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TCIC bid competition a prep for the future, say students

Kelly Lapointe
TCIC bid competition a prep for the future, say students
Teams from George Brown College did well at this year’s simulated student bid competition. Husky Construction (won first place in the Closest to the Target Price category.

New aspects in The Construction Institute of Canada’s (TCIC) Simulated Student Bid Competition set the stage for students to both gain industry knowledge and be able to contribute right away in construction.

This year’s students had a new two-stage bidding process with an electronic bid submission using Infinite Source on the first day followed by a hard copy submission 24 hours later. The online surety and bonding system Xenex was used for this first time this year.

“We used the competition as an opportunity to push the envelope and push the students into learning what is going to come down the pipeline and the industry,” said Jonathan Matthews, executive director 2014 TCIC Student Bid Competition and a member of the 2013 winning team.

Ricky Patel, team member for Husky Construction who won first place in the Closest to the Target Price category, said the George Brown College team welcomed the new online aspect of the competition.

“This industry is progressing towards technology so I thought it was pretty neat that we got to use that this year because I think that’s a trend moving forward. The fact that we got exposed to it now is going to be helpful for us later on,” he said.

Fellow Husky Construction members Alistair Robitaille, Justin Lima and Tristan Mulder, along with Patel, were shocked that they came closest to the target price and were fourth place in the Most Accurate and Complete category because they voluntarily entered the competition as it is not part of their program’s curriculum.

“Since we were the ones who volunteered and actually took the initiative to do it ourselves, it makes it even more of an accomplishment,” said Lima.

The team noted that they were “behind the eight ball” going into the competition compared to several teams who had such experience through their curriculum.

The target price was $12,071,961 and Husky came in at $12,219,796. MCHeights Constructors, also from George Brown, took second place in the category.

Teams from George Brown College swept the top three spots in the Most Accurate and Complete category with E-TOP Construction claiming the top $2,000 prize, ACJM Construction in second place and Orbix Construction Inc. in third.

E-TOP Construction team members Parham Shakeri, Olusola Akinnifesi, Tarek Bakir and Ebrahim Kafi Farashah said it was a great learning opportunity and the closest thing to having a simulation of the real world.

The number one thing Bakir will take away from the competition is “finishing a project on time and scheduling how you’re going to do what and at what time…you definitely pick up a lot of estimating and technical knowledge along the way.”

The competition was also an opportunity for the team members to work with mentor Craig Lesurf of Walsh Canada and who they learned a great deal from.

“We all wanted to achieve that level of professionalism that this competition brings to the table and relate that to our future careers,” said Shakeri.

Econstruction from the British Columbia Institute of Technology and JYPL Construction Ltd. tied for first place in the Most Professional category.

This year more local construction associations from across the country were involved in the competition and a new esteemed mentor award was created to recognize the role industry leaders played in helping mentor the teams.

“This is the truest form of applied learning. What makes it real is industry gets involved and makes sure that whatever we are putting our for the students in terms of the bid competition is current, has all the nuances that we experience day in and day out in the industry,” said John Mollenhauer, president of the Toronto Construction Association (TCA).

Esteemed mentor awards from the TCA went to Sam Ferrari principal of Castleridge Homes, PCL executive vice-president Chris Gower and Lucas Driussi, assistant project manager at Walsh Canada.

Debbie Mackay, contracts manager at Lark Group and Rob Pellaers, chief estimator at Bird Construction from the Vancouver Regional Construction Association were recognized as esteemed mentors.

James Melendez, project manager at PCL was recognized from the Winnipeg Construction Association.

Wanda Smith, cost consultant and project manager for Altus Group, was recognized from the Construction Association of Nova Scotia.

StuCor Construction Ltd. from the Niagara Construction Association was recognized as an esteemed mentor.

Enrollment in the competition has been growing exponentially and this year, with the addition of the Nova Scotia Community College, and the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology, it truly became a competition spanning coast to coast. This year was the first the awards gala was streamlined live online.

“It couldn’t be more exciting. Construction is construction across Canada the provinces and cities have nuances, but the process is essentially the same from coast to coast,” said Mollenhauer.

“The more schools that participate, the better and the industry wins. As the world becomes flat and as we’re doing work as contractors across Canada and around the globe, it’s nice to see Canadian students coming out of the college and university system in something construction specific, so well prepared to make an enormous contribution when they arrive at an employer.”

Follow Kelly Lapointe on Twitter @DCNKelly.

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