In this article, Angel Leon, Simpson Strong-Tie Training Specialist/Outreach Coordinator and cofounder of Timber-Strong, discusses the creation of this ASCE design build competition, what it teaches architecture and structural engineering students, and how the program will grow in the future.
What is the Timber-Strong Design Build program?
The Timber-Strong events give students real-world construction experience and expands their awareness of wood construction. The Timber-Strong Design BuildSM (TSDBSM) competition challenges student teams with wood design, BIM modeling, structural calculations, and hands-on actual construction of their structures. This type of competition enables student teams to collaborate with one another just as they would in the construction industry.
How was this program founded?
This all started as a Giant Jenga competition and because it was using wood blocks, hence the name Timber Strong. It was founded in late 2017 by Alan Hanson (former Simpson Strong-Tie employee), Michelle Kam Biron (former American Wood Council employee), and Daniel Bartlett and Angel Leon (both with Simpson Strong-Tie). This experience teaches students the value of teamwork, wood design, offsite construction (prefabrication of the work), and planning. Simpson Strong-Tie, along with its partners Karyn Beebe of APA – Engineered Wood Products and Lori Koch of AWC – American Wood Council are the program sponsors. We help with setting the rules and criteria for the competition, and we are present at every event.
How has the program grown over the years?
Since 2018, when we held our first event at Arizona State University PSWC (Pacific Southwest Conference), the event has grown to become a national event that is held at ASCE annual symposia for student competition held in late March through late April throughout the country. In 2022, we held this competition at five locations. This included the University California, San Diego; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; University of Houston; Auburn University; and Florida AM University. This year we had over 200 students participate in this event with roughly 1,500 more in attendance.
What are the future goals of the program?
Our five-year goal is to grow this competition so it will be held in all 18 symposia annually throughout the United States. For the next couple of years, we’re going to be adding between five to seven new symposium locations.
For more information about the competition and guidelines, read the ASCE document here.
Tune in to hear more from students who have participated in past Timber-Strong Design Build competitions.
- 2022 Timber Strong-Build Utah Winners
- University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa Students Take On The Timber-Strong Design Build Competition Team