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Billiken BEAMS

Billiken BEAMS

Saint Louis University’s Building Engineering Awareness in Metro Saint Louis Schools Competition — or Billiken BEAMS — is a group-based project opportunity in which students compete in teams to design and build road-based bridges out of balsa wood.

Please note, the competition during the 2020-2021 school year will be remote via webinar to accommodate health guidelines during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Billiken BEAMS is hosted by SLU's student chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers and Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology and is open to high school students in the metropolitan St. Louis area.

The object of the competition is to see who can design, construct and test the most efficient road bridge. Efficiency is calculated as the load supported in pounds divided by the weight of the bridge in pounds.

Teams design a bridge to meet the competition specifications and create a computer model of the bridge with the help of civil engineering faculty and students. The materials used in the construction of the bridge are provided to the teams by Parks College after registration. The teams then have until the bridge drop off date to construct the bridge.

For more information, contact the Billiken BEAMS team at


In order to compete, students should form teams of one to four members and register using the online registration form. 

Each team must designate a primary team contact who will complete the registration and process payment for the entire team. The primary team contact is usually an advisor, teacher or parent who will lead the group. Do not register team members individually.

Registration is open to the first 32 student groups who sign-up on a first come, first registered basis. 

Register for the 2021 BEAMS Competition

Key Dates

BEAMS 2020-2021

  • December 18: Registration opens
  • January 31: Priority registration deadline
  • February 7: Registration closes at 5 p.m.
  • January 15, 22, 29 and February 12: Bridge materials pickup at Parks College
  • February 15-19: Completed bridge drop off at Parks College
  • February  21: Bridge reports due by 11:59 p.m. 
  • February 26: Billiken BEAMS competition live-streamed. 4pm-6pm.

The registration fee is $30 per team before January 31 and $35 per team after that date. The registration fee covers all bridge construction materials, operating costs  and participation in the competition. Payment can be submitted online using SLU Marketplace. 

Submit payment for the 2021 BEAMS Competition

Competition Rules

Please note that the rules for the 2021 competition have changed. The format of the competition is vastly different this year to maintain the health of all participants.

View the 2021 Billiken BEAMS Competition Rules

Competition Rubric

Awards will be given to the top two teams which are determined based on the total points earned during the evaluation process. Below are the categories and maximum points available for each category to be used in the evaluation of the bridges:

  • 25%: Maximum Load Supported
  • 25%: Strength-to-Weight Ratio
  • 15%: Bridge Specifications
  • 15%: Project Report
  • 10%: Aesthetics
  • 10%: Trivia

Total equals a possible 100%