2015 Competition

Samaritan's Purse and John Brown University will sponsor a national competition to design and build a prototype of a disaster shelter for rapid deployment and set-up, to be used by aid organizations responding to natural or man-made disasters.  For the 2014 – 2015 competition, a specific scenario of a response to an earthquake in Pakistan was selected to allow teams to focus on a specific disaster type and location as well as cultural and environmental considerations. The full competition rules and scoring matrix are provided for download at the bottom of this page.


Engineering, Construction Management, Architecture and/or students from science or technical programs in CCCU schools and ASC Region 4 and 5 schools are invited. Interested teams are invited to submit a Letter of Intent no later than November 21, 2014, providing information about their team, capabilities, and potential design concept.  Teams will be asked to register no later than Jan 30, 2015, with an entry fee of $250.  Team size will be no more than 4 undergraduate students plus one coach and alternates if desired. This coach can be a faculty member or industry rep associated with the university entering the competition. Teams are encouraged to solicit a local sponsoring organization to help defray the costs of travel and building materials used in the prototype shelter that will be brought to the competition.  A stipend of $1,000 will be provided to participating teams upon completion of testing at the on-site event in April, 2015.

Judging and Testing
Judges will include reps from disaster response organizations, local engineers, and selected Engineering and CM Professors (current and emeritus) from CCCU or regional schools, and other technical professionals.  If available, additional judges will include a logistics expert familiar with storage and transportation and a manufacturing expert to judge the ease and cost of manufacture. A scoring matrix is provided for use by the teams as they develop their project.

Judge expertise will include:

  • Emergency Management Expertise (Samaritan's Purse)
  • Technical/Engineering Expertise (University reps and other professional engineers and architects)
  • Possibly Logistics Expertise/Manufacturing Expertise

Testing to validate the performance of the units will include the following:

  • To validate assembly criteria, competing teams will be required to assemble the unit on site.
  • For livability, the shelters will be occupied overnight by a disaster “victim” during the competition. These will be JBU (and possibly other) students who volunteer to help evaluate the performance of the shelters.
  • To validate physical performance against the elements, the shelters will be subject to a wind machine (“the Wolf”) that will simulate high wind and rain. (pictured right)
  • Seismic load will be simulated using a shake table, as shown in the attachment. The table/platform of the shake table will be constructed of wood. Therefore, teams should ensure that their shelter has a mechanism for fastening to the wood platform.
  • Heat retention capabilities of the shelters will be evaluated by enclosing the shelters in a temperature-controlled environment, then heating the closed shelter to a specific temperature and recording the temperature decrease over a specified time.

More comprehensive wind and seismic load testing will be done on the
winning shelter(s) if the sponsor considers the prototype(s) advanced
enough for further development.         







Download the Competition Rules

Download the Scoring Matrix            


Wind Machine


          "The Wolf" courtesy of Architectural testing Inc.

                            Shake Table                           Heat Retention Booth