Blockfest competition gives construction students real-life experience

Blockfest, a structure building competition made possible by Oldcastle Adams, recently came to ECU, where 42 construction students participated in the daylong event.

Blockfest, a structure building competition made possible by Oldcastle Adams, recently came to ECU, where 42 construction students participated in the daylong event. (Contributed photos)

Construction management students recently competed in Blockfest, a design and craft competition in which seven teams of 42 students had to dry-stack a structure using a selection of concrete masonry units (CMU) that were provided by Oldcastle Adams products of Goldsboro.

Before competition day, the teams created an 11-by-17 presentation board that showed the plans and elevations of their proposed structures. On the day of the competition, teams had two hours to build the structures, which had to be approximately 48 inches tall and not exceed a maximum site size of 6-by-6.

Once the students completed construction of the structures, which ranged from benches to grills to firepits, industry judges reviewed the structures. The winning structure was built by Cailey Hastings (team leader), Adam Ghanayem and Andrew Dickerson.

The student team that built the winning structure included Andrew Dickerson, standing and front row, left to right, Adam Ghanayem and Cailey Hastings.

The student team that built the winning structure included Andrew Dickerson, standing and front row, left to right, Adam Ghanayem and Cailey Hastings.

Brett Hardy, vice president of sales for Oldcastle Adams, serves on the advisory board for the College of Engineering and Technology’s Department of Construction Management. He says the competition allows the students to learn more about the CMUs they’ll encounter once in the real world.

“This is the future of our industry (the students),” said Hardy. “I think it’s important for them to understand the different material types.”

Construction sophomore Nathaniel Matthewson levels sand for the base for a structure built during Blockfest.

Construction sophomore Nathanial Mathewson levels sand that served as the base for a structure built during Blockfest.

“It’s like a live lab for them to get hands-on experience,” said Dr. Amin Akhnoukh, assistant professor in construction management.

Akhnoukh said the competition is much more than building the structure. Each team had to not only supply the drawings, but also had to coordinate the purchasing and delivery of materials.

This year’s Blockfest was the third time the event has been held at ECU.

 

-by Michael Rudd, University Communications