Student designs building solutions for communities

Student designs building solutions for communities

A barrier to control flooding in rural New South Wales has been judged the winning design out of 100 students project in this year’s Engineering Creative Design Competition.

First year engineering students Rowan Caldwell, Hamish Kerr, Danian Makeham and Simon Pulawski won the student design project with their concept for temporary flood barriers.

The competition, run by UOW’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences (EIS) for 45 years, tests the design and problem solving skills of almost 400 first-year engineering students.

Grouped in teams of four, the students are required to come up with engineering solutions for community-based challenges.

The 2014 competition placed emphasis on designs that would improve the lives of people with disabilities, improve aboriginal housing, waste management solutions and sustainable development. 

The winning group of students – Danian Makeham, Simon Pulawski, Hamish Kerr and Rowan Caldwell – designed and built a model of a flood control barrier, called a levee gate, to combat flooding in Wagga Wagga that would help lessen the social, financial and environmental effects of natural disasters.

Group members Danian Makeham and Hamish Kerr are from the Wagga Wagga area and have seen first-hand the impact of flooding on the city. The most recent major flood was in 2012, which led to hundreds of residents being evacuated when the Murrumbidgee River burst its banks.

Jake Pulo, Reon Rossouw, Blake Bowman and Noah Green designed a model for a waste management system for mountain regions Sri Lanka.

Their innovative design was for a semi-permanent structure that could be quickly and safely erected as floodwaters rise and removed when they subside.

“The most important thing is the speed the levee can be erected,” Danian said. “The council has put in permanent flood levees to protect much of the city but there are still gaps, such as where major roads are. It takes a lot of effort and time to fill and place sandbags to protect those areas and also to evacuate people.”

The group’s project also won the People's Choice Award and Best Oral Presentation.

Other winning groups on the night (Thursday 20 November) were the Cube Master 3000 team of Anthony De Santis, Ty Healy, Torben Heinzel and Rebekah Panozzo, who took out the Most Patentable Award.

Cube Master 3000 team members Torben Heinzel, Rebekah Panozzo and Anthony DeSasntis.

The Cube Master 3,000 is an electronic device that opens and shuts window blinds automatically according to light conditions. It gives the impression the home is occupied to minimise break-ins and burglaries when residents are on holidays.

The team of Blake Bowman, Noah Green, Jake Pulo and Reon Rossouw won Best Model for a waste management system for the mountainous region of Adams Peak, Sri Lanka.

The concept revolutionises the transportation of rubbish without electricity. 

The Creative Design prizes were sponsored by Spruson & Ferguson, PHD Engineering Pty Ltd, Engineers Australia Illawarra/Sutherland Branch, Project Portfolio Management and the Faculty of Engineering and Information Sciences.