Constructionarium – Get Involved!

Constructionarium – Get Involved!

Jen Stedman, Project Co-ordinator for Constructionarium (Scotland) Ltd has written a guest CECA Scotland blog on how CECA  members can get involved.

What is Constructionarium?

Established over ten years ago, Constructionarium provides a “hands-on” construction experience for students and professionals; where participants construct scaled down versions of bridges, buildings, dams and civil engineering projects from all around the world.

The principle is to link academic institutes with industry and to ensure that the students can apply the knowledge they have gained in a practical, safe and relevant environment.

The basic model consists of a triangle formed by an academic institution, a contractor and a consultant; working in partnership to deliver a new learning experience which combines the academic perspective with those of the design professional and practical site delivery.  Delegates are assessed throughout the week in respect of budgetary control, methodology and project management.

Scottish Projects include

Barcelona Tower 

Based on the spectacular 1991 design by Norman Foster, delegates build a central hollow concrete tubular tower of which the top consists of a light aluminium fabricated spire.                          

Kingsgate Footbridge 

Designed by Ove Arup in 1967, this “simple concept elegantly expressed” need to ensure the accuracy in the setting out of the steel supports using very tight tolerances.  This supports the two precast segments which form the continuous structure.

Millennium Galleries (E,S)

Buro Happold’s 1996 design is recreated as a challenging project where setting out needs to be precise.  Excellent communications between work groups is important to ensure the accurate fit of the rounded precast roof.

So basically, we take students from all over Scotland and throw them in at the deep end, but with the aid of a safety ring.

By the end of their week, on completion of their projects, we have a group of exhausted and exstatic students, who have not only learned how to hold a hammer, but the importance of the whole process from Method Statements and Risk Assessments to Topping Out.

This can have a huge impact on the direction of their future careers, not only building on their understanding but personal development and sense of achievement.

How do we know this?  The feedback from previous participants speaks for itself.

“I remember the week itself being pretty cold and tiring but one of the most rewarding things that I ever did at university! It really helped me to gain some practical and hands on skills, as well as the necessary social skills for interacting on site. I think the Constructionarium helped with my subsequent summer placements, and for those students who have never worked on site then the experience is particularly influential and a great thing to discuss in interviews.”

How can CECA Scotland members help?

Constructionarium is a non profit group. We rely on contractors and suppliers to help us deliver the experiences I’ve outlined above.

Many of the contractors who have already helped out have well established connections with the University or College they support.  They provide a Site Manager, a joiner and a steelfixer to show the students practical skills and in the majority of cases some of the essential materials.

We are hoping to broaden our scope to include the whole of Scotland by delivering projects ‘on site’ in the Highlands and Islands.

What we need is help with the nuts and bolts, both literally and actually.

If you can lend some support, no matter how small, to help stock the store, or want to lend your expertise as part of your Community Engagement obligations, please contact Jen Stedman, Project Coordinator, Constructionarium (Scotland) Ltd either by phone on 01501 750913, 07961 591907 or by email or connect via Linkedin.