Engineering students from 18 universities in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Hawaii will get hands-on experience building with wood in the Timber Strong Design-Build competition. Timber Strong is part of the Pacific Southwest Conference (PSWC), the American Society of Civil Engineers’ (ASCE) annual three-day competition that challenges students to put their civil and environmental engineering skills to the test through a series of competitions. This year’s event takes place April 12 to 14 in Tempe, AZ, co-hosted by Northern Arizona University and Arizona State University.
Teams of four to six members, including at least one female, must design and build a wood framed structure scaled within a 4’ x 6’ x 6’ box (W x L x H). Intended to give the students real world experience, teams will prepare a project bid complete with a preliminary design, budget estimates, structural calculations and estimated carbon footprint. They’ll be expected to incorporate sustainability features such as rainwater capture systems or solar paneling on the rooftops. Teams will assemble their structure in real time within a 15’ x 15’ area and receive additional points for the fastest construction. Each entry will undergo a stress test. Judges will hang buckets filled with 135 pounds of sand to the cantilever roof beam to test vertical load. Timber Strong is sponsored by the Binational Softwood Lumber Council and Simpson Strong-Tie Company Inc. It is coordinated by the American Wood Council.
About 1,500 civil and environmental engineering students compete in PSWC each year. The event concludes with an awards banquet recognizing the winning teams and individuals.