The Rigid SpeedConnection Challenge

Floor it! Increase the speed of steel construction by reimagining the way steel floor beams are connected.

This challenge is closed


This challenge is closed




We're building the future with steel--and we're looking for great minds to revolutionize how we do it!

It's all about connections, and in this second part of the SpeedConnection Challenge series, we’re putting the pedal to the metal as we examine how to speed up structural steel floor beam connections.

The key words here are FAST and EASY - to design, fabricate, and erect safely - as well as PERFORMANCE. Your outside-the-box idea could become an open-source, non-proprietary system that will revolutionize the entire industry! 

We want to hear perspectives from all industries and academic affiliations--architects, engineers (any type), construction professionals/tradesmen, structural steel professionals/tradesmen, researchers, students, entrepreneurs, and anyone else with a spark of inspiration. 


The Opportunity

Right now, typical structural steel floor framing uses simple shear connections between beams and girders. While this is frequently an easy and economical solution, there is a catch: Shear connections allow the end of the beam to rotate.

While there are a few current connection configurations that will provide additional rigidity (that is, greater resistance to rotation) at beam connections, they are expensive and time-consuming to build and erect. 

That’s where you come in. A new, fast and less costly way to make beam-to-girder shear connections into moment connections could reduce beam sizes, deflections, and vibration problems.

We welcome your “back of napkin” ideas that we can help develop into a revolutionary concept.


Today's Methods

Please review the document at the following link for a more detailed overview of current methods, challenges, and the solution we are seeking: Rigid SpeedConnection Challenge


The Challenge Breakthrough

Can you invent a solution that:

  • is FAST and EASY to install,
  • reduces rotation of a floor beam connection, thereby increasing PERFORMANCE efficiency,
  • utilizes technology not typically found in construction (3D printing, adhesives, etc.), and
  • is equal or better in cost compared to current designs and methods?

We are looking for ideas that:

  • Have a high FEASIBILITY factor: "This solution can be implemented easily."
  • Have a high SPEED factor: "This solution will speed up the installation of structural steel beams and columns."
  • Have a high PERFORMANCE factor: “This solution decreases rotation at the connection, thereby increasing design efficiency.”
  • Have a high INNOVATION factor: "This solution will forever change how structural steel projects are built."


How to get started:

  • Click SOLVE THIS CHALLENGE (above) to sign up for the Challenge.
  • Read the Challenge Guidelines to learn about the requirements and rules.
  • Share this challenge on social media using the icons (above). Show your friends, family, colleagues, or anyone you know who has a passion for innovation--we all build and put things together in some form or another!
  • Start a conversation in our Forum to ask questions, share ideas, or connect with the American Institute of Steel Construction and other innovators.





In 1921, a group of steel fabricators set out to unify a fragmented industry that had no universally accepted standards, codes, or practices. They founded the American Institute of Steel Construction. Thanks to their efforts, steel became the material that owners, designers, and engineers chose with confidence. 

Over the next 100 years, the country–and the entire world–would undergo unimaginable changes in its constructions and its technologies due in no small part to the role of structural steel. Designers and builders reached for the sky and buildings became taller and taller.

As AISC moves into its second century, it’s your turn to make an indelible mark on the steel industry by participating in the Rigid SpeedConnection Challenge. (#speedconnection)



The Rigid SpeedConnection Challenge offers up to three winners a prize of US $5,000 each for innovative ideas that identify new ways to connect structural steel floor beams that increase rigidity at the connection. In addition, the winner(s) will be featured in Modern Steel Construction magazine ( and on AISC's social media platforms.



  • Challenge open: September 30, 2021 through November 19, 2021
  • Challenge launch date: September 30, 2021
  • Submission deadline: November 19, 2021 @ 11pm MST
  • Judging process: November 22 - December 17, 2021
  • Winner announcement: January 7, 2022


How Do I Win?

To be eligible for an award, your proposal must (at a minimum):

  • Satisfy the judging scorecard requirements.
  • Thoughtfully address the submission form questions.
  • Be scored higher than your competitors’!


Judging Criteria


Additional Rules

Awarding prizes:

Up to three prizes of US $5,000 each will be awarded to the highest-scoring ideas based on the judging criteria stated in the Challenge Guidelines. A jury of steel industry experts will determine the winner and, in the case of a tie, vote individually.

Participation eligibility:

The Rigid SpeedConnection Challenge encourages participation from all individuals, regardless of professional or academic affiliation. No specific qualification or expertise in the structural steel industry is required--in fact, we encourage fresh ideas from those who aren't experts! Although we welcome ideas from around the world, submissions must be made in English, and all challenge-related communication will be in English. To be eligible to compete, you must comply with all the terms of the challenge as defined in the Challenge-Specific Agreement, which will be made available upon registration.

Individual competitors and teams may originate from any country, as long as United States federal sanctions do not prohibit participation (see:

Registration and submissions:

Submissions must be made online via upload to the website, on or before the stated deadlines. No late or offline submissions will be accepted.

Intellectual property: 

Our goal is to develop the seed of your idea into a game-changing, open-source, non-proprietary connection solution. The IP of the winning submission(s) will be transferred to the Challenge Sponsor. 

Additional information

  • By participating in the challenge, each competitor agrees to submit only their original idea.
  • All applications will go through a process of due diligence; any application found to be misrepresentative, plagiarized, or sharing an idea that is not their own will be automatically and immediately disqualified.
  • All ineligible applicants will be automatically removed from the competition with no notice, recourse, or reimbursement.
  • No purchase or payment of any kind is necessary to enter or win the competition.
  • Void wherever restricted or prohibited by law.

Challenge Updates

Winner of the Rigid SpeedConnection Challenge!

Jan. 7, 2022, 3 p.m. PST by Erin Conaway

The American Institute of Steel Construction (AISC) is proud to announce the winner of the Rigid SpeedConnection Challenge!


By the close of the project, we received 49 entries. After a thorough judging process, one winner has been selected: Luis Fernandez. 


We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the innovators who participated. There were so many insightful solutions that we are confident many will do great things in the future. Thank you all for helping make this crowdsourcing project a success and contributing to the future of steel construction.


Kind regards,

AISC SpeedConnection Team


Less Than One Week Left to Submit

Nov. 15, 2021, 8 a.m. PST by Erin Conaway

There's less than one week left to submit your solution to the Rigid SpeedConnection Challenge!

You're so close. You can do this!  

Remember, the final submission deadline is November 19 at 11:59 pm Central Time (Chicago/USA). Submissions received after this time will be not be accepted, so make sure to get yours in as soon as possible. Let us know if you have questions!

Good luck!

2 Weeks Left!

Nov. 5, 2021, 8:57 a.m. PDT by Erin Conaway

There are only TWO WEEKS left to submit your solution for the Rigid SpeedConnection Challenge! We'd hate for you to miss this opportunity because, unfortunately, we are unable to accept late entries. Deadline for entries is November 19 at 11:59pm CT.


Thank you so much for your interest in our challenge. Can't wait to see your great ideas!


Best of luck to all!

We are almost halfway through the submission period...

Oct. 27, 2021, 8:46 a.m. PDT by Erin Conaway

Hello Innovators! Thank you so much for your interest in this challenge. We are almost halfway to the submission deadline. Please let us know if you have any questions or need clarification about anything.

We can't wait to see what the winning solution looks like.

Best of luck to all!

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