About the Steel Bridge Team

Who We Are.

The University of Michigan Steel Bridge Team (SBT) is an organization of dedicated students passionate about applying their technical knowledge to a hands-on, year-long engineering project. Our members are diverse in their skills, year, major, and discipline, each adding to our collective capacity.

We enjoy taking our project from concept to reality through hard work and problem solving. We believe that this can only be accomplished by working together in a collaborative environment where everyone is welcome to share ideas and everyone takes pride in the final product.

We are SBT.

What We Do

Since 1991, the American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) has sponsored a nationwide collegiate competition that challenges student teams to design, fabricate, and construct a 1:10 scale bridge that competes in a test of lightness, strength, and constructibility. We approach this challenge in three main phases:


Our skilled design team focuses on developing a bridge that most efficiently balances these keys attributes – lightness, strength, and constructibility – that contribute to our overall score in competition.  Using principles of structural design learned in the classroom, the team starts with with several design concepts, eventually settling on a single design through consensus.  We then utilize industry software like RISA-3D, SolidWorks, and AutoCAD to model and analyze the design and its successive iterations.  This cycle of iteration, modeling, and analysis continues until the team decides on a final design that we believe will perform the best.


Once the design is complete, the team shifts gears to fabrication.  Many of our members undergo training at the University of Michigan Wilson Student Team Project Center, where they learn how to work safely in the shop, operate the mill to create bridge components, and weld each piece into place to create finished sections.  Fabrication requires attention to detail and proper planning to ensure that we are ready for competition season with a high quality bridge that we are proud to call our own.


With all of our bridge sections fabricated, the team begins construction practice.  Construction scoring is based on speed, number of builders, and penalties incurred from improper construction practices (dropping materials, unsafe handling of tools and components, etc.).  We hold daily practices to hone our construction skills and decide on a final sequence that utilizes each builder to most efficiently construct the bridge during competition.

Join Us

We are proud to say that our team is 100% student-run in Ann Arbor. This means we welcome students with a variety of skills and also provide training sessions and other learning opportunities for new members. Here are just some of the things you can do with us this year:

  • Meet new people and learn new skills
  • Get involved in design, fabrication, and construction engineering
  • Manage operations, business, & sponsorship
  • Help us grow with marketing & social media

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get involved in the Steel Bridge Team?

If you would like to join the Steel Bridge Team, please contact the captains at: sbtcaptains@umich.edu.

When does the competition take place?

The North Central Student Steel Bridge Competition will be held at Western Michigan University on April 5-7 2018.

The National Student Steel Bridge Competition will be held at University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign on May 25-26 2018.

Who can join the team?

All University of Michigan students, regardless of major or year, is welcome to join the team!