Five of six members are studying construction management. Photo courtesy of Hannah Salling Top row from left: Caitlin Hickey, Dana Boesel, Hannah Salling Bottom row from left: Chris Dehaan, Garrett Harte, Josh Hoffman

Cal Poly’s National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) team should have bet the farm when they went to Las Vegas last week. The team won sixth place out of 39 schools at an annual construction management competition in Sin City but it wasn’t beginner’s luck.

The team, which competed for the ninth year, was given a theoretical plot of land to build a housing complex proposal. The proposal had to include a budget, construction plan, and marketing and risk analysis, showing an emphasis on sustainable practices.

The site students had to build on was a 26-acre parcel of land, equal to almost 20 full football fields, in Texas called Magnolia Village. Participants were given background on the land and told that zoning and preliminary plans were approved by the city.

The team had to demonstrate sustainable practices that coincide with Green Building Initiatives, a set of guidelines that the judges critiqued based on factors such as low water usage and implementing recyclable materials. Teams are awarded bronze, silver or gold certifications if sustainable needs are met. Cal Poly’s student chapter’s work merited a silver certification.

After completing all of the tasks according to the prompt, students went to the competition last week and presented their package of plans to a panel of judges from the industry.

Some of the comments from the judges said the financials were very detailed and also that the team’s proposal was innovative and had creative floor plans. One judge commented that the team lacked profiteering, or describing how the profits would be shared with investors.

“The written proposal with its designs, management plans and financial analysis accounts for 80 percent of the judges’ points, and the formal presentation accounts for 20 percent,” construction management department chair Al Hauck said.

This year, they not only built an award-winning presentation, they built a team. Not a team who merely met to work, but a team who spent time getting to know each other.

President of Cal Poly’s NAHB student chapter, Hannah Salling, a construction management senior, said this was one of the team’s focuses while working on the project this year.

“One thing we tried to focus on this year was going out and doing things together rather than just working on our packet all the time,” Salling said.

Having four returning members helped the team’s chemistry. They spent a few hours working together during weekly meetings and tackled the rest on their own. The effort did not end with the quarter for the students or faculty.

“This was a tremendous effort on their part completed during fall quarter and over the break before Christmas,” construction management department chair Al Hauck said.

In order to complete all of the project’s components, the team had to stay the week after finals, working for about 12 hours a day in a computer lab on campus.

A continuously running coffee pot and cookies provided the fuel the team needed to work long days during winter break to complete all of the planning components for their site.

“We did a good job. We are all really proud of our package,” Salling said.

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1 Comment

  1. …The team won sixth place out of 39 schools at an annual construction management competition last week in Las Vegas…

    Nice article but the above information has little to no relevance since the writer offers no insight on the other school competing. Without such information, a sixth-place finish means next to nothing. For all readers know, the 39 other schools could be high schools.

    Come on!! If you’re going to provide a stat, provide some context with it so the award has a modicum of credibility.

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