TeamBuild: Team ‘8 Ball’ scoops the Inaugural ‘Student Teambuild Challenge’ Prize, by Alex MacLaren


Rome wasn’t built in a day, and though it’s admittedly a slightly smaller endeavour, the world-class new UoE Holyrood Student Accommodation isn’t due to complete until 2016 either. But given that it’s Innovative Learning Week, we thought we’d challenge 50 students of construction from UoE and Heriot-Watt University to give it a go in 48 hours.

Over Tuesday and Wednesday of ILW, nine teams of students competed against each other over five quick-fire stages (Masterplan, Outline Design, Procurement, Detailed Design and Construction/Handover) to win cash prizes. The interdisciplinary teams, who only met each other on the day, were made up of Architects, Engineers, Surveyors, Construction Managers and Real Estate Planners. Students were from degree- and masters- level courses, from both UoE and HWU. For many, this was the first time they had worked with another student from a different construction discipline.

teambuild2Each team crammed a guided visit to the real construction site into a packed schedule of frantic design, calculation, communication and presentation. The site tours from Balfour Beatty gave each student a sense of the size and practicalities of the actual project, whilst also being the first visit to a live, large-scale construction site for many participants: a great experience in itself.

The stages required quick thinking and inter-disciplinary negotiation. Architects’ sketches were appraised by Surveyors, and changes made, whilst Construction Managers consulted the engineers on product and process. Six people worked on a single drawing, all at at once.  Team members took turns to visit the ‘judges’ room’ to make their presentations, high-fiving or commiserating with colleagues on their return, and sharing stories of stringent analysis and curveball questions.

Our judges were volunteers from the excellent edinburgh construction industry: architects, engineers, planners and more. All embraced the event and played their roles to perfection: giving the teams a real grilling, acting as demanding ’client’ but also being generous and constructive with their feedback and advice.

Initial feedback from participants suggests this event went down a storm, and we hope this will be a regular date in the calendar in future! The eventual winners were the very excellent “Team 8-ball”, Alvin Seng Chun Tan (Urban Studies/ HW), April Lachlan (Construction Management/ HW), Mihnea-Codrin Florescu (Civil Engineer at UofE), Rebecca Goodson (Architecture/ UofE) and Scott Brady (AE Building Services/ HW).  Team ‘Belvedere Consultancy’ took the Judges’ Prize.

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