THE FANTASY league of the construction industry, MERIT, returns next year. Last year saw around 800 engineers in 148 teams from around 80 different organisations compete for a silver salver and a cheque for £2,000.
The game was established in 1987 and has been run by Loughborough University since last year. Computer simulation is used to 'provide the essentials for construction professionals to augment their technical knowledge with the managerial skills required to run a modern construction company'.
Last year's finalists 'WSP Magpies' enthuse that it is 'a fascinating insight into the world of construction management, and great fun too - we just wish we could win it!'
The competition makes a valuable training tool, with participants learning how to manage their own company by making decisions affecting various functions of the business.
Starting from a historical position of one year's trading, the team, operating as a board of directors, runs the company and competes for contracts in a simulated construction market which is updated regularly to match the turbulent nature of the real industry.
Leading teams from the early rounds then compete in the final where they are pitched against both computer simulated companies and each other in a battle for jobs, staff and, ultimately, profit.
This approach exposes participants to aspects of construction management that may be unfamiliar or unpractised, and provides a view of the entire construction process.
The ICE recognises the experience that the game provides by making CPD credits available to all participants.
Registration for MERIT 2001 begins in October. Entry costs £375 per team, with reduced rates for full time students.