Students take home top honors at national home builders show

A team of construction technology students were pleasantly surprised last month when they were presented with the first place trophy at the National Association of Home Builders’ annual Residential Construction Management Competition in Las Vegas.

Alex Evans, Amy Carter, Lisa Seacrest, Peter Geilman and Steven Cooper, all second-year UVU construction technology students, comprised the award winning team. They were coached by UVU Associate Professor DeWayne Erdmann.

The team was sent floor plans in September of a custom designed home that was to be built in St. Louis, Missouri. They had to research area-specific regulations before preparing detailed plans for drawing, estimating and scheduling construction.

“[It was] a five member team, each putting in about 100 hours on the project,” said Erdmann. “Hard work.”

The team was also able to comprehensively analyze the market and redesign their drawing in order to meet the Silver-level Green Building Standard with only 30 days of notice.

“Everything had to be changed to make it a green home,” said Evans, the team’s drafter and designer. “That was the hardest thing because most of the contractors around here do not do the green building things, so the cost of those things were so much more then they normally are.”

“We had to spend considerable time deciding which features we would want to add into the plans that we were given,” said Geilman, the team’s scheduler and co-captain. “To know which items to add, we also had to increase our understanding of environmentally friendly construction practices.”

The team orally presented their project to the National Association of Home Builders judges in Las Vegas during a grueling question and answer session.

“It was nerve racking to say the least,” said Geilman. “Being in a large room with experienced construction professionals in front of us and a crowd of other competitors behind, we felt the pressure to answer things as best we could and not be an embarrassment to the school.”

“As soon as the announcer read ‘Utah Valley’ in announcing the first place winner, our school erupted with yells and cheers,” said Geilman.

This was the first time UVU has taken home the top award from the competition.

“I think that it puts UVU on the map,” said Geilman. “The closest we had ever come to first place before was second a couple of years ago.  Last year we didn’t even place.  It says a lot for the school that as we are making the step from a state college to a university that we are also able to reach higher expectations.”

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