Timber-Strong Design BuildSM (TSDBSM) Competitions

Competition expands to eight symposia in 2023, with over 500 students participating.


Timber-Strong Design Build Competition at Cal Poly, SLO, April 2019


Timber-Strong Design Build LogoWhat Students are Saying

  • This is the only competition that brings it all together—design, drawings, BIM, and construction!
  • TSDB matches our school motto, “Learn by doing.”
  • BIM helped us catch load path mistakes before the build.
  • The Timber-Strong Design Build Competition is by far the most involved temporary technical team out of the others.
  • I think this competition is great!!!!

The TSDB Experience

APA – The Engineered Wood Association has been a proud sponsor of the ASCE's Timber-Strong Design Build competitions since 2019. The goal of the TSDB competition is to provide unique insights and hands-on experience to the next generation of structural engineers involved in sustainable design and construction.

“This competition is a good place to test what we learn,” said Daniel Look, captain of the 2019 Cal Poly Pomona team. The structural engineering senior, who had just earned his Engineer in Training certification, and his team built their entry with a grass-topped roof to serve as insulation, light paint coating to reflect heat and lightweight design to conserve resources.

“Wood is a lot more sustainable,” Look said. “We wanted to take full advantage of the material.”

Student team competes at TSDB 2023By preparing a project bid, performing analysis and managing the construction process, each team acts as a design/build construction firm while competing in a friendly environment. The top three designs are awarded a cash prize.

“Sustainability was important to us,” said Emmy Park, co-captain of the 2019 University of Southern California team, who pointed out to the judges during their presentation that they used as little non-wood material as possible. Park’s co-captain Kirsten Briggs agreed. “Wood is the only naturally occurring building material,” she said. “You know where it comes from, and you know it can be reused or recycled.”

Looking Forward to 2024—and Learn More from ASCE

2024 symposia locations have not yet been finalized, though APA and other sponsors expect an even stronger event next year. Learn more about eligibility, guidelines and rules of the competition at ASCE's Timber-Strong Design Build Competition webpage.

TSDB Winners


Student teams compete in 2023 TSDB2023

Gulf Coast Symposia
1st place: University of Alabama
2nd place: Louisiana Tech
3rd place: University of South Alabama
BIM: Alabama
Hosted by: University of South Alabama

PNW Symposia
1st place: Montana Tech
Hosted by: Montana State

Intermountain Symposia
1st place: Utah State
2nd place: Arizona State
3rd place: Boise St
BIM: Utah State
Hosted by: University of Nevada, Reno

PSW Symposia
1st place: Cal Poly SLO
2nd place: UC Irvine
3rd place: UCSD tied CSU Northridge
BIM: UC Irvine
Hosted by: Cal State Northridge

Southeast Symposia
1st place: FSU
2nd place: University of Florida
3rd place: University of Central Florida
Hosted by: University of North Florida

Mid-Pacific Symposia
1st place: Zhejiang University
BIM: Tongi University
Hosted by: Cal State U Chico

Region 6 Symposia
1st place: LeTourneau
2nd place: Angelo State
3rd place: UT Tyler
BIM: Texas Tech
Hosted by: West Texas A&M

Indiana-Kentucky Symposia
1st place: Purdue
2nd place: Cleveland State
3rd place: Michigan Tech
Hosted by: Western Kentucky University

Student teams compete in 2022 TSDB2022

SE Symposia
1st place: FAMU-FSU
2nd place: University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez
3rd place: FAU
Hosted by: FAMU-FSU

Gulf Coast Symposia
1st place: Auburn University
BIM: Auburn University
Hosted by: Auburn University

Region 6 Symposia
1st place: LeTourneau University
BIM: LeTourneau University
Hosted by: University of Houston

PSW Symposia
1st place: U of Hawaii at Manoa
2nd place: CSU Long Beach
3rd place: UCLA
Hosted by: UCSD

Intermountain SW Symposia
1st place: U of Utah
2nd place: NAU
3rd place: U of Arizona
Hosted by: UNLV


1st place: UCLA
2nd place: CSU Fullerton
3rd place: University of Hawaii at Manoa


1st place: CSU Fullerton
2nd place: UCLA
3rd place: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo

Student teams building at the 2022 TSDB2019

2019 NCSEA Summit
1st Place: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
2nd Place: UCLA
3rd Place: University of Kentucky
Host: Disneyland® Hotel, Anaheim, California

Pacific Southwest Conference
1st Place: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo
2nd Place: University of Arizona
3rd Place: UCLA
Host: Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo