Rules and Regulations

The following rules and regulations govern all Canstruction® competitions. The Jury will interpret the rules and regulations in making their determination, and all decisions are left in the hands of the Jury.

Awards will be given in the following categories:

  • Best Meal
  • Best Use of Labels
  • Structural Ingenuity
  • Best Design
  • Honorable Mention
  • People’s Choice

After all the competitions are held, local winners go on to compete internationally through submission of digital photography to a panel of jurors that convenes in the spring of each year. 

  • Maximum size for a structure is 10ft L x 10ft W x 10ft H.
  • Each team is to provide a sketch or computer image and dimensions of their structure. Firm names will be kept anonymous prior to the announcement of the winners. Fax or e-mail to the attention of: Do not send CAD files. You may be required to submit a list of all building materials or building systems your team will be employing.
  • Maximum size of the official team that actually builds the structure is five (5) persons. Only 5 team members will be permitted to build at one time. You may have one additional person to un-box cans. The five team members include those who are cutting foam-core and other materials, etc. Teams may swap out members and are allowed a maximum of 15 minutes for transition. Regardless of how many team members are in the firm/school participate, five individuals must be selected as the official team members. They will receive name tags with team ribbons the night of the gala and their names will appear on the signage accompanying the structure.
  • Aluminum food cans of all sizes may be used. Some food manufacturers are switching to plastic. If using plastic containers make sure they can take the pressure of cans from above.
  • No glass containers allowed.
  • No pet food.
  • No alcoholic beverages.
  • No use of soda or junk food – depending on the jury, you run the risk that they will penalize you for using non-nutritional items. Remember the OC Food Bank needs nutritional food, not junk food. Make every effort in designing your structure to use nutritious, edible foods.
  • No opened or exposed food.
  • Cans must be full, unopened, and with labels intact and legible. Labels may not be covered, stripped off or altered in any way.
  • Use of boxes and bags is strongly discouraged. The name of the competition is CANstruction; therefore, jurors prefer canned food be used in the competition. In recent years, many structures utilizing boxes did not make it through the elimination process at the International competition.
  • Props are strongly discouraged. Jurors prefer pure food structures. Try to solve all design problems with food items. All things equal, a structure with props will lose when judged against a structure with no props. (Example: a structure that has eyes. One entry uses black cans to make eyes; another entry cuts out black circles of paper and tapes on cans for eyes. Once the jury sees that eyes can be made from cans or a food product, any entry using paper cutouts is in disfavor.)
  • Structures MUST be structurally self-supporting. NO 2×4 board’s, NO half-inch plywood, NO half-inch thick tubing, NO sheet metal. Permissible: one-quarter inch thick foam-core, cardboard, masonite, plywood, plexiglass, threaded rod – for the purpose of leveling or balancing materials but not as load bearing. Cardboard tubes used as guides must also be limited to one-quarter inch thick. A structure where the •••” leveling materials cannot be seen is usually judged superior to a structure where it is in plain view.
  • Velcro, clear and double-faced tape may be used.
  • High-tension rubber bands, nylon string, wire, tie-backs are permissible.
  • No permanent adhesives.
  • Teams should visit their assigned site in advance of the build-out date to determine if there are any problems in positioning their entry in the space provided. Structures should be placed well back from window walls for photographic purposes. If the host site is carpeted or has uneven flooring each team should provide a plywood or Masonite base.
  • Teams are responsible for leaving their site “broom-clean.”


  • Participating firms are responsible for obtaining their own supply of canned goods.
  • Expired canned food should not be used in the competitions as the food may not be accepted by the OC Food Bank.
  • Firms may solicit canned good and/or financial donations from manufacturers, consultants, vendors, contractors or conduct employee food drives.
  • You may provide the Community Action Partnership of Orange County/ the OC Food Bank’s taxpayer I.D. (95-2452787) to food donors to use as a charitable tax deduction, suggest to donors to take the contribution as a marketing/public relations business expense. Naming the contributors on your sign next to your structure will give them marketing/PR exposure.
  • Cans should be packed in sturdy cartons and labeled with your team/ firm name and the location name/number at the site.
  • If arranging for canned goods from an out of town supplier, they must be delivered to the host site. No sidewalk deliveries. The mover/delivery service must provide a Certificate of Insurance to the loading dock manager in order to enter the building to deliver the food. All the same labeling requirements are necessary. Cans may be delivered to the site ONLY on the dates scheduled between the OC Food Bank and South Coast Plaza or ARTIC. Check with the host site as to the type and maximum length truck that can deliver at the loading dock.
  • A team member should go to the site to make sure all cans have been delivered. If anything is missing they have that day to find it and/or get it delivered.
  • Save all packing boxes. Ask host site where they may be stored during the exhibition. Boxes must be used to repack cans at the end of the competition. Bring additional packing boxes to the site for de-construction.


A. SIGNAGE & TEXT (See Sample)

Each entry will have a 30” x 42” foam-core board (self-standing easel back) that sits adjacent to the structure. There is an official graphic standard for the layout that is used without exception. If you have contributors that must have their logos prominently displayed this would require an additional easel backed board created and produced by your firm, at your firm’s expense.

SIGNAGE & TEXT DEADLINE– E-mail as a WORD Document to

  • DO NOT format your Word document.
  • Flush Left on all required text
  • Enter a return between each piece of information required.
  • DO NOT choose fonts, sizes, graphics, etc.
  • No columns
  • No text boxes, no picture boxes, no graphics, no logos (firm or contributors)
  • No colors.

A sample of a completed board is attached.


The information requested should be submitted in a Word file in the following order (DO NOT list these category titles in your document but follow this order for providing the required information).

  • FIRM NAME- the way it should officially appear in the program. Confirm with a firm Principal.
  • TITLE OF ENTRY. If any word in your title is to be italicized please do so.
  • DESCRIPTION of the structure. Keep to one paragraph. This is what is provided to the jurors and public as they view each entry. The descriptions are most helpful in drawing the jurors’ and public’s’ eye to the rich detail in each design, any play on words, double entendres with the label names, etc. Don’t get caught up in making long drawn out philosophical statements – keep that to one sentence and let your entry speak for itself. Spend your time describing the choices you made in cans and labels to articulate your theme. Spell check your paragraph.
  • 5-PERSON TEAM NAMES — CAPTAIN FIRST (no exceptions, no co-captains) followed by the rest of the team in alphabetical order – spell names correctly – you must designate ONE team captain.
  • THANK YOU’S for any sponsors and/or other firm members who participated. (If you are receiving major support from a food manufacturer or grocery store and need to display a sign with their logo, you will need to create a separate board at your own expense. It should be a foam-core board, self-standing easel to sit on the floor.


If using an outside mover to have your cans delivered to the exhibition building they must be delivered to the site – no sidewalk deliveries unless someone from your firm is there to receive and deliver with dollies. Mover’s Certificate of Insurance must be presented to loading dock manager.

All boxes/cartons must be labeled with your firm name and site location.

Each team captain will be given an Excel Spreadsheet that includes their firm’s contact information, their site location contact information, and columns requiring the following information to be completed:

Detailed inventory of all cans:

  • Name of each food product
  • Quantity of each food product
  • Total number of cartons
  • Total number of cans
  • Total cost whether purchased or donated


  • Please check with your team leader to see what time you are scheduled to start your build – and Please Be On Time!
  • Contributors to Canstruction may drop by to say hello, hand out gifts, products, etc. Please be courteous, cheerful and happy to meet them. Without their financial and in-kind donations we would be unable to produce Canstruction.
  • Try to do as much prefabrication of foam core cutting or other special materials you require prior to the evening of the build out.
  • If you have a chance to practice building in your office take that opportunity to minimize surprises at the site.

Bring plenty of extra supplies (tape, scissors, foam-core, cardboard) – over estimate. Bring a ladder if you are building a tall structure and/or to position spotlights.

When your Canstruction is completely finished send a representative to the onsite Canstruction manager to sign out. There may be a videographer. We want to get a combination of teams building, finished objects, and team interviews. Do not leave before signing out.

  • Call your competition Host to make sure your structure is standing the next morning. Ask the Host to call you if structure looks like it is structurally unsound, sagging, slipping, etc. Be prepared to go over and fix it immediately. If rebuilding is impossible box up the cans.


Make sure all team members know the following:

  • Judging is done anonymously.
  • Be prepared to go to the site and rebuild anything that may have fallen before the judging begins.
  • Team members cannot be on location at the time of judging.
  • Hosts should maintain a respectful distance while the jury view and discuss the structures.
  • No signage displayed until the jury has left.


  • Business dress, avoid casual attire.
  • Invitation Only – You must have an invitation to attend. Team names will be on a list for emergency use.
  • Meet the contributors who will be wearing nametags. Please introduce yourselves and let them know how much their contribution means to the event.
  • It is good for some team members to be at your structure to welcome everyone and answer questions regarding the design and construction methodologies used.


  • Professional photographs will be taken of each entry.
  • Winning teams will have their photos taken at the awards presentation.
  • Videography will be taken the throughout the build-out and/or on the evening of the Gala.
  • After the winners are announced the winning teams might be asked to go to their structures for photograph/video opportunities.
  • Take your own photos, if using digital cameras put on setting for highest resolution – Remove all signage and stanchions prior to photographing. Many times the personal photos are excellent and can be used for the International Competition and the media when they are better than the professional photographers,


  • Sunday, September 24th at 6:00 PM
  • Each entry must be taken down. You should allow ample time so that your entry is completely packed by September 24.