Co-founded by modular building specialist Fleetwood Australia and prefabAUS, the Fleetwood Challenge Cup was established to champion the development of modern methods of construction (MMC) capability among the architects, engineers and related AEC design professionals of tomorrow, in particular by creating linkages between industry and academia.
Each year through a representative steering committee, the competition will articulate a contemporary design challenge topic, with competition submission requirements to be assessed by an expert judging panel.
Brendan Pope, Head of Innovation & Marketing at Fleetwood Australia, told Built Offsite a steering committee had been established for the competition and that participating institutions for the inaugural edition had been approached.
“At this stage the technical aspects and details of the competition are still being worked through in collaboration with our university partners,” he said. “I can however confirm that the current proposal is for two teams per institution to compete, drawn from both undergraduate and postgraduate cohorts, with entries to be made via an online portal. We’re also looking at a design topic proposal for the 2019/2020 competition, which looks likely to be medium density affordable housing in the multi-level (two to four storey) category.”
At the time of writing, Pope confirmed a number of universities had flagged their interest in participating:
- Queensland University of Technology and University of Queensland
- Western Sydney University and University of Sydney
- Monash University and University of Melbourne
- Curtin University University of Tasmania
Pope confirmed that the annual competition will bring a new focal point to the prefabAUS Conference line-up each year. Each contest will culminate at an awards event at the prefabAUS Conference, which will also provide the context for the launch of the following year’s competition, with the announcement of university partners and the competition brief.
Following the competition launch each September, each university will field teams which then complete the design competition through the first semester of the subsequent academic year. The design challenge and submission deliverables have been framed as a uniform benchmark. This would allow maximum flexibility for the competition to complement each university’s course work and unique circumstances. In addition to identifying and agreeing the competition design challenge and submission deliverables, the steering committee will be responsible for the program of works required at the respective universities to facilitate and execute the competition.
Key benefits of the Challenge Cup program include opportunities for industry participation via general lecturing openings and/or targeted mentoring, with an emphasis on ongoing support for the competition teams via Q&A forums. Contestants will gain exposure to industry best practice, with prizes awarded to first, second and third place entries.
Competition judging criteria, team size and academic level will be managed to ensure a fair and equitable competition.
Pope said linkages between industry and academia were among the proposed sectoral gains from the competition.
“One of the pain points we’ve observed in the emerging offsite construction sector is that there are inefficiencies in the way design interfaces with manufacturing for construction. One of the aims of the competition is to give students early exposure to best practice in this space.”
“We see the Fleetwood Challenge Cup as a way of giving back to the industry,” he said. “And we certainly see one of our longer term aims as being to grow capacity in offsite construction. The way to achieve this is by fostering the skills to contribute to a healthy industry that can offer clients a wide range of procurement options.”■