Civil engineering students build a responsive bid package in statewide estimating competition
By Kaitor Kposowa
ATHENS, Ohio (Feb. 28, 2013) -- Six civil engineering students from Ohio University's Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology competed at the 13th annual Ohio Contractors Association (OCA) Estimating Competition, building a construction bid package from the ground up.
The competition, held Feb. 15-16 at the Hilton at Easton Town Center in Columbus, gave eight teams the chance to prepare a comprehensive construction bid package for a hypothetical project.
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 was based on an Olmsted Falls project constructed in 2009. “The proposal was for an elimination of a railroad grade separation,” said Corey Brown, team leader and a senior in civil engineering. The team had to propose a temporary re-routing of train traffic while planning to tunnel the highway underneath a new railroad bridge.
The next day, the team had 30 minutes to present the bid to a panel of six judges from firms all over the state, including Kokosing, The Shelly Company, Great Lakes Construction, Beaver Excavating, and Shelly and Sands.
Team adviser and Assistant Professor of Civil Engineering Byung Cheol Kim said sompeting in the estimation process is a real challenge because its focus on cost estimation is only a piece of the civil engineering puzzle.
“Estimating is more of an art than a science. It requires that you understand the drawings. Students need to visualize the process of construction,” Kim said. “The critical part is to use equipment, labor, and other resources in a way that connects the actual costs of the project.”
Team leader Brown said his focus was to manage time and submit a responsive bid - a goal the team is proud it accomplished. Fellow team members were Tad Buffenbarger, Mark Christman, Michael Crane, Shane Hoerig, and Erica Toussant.
Brown, a returning member from last year's team, says the OCA presents a real-life experience of the demands of construction bidding and simulates the tight time constraints and competitive nature in the industry.
”The competition re-emphasized my passion for estimating. It is a great feeling to build a job in your head, put the bidding to paper, and watch it be built the way you envisioned it.”