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Home >> The Rules

Corridor Canstruction Rules and FAQ


Fill out the online form on the Enter a Team page.

Contact us with any questions, and we will get back to you as soon as possible.




Find all the dates and deadlines on our Event Details page.




Those eligible include, but are not limited to: Eastern Iowa architects, engineers, contractors, and designers; student groups and community service organizations are also welcome and encouraged to participate. Not on the list, but want to build? Contact us to ask if you can play, too.



  • Maximum size of any build is 10'L x 10'W x 8'H. A build area will be provided to each team.  Each team is responsible for leaving their area "broom-clean" after build-out.
  • Builder Limit: For professional teams, there is no longer a limit to the number of builders that can work at any given time.
    • For ALL teams: While we encourage participation of as many people as possible, large groups can present a hazard to mall patrons and a nuisance to store owners. We encourage large groups to work in shifts, or as tag teams. Please remember that mall stores will be open and we must be considerate of mall customers and store owners, as well as respect fire codes with regard to corridor clearance. If your group is blocking mall traffic, you may be asked to leave the area.

  • Aluminum food cans of all sizes may be used. Cans must be full, unopened, and with labels intact and legible. Labels may not be covered or altered in any way. Do not place tape anywhere on the can's label. During decanstruction, the tape pulls the label from the can. A can with no label cannot be taken at the food bank. Your build may be disqualified if labels are taped, which we really do not want to do!
  • Do not include the name of your team/school or the names of any sponsors in or on the build itself. Only include this information on your signage.
  • Minimal accessory props are allowed (some boxed foods). Props and boxes should not be a dominating feature of the entry. Jurors will be instructed to consider this in their judging. Nationally, jurors are prone to select structures that are made entirely of cans.
  • No glass containers, pet food, alcoholic beverages, or open or exposed food are allowed.
  • Your Canstruction must be structurally self-supporting. If it starts to tumble at any time during the week, we will contact the team captain to send someone to fix it.
  • Velcro, clear and double-faced tape may be used as adhesives (note: no tape can be used on the can's label, however). High-tension rubber bands, nylon string and wire are permissible. No permanent adhesives, such as glues, may be used.
  • Foam core, cardboard, 1/4" plexiglass, and other leveling (but not supporting) materials are permitted.
Failure to adhere to these regulations may result in your build being disqualified.



  • Participants are responsible for obtaining their own supply of canned goods. You may solicit donations of canned goods from manufacturers, consultants, contractors, or conduct employee/school food drives.
  • For school/community/youth groups, we've compiled a list of ideas--different ways you can begin fundraising or collecting cans for your Canstructure. Not all the ideas will work for every group, but this should get you started. Download the list here!
  • Teams may unload their building materials on the evening prior to the event, but only after the mall has closed. Dollies and carts may be available, but the number of carts is usually limited, so you are encouraged to bring your own two-wheel cart. The food is usually stored directly in your build site (you'll receive a map prior to the event detailing where your build site will be). You will receive detailed information about drop-off in the Final Team Packet, which you'll get via email the week prior to the event. If you have questions before then, feel free to contact us.
  • The day of the event mall doors will open bright and early (usually 6:00am). At that time you are free to move your food to the build site you have been assigned and start building (unless you dropped off your food the night before). Carts and dollies are sometimes available to move the food to your build site, and some volunteers may be available to help. However, ultimately you are responsible for moving your food to the build site.



The following must be submitted before the event using our Build Information online form. See the Event Details page to locate the deadline for submitting your build information/description.

  • Submit a BUILD NAME and DESCRIPTION of the Canstruction. Description should be no longer than one paragraph.

The descriptions are most helpful in drawing the juror's and public's eye to the rich detail in each design. We will read your build description to
the judges when they are examining your build; be sure it highlights
the unique points and strengths of your structure. But keep it short and let your entry speak for itself. Describing the choices you made in cans and labels to describe your theme, your use of double entendres with label names, play on words, etc. 

  • Each entry must supply the number of food items used, weight, and approximate cost. In addition to National jurying, this information is used to quote statistics and to provide information to new cities or entrants asking for information on typical costs.
  • Submit your description using the form on the Build Information page.



  • The mall doors will be open at 6:30 a.mRegistration begins at 7:00 a.m. Send a member of your team to the registration area to check your team in and collect your T-shirts.
  • Teams should start building no earlier than 7:00 a.m. and no later than 8:00 a.m. Judging begins at 11:00 a.m., so your build must be complete at that time.
  • Each entry will be on display from the day of the build until approximately one week later.
  • Each team is responsible for DISMANTLING their structures and packaging the food in boxes (see dates for decanstruction here). Teams will help load their boxes onto the HACAP truck. If you are unable to dismantle your structure, the Canstruction planning committee can tear down for you in exchange for a $100 donation; details on times will be emailed to the team captains. We kindly request your assistance in loading cans if you are dismantling while the truck is there.



All build teams should create one 24" x 36" sign. The sign should have any information pertinent to your build that will help draw the jurors’ and publics’ eye to your display as described above under submission of a description. This sign should also contain information on weight and cost of your build.

It CAN identify your organization/company and sponsors, but this information must be covered and invisible during judging. You should bring a piece of card stock or thick paper large enough to cover the identifying information. Keep this in mind when designing your signage.

A second option - a two-part sign. Past teams have created one sign with no identifying information, then attached a second part after the judging to identify their group. The white rectangle at the top of the sign pictured below was added after judging was complete.

Example of Two-Part Sign



Awards for the Professional teams (architecture/engineering firms) will be given in the following categories:

  • Juror's Favorite
  • Best Meal
  • Best Use of Labels
  • Structural Ingenuity
  • People's Choice Award

Each student/community group will receive an award, which may include:

  • Best in Show
  • Best Use of Labels
  • Best Meal
  • Structural Ingenuity
  • Most Creative
  • Most Lifelike
  • Best Theme
  • People's Choice Award

When your build is completely finished, send a representative to notify the registration table attendant of your completion.

Judging will be based on design, overall conception, imagination, and creativity within compliance of the rules, as well as fine detail, craft and patience.

Entries will also be judged based on how healthy and practical the foods are. That means a build using more protein-rich foods and vegetables would do better than one made out of Fritos and Kool-Aid. Our goal here is to feed the hungry well--remember that when selecting building materials.

A People's Choice Award will also be given, and the audience at the build will place their votes for their favorites. Those votes will be tallied and counted.

The student/community groups will have their own judges, and the professional groups will have a separate group of judges.

Judging will begin at 11:00 a.m. and will end at approximately 12:00 noon. At that time, the winners will be announced and awards presented, including the People's Choice awards.