ABC Carolinas Facilitates SHED Construction Competition for High School Students

Actual shed under construction by students.

Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Carolinas Chapter held its annual Build a SHED competition on Friday, May 3, 2019. The objective of the ABC Carolinas “Students Hands-On Experience Day” program is to promote interest in construction-related careers through experiential learning. ABC has a strong presence in South Carolina through its Upstate, Midlands and Lowcountry councils.

This year's competition, which took place in Ladson, S.C., was held in partnership with the Charleston Metro Chamber for the second consecutive year. ABC Carolinas Chapter and the Charleston Metro Chamber engaged their members to serve as mentors and judges to the six teams from local high schools and one team from Eckerd Connects career-ready youth.

The teams were tasked to build an 8′ x 11′ shed in seven hours. Each team was paired with a contractor and subcontractor coaching team. The participating ABC or Chamber general contractor member partnered with designated subcontractors to show the teamwork needed in construction.

All seven teams used the same blueprint and were mentored by their contractor coaches over a four-month period in the areas of safety, quality, planning, scheduling and communication. The coaches also educated the students on the many available career options in the construction industry, and provided insight into the job application process, resume writing, and interviewing. As part of their preparation for the competition, the students worked diligently to successfully complete their OSHA 10-Hour Certification prior to the event.

Pamela Freeman, regional membership director for ABC Carolinas Chapter, gave a play-by-play account of the day’s activities. “We were so fortunate the weather was not a factor on the day of competition. After a few announcements, the competition kicked off early in the morning with a safety overview. The students focused on their tasks at hand as their coaches watched over them. The excitement really picked up as we watched the walls and rafters going up. The competition ended at 1:30 p.m.”

The competition was judged by a panel of 10 volunteers from local businesses and government agencies or departments. The judges looked at each shed, then evaluated them for technical correctness and completeness on wall framing, siding, roof framing and sheathing, windows, doors and trim. The safety award judging criteria included personal protection equipment, ladder and scaffolding usage, housekeeping and work area, and coaching.

After the judging, three teams — Eckerd Connects, R.B. Stall High School, and Wando High Schools — were awarded first, second and third prize, respectively. Berkeley High School won the Safety Award. Following the awards presentation, the students and their coaches regrouped to finish their sheds.

Angela Latino, President/CEO of ABC Carolinas Chapter, presented Berkeley High School with the Safety Award. Charleston Metro Chamber presented three engraved hammers to the First, Second and Third-Place winners. The First Place winner also received a large trophy.

Baker Roofing finished the roofing the next day with their apprenticeship program. The sheds were auctioned off to the highest bidder. Bidders included participating schools, ABC members, sponsors, local businesses and members of the community. The proceeds will be used to support future talent initiatives, like this one. All sheds were delivered to their new owners that week.

Event organizers and school representatives agree that all teams did a tremendous job working together to build a shed in just 6.5 hours.

About ABC Carolinas Chapter — Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) Chapter represents merit shop contractors and related firms in North Carolina and South Carolina. ABC Carolinas Chapter is part of the national ABC organization which represents more than 26,000 members. For more information and news, visit www.abccarolinas.org.