What Design/Build Is
Recognizing the need for a well-trained workforce in the construction industry, in 1987 the then 86-year old Sacramento Builders Exchange initiated a design/build competition among three local high schools. With the guidance of then Executive Vice President, Jim Lambert, teams with supportive instructors and administrators from Sacramento, Rio Linda and San Juan secondary schools were assembled, and the three teams gathered in the parking lot behind the exchange building to construct their designed projects.
Given the clear need and the value of the experienced gained through this interaction with the industry, additional schools modified their programs to incorporate this program into their annual curriculum. In 2016, the 30th Anniversary Design/Build Competition will host 15 regional high schools entering 16 teams into this interactive opportunity.
How Design/Build Works
Following defined criteria provided by SRBX, each team completes the challenge of designing and preparing construction documents for a 96 square-foot structure — which are submitted for plan review by volunteer community plan-checkers and professional architects. Any required corrections must be submitted prior to the construction phase of the project, which take place over a tw0-day period under supervision and a primary focus on safety!
Judging is conducted by a panel of design and construction industry professionals by prescribed criteria — including quality of documentation, planning and design, scheduling, project management and conduct, craftsmanship, teamwork and safety.
The same package of materials is provided to each team, yet the creations of sheds and playhouses have varied greatly over the years — from miniature castles and Victorians, to replicas of California missions, barns and even a jail house! Recent years have brought a focus to Green designs, framing and construction techniques. Each school is allowed to sell their final product and retain the revenue to support their school’s program.
Many of the participating Design/Build teams spend a good part of the year planning and training for the event, and even though it becomes a competition with pride on the line, one of the most notable aspects is the enthusiasm of both students and instructors — and a definite spirit of mutual support and sharing knowledge among teams… helping each realize the best of their potential.