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The McMaster Seismic Design Team at a competition in 2019.

McMaster Seismic Design Team competing among world's top 10 at annual design competitionFebruary 28, 2020

The team will compete in the top 10 at this year's International Seismic Design Competition in San Diego, California.

The McMaster Seismic Design Team will take the stage at the Earthquake Engineering Research Institute (EERI) Undergraduate Seismic Design Competition ranked among the world’s top 10 teams.  

This is the team’s fourth time competing in the event, but the first time making it to the top 10. 

The competition is hosted by the EERI in partnership with the National Earthquake Conference (NEC) from March 2 to 6 in San Diego, Calif. Every year, undergraduate teams submit an extensive design proposal of an earthquake-resilient building, following unique guidelines set by the competition organizers. 

“It’s very, very intense and we spend probably around 150 hours on it, just writing, re-writing, editing, talking to graduate students, talking to our faculty advisor, and just making it perfect,” says Heather Daigle, fourth-year civil engineering and management student and co-captain of the McMaster Seismic Design Team. 

In San Diego, teams will shake their building in front of an audience with hopes that the structure stays intact. Then, they’ll present the architectural and structural design of the building to a panel of judges. 

Jiwoo Heo, fourth-year civil engineering student and co-captain of the team, says since the club began at McMaster in 2015, its focus has always been student development. 

“We try to mimic what an actual company or firm would look like in terms of making a proposal, getting the design constraints, and then communicating with the architectural and structural teams,” he said. The team also offers tutorials for software programs such as Revit and Photoshop for its members. 

“Seeing how much progress we make as a team year to year is really cool to see,” said Youssef Heikal, fourth-year civil engineering student and the team’s structural captain. 

The team has 15 members from the broader seismic design club, which has about 60 general members from various disciplines. Daigle says though many students in the club are in engineering, they've had executive and general members from the Faculty of Science.  

“We’re always reaching out to new people because having different perspectives is one of the key things that helps us to grow as a team,” Daigle said. 

Mohamed Ezzeldin, the team’s faculty advisor, says he’s proud to oversee a team that encourages students in multiple facets. 

“We are connecting undergrad students with industrial partners, faculty members, other students – all within one loop,” he said. “Being in the top 10 this year is something very big for the team and for McMaster, as well.” 

This year’s sponsors for the McMaster Seismic Design Team include the Tecoustics, WSP, Hydro One, PCL Construction, Robinson Consultants, 3D Storage Solutions, Region of Halton, McMaster Engineering Society, Department of Civil Engineering, Engineering Co-op and Career Services, McMaster Students Union and the Faculty of Engineering.