Reflections on winning the CIOB’s Global Student Challenge competition


Reflections on winning the CIOB’s Global Student Challenge competition

Attracting exceptional talent is vital for any industry — we want to attract talented people of all ages, especially young talent since they are the future, after all.

As any construction industry executive will tell you, encouraging young people to consider a career in construction is an industry-wide effort, and for many who have decided to work in the sector, years of study await.

But while the classroom is important, and site visits no doubt give an insight into a particular project, how can students get a taste for the “sharp end” of the business? How can they experience what it might be like to run a construction business and face up to the challenges—and reap the rewards—which that entails?

It was with this in mind that as a global organisation, the Chartered Institute of Building (CIOB) created the Global Student Challenge (GSC), a competition for those studying around the world who want to apply what they have learned in class to as near a real-life scenario as possible.

Now in its eighth year, the challenge is about to reveal the 2021 winners.

Team Tasks

The competition uses MERIT, an online game which simulates managing a construction company.

Teams of four are assigned roles such as financial manager, overheads manager, construction manager and estimating manager, with each team member having their own responsibilities.

Throughout the game each team receives data and graphs in a series of rounds to help analyse the trading performance of their company, including client information, contract value, company financials, share price, investments, turnover, profit, value, overheads, staffing levels, capacity and training costs.

Decisions have to be made and submitted based on this data,. and are then scored against a set of Key Performance Indicators to create a leaderboard.

Bluebeam Support

Bluebeam strongly believes in helping the next generation of construction professionals acquire the skills and experience necessary when entering the industry, and its academic team provides students and universities with free licenses to support them in their studies.

In addition, Bluebeam extends free licenses to all of the teams participating in the GSC to help them with their projects.

Sophie Macks, our Academic Specialist said

“The Bluebeam Academic Program is committed to providing technology access to students and educators in order to help bridge the gap from the classroom to the field and bolster professional preparedness for the next generation of AEC leaders. With that, Bluebeam is thrilled to support the CIOB Global Student Challenge as a direct investment in the future of the industry.”


With the winners of the 2021 GSC about to be announced, we went back to the victors of 2020, DGC Toronto from George Brown College, and asked them about the competition and what winning meant for them.

Bluebeam: Could you briefly explain the appeal for George Brown students in entering this competition?

DGC Toronto: This competition is a great experience for George Brown students to further their education and learn about topics we wouldn’t necessarily be exposed to through our typical program.

Bluebeam: How did the team work together to bring a successful project together?

DGC Toronto: We work extremely well together and relied heavily on each other’s opinions, interpretations and insights to help us develop an effective strategy to put in place. We trust in each other’s individual abilities to make decisions and feed off of each other’s strengths when we discuss the decisions as a group.

Bluebeam: How much time does the team dedicate for the assignment pre, during and post?

DGC Toronto: Our week would begin with us discussing our last submission, trying to see where we went wrong or where we could have improved. Then we would usually grab all the information we could from our new data file and start to sort through our decisions for the current round. Once we have had time to look at this, we consult with our mentors and make some final adjustments to our decision. This would usually consume about 8-10 hours a week.

Bluebeam: What were the biggest learnings/takeaways you gained from participating in the GSC?

DGC Toronto: Capitalise on the current markets and invest in your people! They are the backbone of your company.

Bluebeam: How did your participation in the GSC help you gain insight into what working in the construction industry would be like?

DGC Toronto: Through the competition our team was able to experience different levels of construction management and the skills and requirements involved to run a successful business within the construction industry.

Bluebeam: What skills did your team adopt that they believe will be useful when working in the industry?

DGC Toronto: Realising that in order to compete, we needed to be organised and consider that our decisions have a lasting impact. The value of a team rather than an individual is vital in competing successfully in the business environment.

Bluebeam: How did your team use Revu? What were their favourite features?

DGC Toronto: Our team used Bluebeam Studio to share documents and look at PDFs as we were working remotely for most of the finals due to COVID-19.

Bluebeam: Did you find the software easy to use?

DGC Toronto: Yes, we did. Bluebeam Extreme is quite streamlined with all elements being easy to navigate after a short time operating the program. Bluebeam also offers informative tutorials that help in case of need.

Bluebeam: What in your view were the top three Revu features you used on your project last year?

DGC Toronto: Bluebeam offers great capabilities in the way of document sharing for use and editing in real time; we sought to benefit from this by sharing multiple documents and PDFs we had to share amongst our group members. It also offers great take-off capabilities; however, for this project in question we did not require this functionality as the majority of the project was done through the project’s online server.

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