The Design Challenge

The Design Challenge
June 4, 2013 -

The design department at Security Fire Protection in Memphis, Tenn., competed in a design-team challenge that took place in conjunction with their fourth quarter 2012 outing. The contest was intended to simulate a field environment and test participants' basic design skills. Three teams with two designers each competed for the grand prize of a $50 gift card.

"The idea for the contest grew from a desire for designers to have more field experience. Due to union rules, designers are not able to handle or install the sprinkler systems they design," said Design Manager Jeremy Cross.

"This challenge was about giving our employees perspective on the whole- process concept of what we do," Cross said. "It allowed the designers to get a feel for and appreciate the work of our sprinkler fitters while giving the fitters the opportunity to critique the designers."

The Contest

The contest consisted of two timed parts. Teams first designed the fire protection system layout for a fictitious warehouse including performing a hand calculation. Then teams budgeted and purchased materials, followed by a timed assembly and installation contest in a simulated worksite. Scores were based on design, material costs and procurement, proper installation, adherence to design, and proper use of PPE.

The event focused on design fundamentals, hands-on experience, group problem solving and fun. Many employees from other departments came out to watch the installation portion of the competition and designers gained an enhanced appreciation for how the fitters adapt to challenges of design implementation.

"We hope to make it an annual event that everyone can look forward to," said Sheldon Dacus, vice president of technical services. Ideas are already rolling in for the next contest following the success of the whole-process challenge.

For more information about how to create a whole-process challenge at your company, please email Sheldon Dacus or Jeremy Cross at: [email protected] or [email protected]

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