Featuring: They Nailed the Slope!

A heartfelt congratulation to Team GM5 (consisting of students from Civil Engineering discipline) for winning the University of Malaya Civil Engineering Competition (UMCEC) 2021 Geo-Challenge as the 1st RUNNER-UP. The University of Malaya Civil Engineering Competition (UMCEC) is an annual event organised by the Department of Civil Engineering since 2017 and endorsed by the Institution of Civil Engineers Student Chapter (UMICESC) and Civil and Environmental Engineering Club (CEEC).

UMCEC virtual competition aims to promote the Learning Beyond Classroom concept by equipping students with the ability to apply their critical thinking skills and engineering knowledge to solve civil engineering problems. This year's challenge was to analyse the geotechnical aspects of a slope including the study of soil type, ground water analysis and numerous other factors. The competition was concluded in the month of June after a period of three months, throughout which the team strived to design and develop an effective slope stability solution.

The participating teams from Malaysia’s top-tier universities were tasked with the challenge to provide a solution and stabilise soil slope to prevent the tragic collapse of Kuala Lumpur’s Highland Towers from happening based on the incident in December 1993. Winners were selected and ranked based on the best proposal of maximum practicality, accessibility, sustainability and reasonable incorporation of “Green Technologies” which were covered and evaluated in form of technical report and poster submissions followed by the design presentation during the live event.

The Team GM5, proposed the implementation of Soil Nailing technique for the stabilization of slope which included inserting T32 steel bars fully grouted into soil slope. The Team GM5 was supervised by Dr. Mavinakere Eshwaraiah Raghunandan, and led by five enthusiastic, passionate and creative Year Three Civil Engineering students: Talha Ahsam, Chen Kae-Shyang, Chee Kar Chun, Lee Chun Yuan and Stein Lee Sheuan Yiiong under the immense support from the discipline facilitating the team in overcoming a number of challenges and relevant external contacts.

The team collectively reflected on this opportunity as an eye-opening challenge as it differed from the traditional face-to-face design competitions. Owing to the current COVID19 pandemic, everything starting from team brainstorming, planning, and working on the main presentation day were done virtually. The design process was subdivided into two important aspects - project management and design - both aspects were approached simultaneously. Part of the group worked on project management including planning, documentation, material selection and cost analysis. While the other members of the group focused on designing a solution considering the initial conceptual design and finally converging towards the final design recommendation, which was modelled using PLAXIS 2D finite element analysis software.

Despite the challenging conditions of working during the semester which included balancing the competition work with in-semester assessments, the team managed to secure the first runner-up position, helped raise the spirit of the Civil Engineering cohort and opened a pathway that encourages more Monash teams in future to participate in such competitions knowing that their endeavour can be rewarded.

The teams expressed their thanks for the dedicated support and contribution from Monash University. Thanks are also due to the staff members and external engineers for their timely guidance and encouragement. The team’s continuous hard work and efforts have certainly paid off.  It was a well-deserved occasion worth celebrating. Well done, team!

Photo credit : University Malaya Civil Engineering Competition 2021