Seventy-two student teams from seven schools across Canada got a taste of the hard work that goes into preparing a bid on a major project recently at The Construction Institute of Canada’s (TCIC) annual Simulated Student Bid Competition.
Fourth-year George Brown College construction management students Seth Annan, Omid Ranjbar and Victor Barrera broke into grins and backslapping when their team was named tops in the Closest to Target Price category and given a cheque for $1,000. A fourth team member, Azam Khan, was unable to attend. The bid project assigned to the students this year was a Thompson Rivers University campus building recently completed in Kamloops, B.C.
"Straight from the beginning, we were not trying to win a prize or anything, we just wanted to experience the learning aspect of it and gain as much knowledge as we could," said Annan, 21.
"This is something that we will always remember and that will be most valuable for our careers," added Ranjbar, also 21.
"We have worked extra hard on this. We had our ups and downs. But we came together with a positive attitude. We paid attention to details and we made sure we went over it multiple times. Through that, we built a great relationship amongst ourselves."
Learning the value of hard work, attention to detail and teamwork in submitting bids will serve the George Brown quartet and the other competitors well when they launch their careers said Craig Lesurf, a vice-president with Walsh Canada and honorary chair of the bid competition. Those lessons were also learned the hard way by three teams whose bids were rejected for non-compliance, he said.
"Estimating is very important," said Lesurf.
"In this case, there is a lot they have to do to get the bid in and be compliant. This year we have three bids that are non-compliant and that is a matter of people not putting the right signatures on it, not putting it in the right envelope, not putting in the bid bond. It’s a matter of dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s."
The gala, held at Toronto’s Queen-Richmond Centre, represented the culmination of three months of preparation for students from George Brown, Niagara College, La Cite, Fanshawe, Ryerson University, Nova Scotia Community College and British Columbia Institute of Technology.
Annan said in the final weeks his team had worked five hours a day, every day, to finish their bid.
Contributing to the competition were some 20 sponsors and 60 mentors.
Other winners cited a variety of benefits from entering the competition.
"I have mostly been involved in the residential industry, but this competition allowed me to see how these buildings are built," said Jakob Butrimas, 23, who with George Brown teammates Lillian Nolan, Harshil Kaushal and Amandeep Kaur earned a cheque for winning the Most Professional Bid category.
"That’s something I have not really seen before. So overall it was an excellent learning experience."
The importance of thoroughness from top to bottom was a key takeaway for his teammate Nolan.
"I would say it’s very important to analyze subcontractor quotes, because the teams you bring onto the project with you, if they miss something in their scope you are liable for it, so it is so crucial to not only go through your own work with a fine tooth comb but also the people that are going to be representing you as well."
Besides showcasing the talents of 300 young future construction professionals to possible future employers and giving the students a chance to network with their peers, Compton Cho, director of estimating for Bird Construction and a bid competition platinum sponsor and mentor, identified another benefit of the competition — it’s professionals working closely with educators.
"The greater value is where the industry participates and gives them exposure to the realism that the industry can offer them," said Cho.
"Some of the schools are unable to offer that because they are still on a very theoretical level. But the bid competition is one of the opportunities to say, hey, this is what the industry is going to be like."
Recognized as an exceptional mentor for the second year in a row was Chris Lautenbach of Walsh Canada.
He has worked in four different regions across North America in his career and says that working on a project in British Columbia will help students from other parts of the country learn about the culture of the construction sector in that province.
"Part of helping these students is adapting to different situations and different areas," said Lautenbach.
TCIC simulated student bid competition winners
Most Accurate and Complete
1. SBPS Group, George Brown College
2. JMMW Contracting Inc., George Brown College
3. Nailed It Estimating, B.C. Institute of Technology
1. Graphene Inc., George Brown College
2. SBPS Group, George Brown College
3. HGB Construction Group, George Brown College
Closest to the Target Price
1. Vina Group, George Brown College
2. Trident Construction, George Brown College
3. Vitruvius Incorporated, George Brown College
Innovations Through BIM
Millennium Construction Group, George Brown College