A team from Arup’s Solihull office led from start to finish in the finals of the 2012 Merit prize at Loughborough University earlier this month.
Now in its 24th year, Merit is a web-based computer simulation that allows participants, working in groups and acting as a board of directors and managers, to run their own construction company.
It encourages teamwork and shows how managerial and technical decisions can affect a company’s financial performance and share price.
“Merit”stands for management, enterprise, risk, innovation and teamwork.
Loughborough University’s Professor Ron McCaffer originated the competition as a paper-based contest in 1988.
The event is supported by the ICE’s management board.
A total of 52 teams entered this year, with the early rounds played remotely against the computer. Then the leading six teams met in Loughborough, to compete against each other in the finals over two days.
The Impossible Mission Force team from Arup held the lead from the preliminary rounds, and extended it during the finals.
The team members are all working on the High Speed 2 rail project. Team leader Areeb Khan is a graduate engineer, while the other five - Tom Price, Callum O’Connell, Scott Hadgkiss, Mat Barnett and Nicola Bodman - are technicians who joined Arup on leaving school.
Each of the technicians has completed a Higher National Certificate and Diploma (HNC and HND) in Civil Engineering as part of their training at Arup.
They are all now working to attain EngTech TMICE, IEng MICE, or CEng MICE qualifications with the ICE.
While Arup was romping ahead, the excitement was generated in the battle behind, with Gaussian Eliminators team from Australian consultant Aurecon coming from last to second in the very last round.
The 2012 sponsor’s prize also went to Aurecon, which had put up eight teams.
The firm had used Merit to foster teamwork across its various offices in Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, with generally no more than one member of each team from the same office. Two reached the
final, and the firm paid to fly both teams to England.
For the first time ever, half the finalists came from overseas, with Atkins fielding a team from Hong Kong.
The other finalists were from Atkins’ Warrington office and from Skanska.