and over again,” Kelting said.
Kelting said the students highlighted the key points of the project in their packet, and they reviewed them all a day before they presented.
“What made our presentation stand out was it was very technical and business-oriented, so we didn’t have a lot of fluff,” Kelting said.
The students acted like a business in the competition, they made sure the proposal was organized and focused.
Mitchell Johns, a construction management senior, said the team paid special attention to detail.
“We covered everything, we made sure to hit every point, nothing was left out, nothing was missing,” Johns said.
Johns said the packet is something he will be able to use in the future.
“Being able to take this packet with me to interviews and show what I’ve done with a group of students will add to my résumé,” Johns said.