Questions and Answers

Q. What is considered a 'prop'?

A. This question comes up frequently, and it is really up to the discretion of the judges.  The rule of thumb for this is that if you can build it with cans, do!  Judges are instructed to consider an item a prop if it adds materially to the design of the structure and is not made out of canned food.  Remember- our overall goal is to raise as much food for the MidSouth Food Bank as we can, so all-can structures are highly recommended.  You may use a poster board to display your structure title - but be sure there is no information about your team (school, member names, etc.) on the poster.  This will be removed prior to judging if it has team details on it.

Q. The rules say only 5 people working at one time. Does that mean only 5 people are allowed around the design at once or can they have people on the sidelines that they can swap out with during the build? And if people are allowed on the sidelines, are the sideliner’s allowed to give suggestions to the ones working? Or do the same 5 have to see it thru start to finish, no help at all?

A. They may only have 5 people physically building at one time.  They may have other team members and may swap out at any time (frequently teams are coordinated by layers or sections of the design, and they swap out as they get to the next layer/section).  The sideline people may talk to the 5 official builders.  The sidelines may (and are encouraged to) also keep the area around the build site clean as boxes are emptied by the builders.

Q. I read they are allowed to have a foam core. Is that common practice or is it discouraged over having a can core?  

A. Can core is preferred, as the overall goal of this event is to raise as much food as possible for the Food Bank.  Judges will also score this negatively if they determine that the foam is used for structural support.  All structures should be self-supporting with cans only.  Other materials should only be used for leveling.

Q. If our team receives monetary donations for our structure outside of that provided by ASCE, do we need to submit documentation?

A. No- As far as outside donations, this is up to the organizations involved.  We only need documentation for the sponsorship money we provide.


Q. Wire is listed as a permissible material - can rebar tying wire be used?

A. In terms of the wire, the primary thing to consider with any of the permissible materials is whether or not the use of the materials constitutes structural support.  While a material may be allowed within the guidelines of the competition, of it is used in such a way that it provides structural support, then the judges have the option to score this lower on this portion of the scoring rubric.

Q. Is registration still open for the 2020 Canstruction competition?

A. No- registration closed in November, and the competition is now full.

Q. Where will the competition be held this year?

A. We will once again be holding the competition in the Rose Theater at the University of Memphis.  We will also be using outdoor spaces on the campus plaza immediately adjacent to the theater.


Q. Will ASCE be providing signs for the teams to put in front of their sculpture? If not, are the teams allowed to bring signs with their team and sculpture name?

A. ASCE will not be providing signs. Signs can not be displayed during judging, but can be used for group photos, etc. Schools are welcome to bring their own signs to use in photographs, but please remove these prior to judging.


Q. Is there a specific theme for this year’s Canstruction structures? 

A. No- teams may choose any theme they would like for their structures this year.


Q. Do the boxes that contain the cans need to be completely closable or can they simply be an open cardboard box like on grocery store shelves? 

A. They may be open like the type on grocery store shelves.


Q. Our school consists of various grade levels of home-schooled students, most being juniors and seniors graduating soon. Concerned about the longevity of their school’s participation, they are wondering if an 8th grader can participate and be part of the team?

A. Definitely! We encourage this!


Q. What is an average funding amount schools should shoot for?

A. This is really up to the school - we typically provide around $100-$150 in funding to each team (based on the sponsorships we are able to secure). Many schools hold fundraisers, canned food drives (for specific cans), or submit applications for donations to local store or request sponsorships from other companies that have an interest in the school.  There is an award for the Biggest Meal, which is given to the team with the greatest number of cans in their structure- remember- this is a service project as well, and all canned food will be donated to the MidSouth Food Bank at the conclusion of the event!


Q. Are there specific design programs other schools use to create their Canstruction structure layout? Is using a design program a requirement?

A. A program is not required. We have teams that use Autocad, Word, or other drawing software to create their design drawing, however; there are also many schools that simply draw their plans by hand. Any of these formats are acceptable.


Q. Is it okay if a few changes occurred between the initial and final proposal? Given examples of these changes could be if the “statement phrase” in their structure and/or if the colors used for their final structure are different from their initial proposed design. The overall shape of the structure would not change.

A. This is absolutely ok- most schools make changes before the final build (and many make changes on the spot during construction!)


Q. When will the checks arrive?

A. Checks are being mailed around March 2 to the contact provided on the team's Sponsor Fund Form.


Q. How should that description on the final proposal differ from the basic proposal submitted in February?

A. The description only differs if a team has made changes to their design (many times as teams get further into the design process they significantly change what they were originally planning to do).

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