Six civil engineering students from Ohio University's Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology got experience building from the ground up at the fourteenth annual Ohio Contractors Association (OCA) Estimating Competition.
Held Feb. 14-15 at the Hilton at Easton Town Center in Columbus, the competition gave 10 teams the chance to prepare a comprehensive construction bid package for a hypothetical project.
Not only was this the first competition for all OHIO’s team of six civil engineering students -- it was the first year the teams were required to bid every item for the entire job: 58 job items for a connector bridge in an industrial park, instead of prior competitions’ 15 items.
“It’s a tough challenge even for professional estimators,” said team advisor and Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Byung-Cheol Kim. “Students learned about practical aspects of construction estimating: It is more an art than a science.”
The first day, working with a set of given plans and specifications like labor and equipment rates, students submitted a completed bid document in response to the proposal, which consisted of a 1,400-foot roadway and a 250-foot bridge over a small creek, a railway, drainage, excavating and an embankment.
The challenge was based on a real-life construction project, which took the winning company more than a week and a half to bid. This weekend’s competitors had only eight hours.
“When we first got the project and found out we had to bid the full package, it was a shock,” said team vice president Timothy Bajorek said. “However, we were able to break the project down and get a great initial game plan set,” said Bajorek, a senior civil engineering major from Cleveland who is also earning a certificate in construction engineering management.
Bajorek and junior Nicholas Green, who is from Cincinnati, handled drainage and contract questions, and organized the final bid package. Teammates Austin Bates, a senior from West Lafayette, Ohio, and Christopher DelGallo, a senior from Scio, Ohio, took care of structure, bidding all items included in the bridge construction. Seniors Matthew Kusanke, of Brecksville, and Jeffrey Mapus, of Fremont, performed all the earthwork and pavement calculations.
The next day, the team had 30 minutes to present the bid to a panel of six judges from firms all over the state.
Team president Bates wants to enter the construction industry after graduation said the competition had a big impact on his future since he.
“This competition really gave me my first look as to what really goes into a construction project,” he explained. “It was also great to meet professionals within the industry and get my name out there. The experience was awesome.”