Student Competition

Iowa State University Wins 2018 Design-Build Student Competition

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DBIA Student Competition

Student chapter teams show-off their design-build skills to industry leaders.

The National Design-Build Student Competition provides young design-builders the opportunity to create a project as a team, present it to some of the industry’s leading pros and earn national recognition for their good work. DBIA’s student competition provides an unparalleled opportunity for students to meet and impress design-build industry leaders one-on-one.

Congratulations to the 2018 National Champion, Iowa State University, This year’s competition was close with only a few points separating the three teams. Following the champion Iowa State team was the Milwaukee School of Engineering in second place for the second consecutive year, and Seminole State College of Florida taking third place.

2018 Winners
2018 Regional Winners

Congratulations to this Year's Regional Student Design-Build Competition Winners

  • Inspire Design-Build (Iowa State University)
  • Tripple M Design and Construction (Milwaukee School of Engineering)
  • Rocky Mountain Design-Build (Montana Tech of the University of Montana)
  • Parallel Design-Build (Oklahoma State University)
  • Logistics Design and Construction (Roger Williams University)
  • Student Living Solutions (University of Arizona)
  • Cal Construction (University of California Berkeley)
  • Cascade Builders (University of Washington)
  • Tekton Building Solutions (Seminole State College of Florida)
2018 National Finalists

Meet the 2018 National Design-Build Student Competition Finalists

  • 1st Place – Inspire Design-Build (Iowa State University)
  • 2nd Place – Tripple M Design and Construction (Milwaukee School of Engineering)
  • 3rd Place – Tekton Building Solutions (Seminole State College of Florida)
Design-Build Student Competition

Project Details for the 2018 National Student Competition

Each year a unique project is chosen to challenge our student design-build competitors. This year’s project is a 2–3 floor student resident hall on an American college campus.

Student Competition Rules and Guidelines

Student Competition Overview

The Design-Build Institute of America’s (DBIA) 2018 student competition closely mirrors best practices in design-build project delivery. The two-phase competition involves the collaboration of students from diverse backgrounds, including architecture and construction management, responding to a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) for a student residence hall on a college campus in the United States. Finalists from the Regional judging will then respond to a Request for Proposal (RFP) and the top three short-listed teams will present in person at DBIA’s annual conference in New Orleans.

The Student Competition rules are highlighted online; however, teams should also download the complete Design-build Student Competition Resources here:


2018 Design-Build Student Competition Project Description
Phase 1 Request for Qualifications
Phase 2 Request for Proposal

Pre-Solicitation Criteria

Each year, the DBIA Student Competition committee defines unique project details for that year’s competition.

2018 Project Details:

The project is a residence hall on a college campus in the United States. The residence hall will also house a Student Residential Academic Program (SRAC) and dining hall. The residence hall will be utilized during the summer months for various conferences and athletic summer camps. Facilities, programs and partnerships of faculty, staff and students need to be committed to supporting this living-learning environment to allow the further development of the student residential academic program. The complete project scope and budget is being finalized and will be presented with the RFQ on September 12, 2018. Assumed program elements at this time include:

  1. Two (2) to three (3) floor student residence hall
  2. A combination of double bedroom units, suites and apartment style units to provide a diverse mix of options
  3. Student Residential Academic Program study areas, classrooms and seminar areas
  4. Resident Assistant units
  5. Faculty in Residence and Hall Director apartments to support the SRAC and residential life programs
  6. Dining Hall
  7. Office and support areas
  8. Common facilities will be provided to allow for student activities that promote personal growth and social interests that will include lounges, common kitchens and outdoor spaces
  9. Support spaces — loading dock, mechanical, electrical, trash, storage

The Building Committee is in the process of finalizing the required program requirements and will present to the Board on September 6, 2018 for final approval. Currently the assumed program elements are:

  1. Proposed project is anticipated to be between 50,000 and 60,000 square footage
  2. Anticipated Fixed Limit of Project Cost is between $16,000,000 and $19,000,000.
  3. Schedule details:Issue RFQ September 2018
    Program will be included in the RFQ
    RFP to shortlisted firms will be issued October 2018

Project Details

Phase 1: Request for Qualifications—Regional Competition

Teams competing first at the regional level will be asked to prepare a Request for Qualifications (RFQ). The RFQ response provides the team experience in responding to a typical industry RFQ while identifying the team’s overall understanding of the design-build process. The RFQ is specifically written to address a project on a college campus that is not a real campus project but utilizes typical industry approaches to RFQs.

The RFQ will ask you to provide information to solidify your team’s ability to be a design and construction partner with the college specifically for this Residence Hall including, but not limited to:

  • Design-Build Team specifics — integrated firm or design and construction firms forming a JV, teaming alliance, etc.
  • Design-Build Team’s similar work experience in building type
  • Design-Build Team experience working together (if not an integrated firm)
  • Project Team Key Personnel Qualifications and resumes

The RFQ will also address the following:

  • Design
  • Schedule
  • Cost

The scoring criteria will be included with the RFQ. This is a summary of the RFQ expectations. All teams should download the full RFQ rules below.

RFQ Judging

There will be nine (9) first-place Regional winners.

Complimentary registration will be awarded to each team (faculty advisor and students) for the National DBIA Design-Build Conference & Expo in November. Faculty sponsor and team will receive a minimum of $1,500 from their Region to assist in making their own round-trip plane, rental car and hotel reservations. All teams are expected that if chosen as the winner for their Region, they will attend the annual conference. The $1,500 is ONLY to be used for travel and expenses for team to attend the DBIA conference.

RFQ Rules

Phase 2: Request for Proposal—National Competition

The competition is not a design competition, scheduling competition, estimating competition or a construction competition. All of these components will be important in the response to the RFP, specifically Design Excellence, but the competition is to test the team’s ability to look at the problem globally and respond to the whole process, not just one area. These are critical in an industry RFP response and the judges will look for how teams approach each one of these areas and combine them in developing your program response. The logical process and consistency utilized in your design to address the program functional requirements, while providing an aesthetically appealing structure, structure constructability, design and construction schedule, overall design and construction management, and overall cost is important.

This is a summary of the RFP expectations. All teams should download the full RFQ rules below.

What’s Next

The top three highest scoring teams will present in-person at the Design-Build Conference & Expo in November before the National Jury. The top three teams will have three rooms (each) reserved for them at the conference hotel and receive $3,000 for travel and lodging expenses. DBIA will provide complimentary registration to each team and faculty advisor.

RFP Rules

Competition Schedule

Phase 1​ ​

May 1–September 6, 2018: Team Registration

September 11, 2018: Letter of Intent (LOI) from Team Faculty Advisor Due

September 12, 2018: Request for Qualifications Issued

September 14, 2018: Virtual RFQ Meeting — Mandatory — 3:00pm EDT

September 26, 2018: Request for Qualifications Due

October 3, 2018: Region Competition Winners Announced

Phase 2​ ​

October 3, 2018: Request for Proposals Issued

October 4, 2018: Virtual RFP Meeting — Mandatory

October 22, 2018: Request for Proposals Due

October 30, 2018: Three Short-listed Teams Announced

November 8, 2018: ​Proposal Presentation in New Orleans

November 9, 2018: ​National Competition Winner Announced


2018 Design-Build Student Competition Project Description
Phase 1 Request for Qualifications
Phase 2 Request for Proposal

Student Competition Region Structure

Teams participating in Phase One – Request for Qualifications (RFQ) of the DBIA Student Competition will compete in one of nine geographic regions. Nine first-place winners in the Phase One (RFQ) Regional competition will move on to Phase Two of the national competition and receive a Request for Proposals (RFP).

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University of Colorado Boulder

University of Colorado Boulder,

"As a student, you don't get a lot of chances to talk to the higher-ups within an organization. If you do well, they seek you out and want to get to know you. I think being in the top three allows you the reverse of normal students. Rather than you trying to seek out a job, people seek you out to offer you a job. We had at least one person say, ‘If you want a job, you have one with Company X.’"

Washington State University,

"DBIA's Student Competition was a learning experience of a lifetime—it provided 'real world' challenges that made us stronger and prepared for future success."

Sacramento State,

"This is a national professional organization that supports students in the competition; it’s as real-life as they can get and we can’t wait to enter next year!"

DBIA Membership

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