CAD Design Drafting Competition for High School Students

Sponsored by the National Association of Women in Construction & National Institute for Construction Excellence (NICE).

The National Institute for Construction Excellence and the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) collaborate on a CAD Design Project/Competition which is designed for high school students. The project/contest provides recognition to students for creative design, successful problem solving and craftsmanship in preparing architectural drawings. 

A “Design Problem” is designed by a licensed Architect or Engineer and is generic enough to meet the needs of the area.  Project drawings must include a minimum: Site Plan, Floor Plan, Furniture Plan, Exterior Elevation and Building and Wall Sections.  Students also select two of the following optional sheets: Exterior or Interior Perspective Sketch, Interior Elevations, Landscape Plan, Building Elevations, Mechanical Plan showing ducts, furnace, supply and return grilles, or Foundation Plan. 

Teachers sign up to use the project curriculum in the fall so students can work on the project throughout the school year.   Each school is provided with a copy of the project for the year and the guidelines to participate in the competition. Only one project from each school is submitted for competition.

Project information will be provided to teachers after they register.

Contest Rules, Terms & Conditions

1. Structure of the Competition

The CAD Design Drafting Award Competition is for High School students and will be administered by the NICE Education Coordinator.
Contestants will be judged at the local level initially, and the local winner’s entry, first place in each division, will be submitted for Regional Competition.
The winning entries of the Regional Competition will be submitted for National Competition.

2. Description of Each Competition Division

Hand Drafting: This competition provides recognition to students for creative design, successful problem solving, and craftsmanship in preparing architectural drawings. Entries will be evaluated for detail, accuracy, and originality of work.
CAD: This competition provides recognition to students for creative design, successful problem solving, and appropriate use of technology in preparing architectural drawings. Entries will be evaluated for detail, accuracy, and originality of the work.   

3. Objectives

To introduce the student to the Construction industry in a positive and challenging manner.
To foster a sense of self-worth and to build confidence in the participant. Those choosing to enter the competition are capable of making competent decisions and working independently.
To encourage mentoring programs between students and educators.

4. Architectural Problem

Each school will be furnished with a “Design Problem” designed by
a licensed architect, engineer or design professional.
The design problem will be generic enough to meet the needs of all areas of the U.S.
Participants will be evaluated on the following:
Line Weights
Orientation and Accuracy
5. Eligibility
Any high school student (grades 9 – 12), full or part time, may apply to enter the CAD Design Drafting Award Competition through the sponsoring entity.
Student may be in the United States and enrolled in:
Public or Private High School
Vocational or Technical School (Must not have a HS Diploma or GED)
High School Equivalency Program
Student does not have to be currently enrolled in a drafting or design class.
Student may be home schooled, but the grade equivalency of the student must be verified.

6. Entry Requirements

Design project submitted must be limited to only one student per submittal (no teams). Student’s entry must have the minimum of five required drawings and a maximum of seven required drawings to be judged.

CAD only: Original disks may not be submitted. Submitted entries may be Blue Line
or Black Line (Ozalid) prints, and/or Black Line photocopies. Original plots on bond
paper only (no Mylar) may be submitted in black ink only. No color ink will be accepted.

Hand Drafting only: No computer-drafted material will be allowed. Only original designs and freehand lettered drawings may be entered: i.e., no stencils or LeRoy lettering. Students may use guidelines and a straight-edge for vertical strokes.
Submitted entries will be copies on Blue Line or Black Line (Ozalid) prints and/or Black Line photocopies. Do not submit original drawings.

Drawings will be 24” x 36”. All plan drawings will contain a NORTH arrow and all drawings will be labeled with the drawing scale.

Drawing scale is found in Required Drawings in the “Design Problem”.

All drawings shall be plotted or drawn at the required scale. Do not plot the drawings “Scale to Fit” the sheet size.

Drawings will not be returned to the students.

7. Fees and Supplies

No fee will be charged to students for competing.

Drafting supplies are the responsibility of the participant

8. Entrant Information

Each drawing submitted must bear the code number of the participant as administered by the Education Coordinator. The student’s name should not appear on the drawings. (4-(school district number)-(school number or initials)

Social Security numbers are required for the distribution of cash awards. If objections are raised to providing this information, the number may be added later to first place winners’ applications before being forwarded to the next level of competition.

Attached to each drawing set will be a plain opaque sealed envelope containing the
Student’s application showing:

Name, address, phone number, and class year of the participant.
Name, address, phone number of entrant’s high school.
Name and phone number of entrant’s drafting or design instructor, if applicable.
A statement signed by the student and instructor that the work is the student’s own and that they did not receive outside help. (See Student Application Form).

All entrants not adhering to the above criteria will be disqualified.


9. Judging – Local Level

Judging of each project will be the responsibility of NICE and NAWIC.
Judges will be comprised of professionals from the construction industry.
All judging will be conducted using the official judging form and other criteria as established by these guidelines.
Judges will evaluate entries on an individual basis.
All effort should be made to have each entry reviewed by at least three (3) judges to avoid individual bias.

A. Judges will evaluate each project with the following point system:
Design Narrative/Design Concept 20 Points
Sheet A-1 20 Points
Sheet A-2 35 Points
Sheet A-3 25 Points
Sheet A-4 30 Points
Sheet A-5 30 Points
Sheet A-6 – Optional Drawing #1 10 Points
Sheet A-7 – Optional Drawing #2 10 Points
Total Points Possible – 180 Points
B. Competition committee will tally points from the judges’ rating sheets and identify
the winner.
The name of local winner and winning project will be submitted to the Regional
CAD Design Drafting Representative for further evaluation.

Submittals to the Regional CAD Design Drafting Representative should contain the following:

Copy of signed application form (both top and bottom portions)
All required drawings with Design Narrative attached
Local Submittal Form with Chapter and Region number
Judging Forms
Oral Interview Form (optional)

 The Education Coordinator will return the judging forms (make copies of the originals for the winner of each category) to the students for their review to understand in what areas their submittals were good and/or needed improvement.

10. Judging – Regional Level

The Regional CAD Design Drafting Representative will coordinate the judging process.

Judges will be comprised of professionals from the construction industry.

All judging shall be conducted using the criteria established by these guidelines.

Winning Regional entries will be submitted to the National CAD Design Drafting Representative

Ellen Colglazier
67-597 Oro Loma
Desert Hot Springs, CA 92240

11. Judging – National Level

A team of design professionals will be selected as judges for the National Competition by the National CAD Design Drafting Representative.
National judges will evaluate the winning projects using the criteria as listed above.
Winners will be notified in writing by the NEF Executive Office.
Judging forms will be returned to the students.

12. Prizes

CAD Division only: National prizes for First, Second, and Third Place will be awarded.
First Place – $1,500
Second Place – $1,000
Third Place – $ 500
Hand Drafting Division only: National prize for First Place will be awarded.
First Place – $1,500
Local and each region may have as many winning categories as they wish, but only one (1) entry for CAD and one (1) entry for Hand Drafting may be submitted for further consideration.
Local winners will be selected by the date specified by the Regional
Regional semi-finalists will be selected.
National winners will be announced. All winners will be notified
and prizes will be distributed by the NEF Executive Office.

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