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Build it Up, Break it Down is a recurring challenge in Survivor. The challenge debuted in Survivor: Palau and has since been used in Survivor: Micronesia.


In Survivor: Palau, the tribes had to tie up a footlocker and place it in a structure that they would then build a barricade around using sticks. After 20 minutes, the tribes would switch and attempt to break into the footlocker containing their flag. The first tribe to raise their flag wins.

In Survivor: Micronesia, the tribes would race out into the ocean to collect the sticks and place them in a tunnel which the opposing tribe would then have to navigate through to get to the end. The first tribe to get all their members through to the other side of the tunnel wins.


In Survivor: Palau, the tribes were given a footlocker prior to the challenge, which they were instructed to make as impenetrable as possible using the provided rope. At the challenge, they were given 20 minutes to make the footlocker even more impenetrable using lumber. After 20 minutes, the tribes switched to the pile containing their flag. James of Ulong was confident in his knot-tying abilities and elected not to do much reinforcing of the footlocker at the challenge. His overconfidence would prove to be Ulong's demise as Koror raised their flag first to win immunity for the fifth consecutive time.

In Survivor: Micronesia, the tribes were given 10 minutes to build a blockade of the other tribe's tunnel. After 10 minutes, the tribes switched to their own tunnel. Airai's Jonathan struggled to get through the tunnel due to his infected knee, but Airai still managed to get through first, defeating Malakal to win reward.


Episode Challenge Type Winner
"Jellyfish 'n Chips"
Tribal Immunity S10 caryn t.pngS10 coby t.pngS10 gregg t.pngS10 ian t.png
S10 janu t.pngS10 jenn t.pngS10 katie t.pngS10 tom t.png
"It Hit Everyone Pretty Hard"
Tribal Reward S16 alexis t.pngS16 eliza t.pngS16 james t.pngS16 jason t.png
S16 jonathan t.pngS16 kathy t.pngS16 natalie t.pngS16 parvati t.png



  • This challenge has only been used during the seasons filmed in Palau.
  • Every time this challenge has been used, the Sole Survivor along with the fourth, sixth, and eighth placers have all been on the winning tribe.
  • Coincidentally, both tribes to win this challenge, Koror and Airai, lived on the same campsite, but in different seasons.
  • Both tribes that won this challenge had eight members at the time.
    • Also, both tribes that won this challenge would each have somebody that would end up quitting the game.


Recurring Challenges
A Bit Tipsy · A Crate Idea · A Leg Up · A Numbers Game · Air Raid · Angry Chair · Around the Bend · Back in Slack · Balancing Point · Ballin' A Jack · Barrel Bridge · Barrel of Monkeys · Basket Brawl · Better Homes and Island Living · Beyond the Wheel · Blind Leading the Blind · Blue Lagoon Bustle · Blue Plate Special · Boats, Brains & Brawn · Bone to Pick · Boulder Smash · Bow Diddley · Box Your Mind · Braille Maze · Broken China · Buggin' Out · Build It Up, Break It Down · Butch Cassidy · By Any Means Necessary · By the Numbers · Can't Buoy Me Love · Cannonball Run · Caught in the Web · Cell Block Sea · Challenge Pitch · Chief's Choice · Chimney Sweep · Chinese Zodiac Symbols · Choose Your Weapon · Coconut Juice · Crate Escape · Crocodile Rock · Crosswalk · Cube Crisis · Dear Liza · Dive Masters · Domino Effect · Draggin' the Dragon · Dragging the River · Drop A Log · Dulcimer Stomp · End of the Line · Fallen Comrades · Fast Fire · Faulty Towers · Fauxconut Bowling · Fire and Water · Fire Fighter · Float Your Boat · Floating Puzzle · Game of Bridge · Gatecrasher · Get a Grip · Get Barreled · Get Hooked · Get Your Goat · Gimme Three Steps · Great Escape Run · Hands on a Hard Idol · Hear About It Ladder · Hot Pursuit · House of Cards · House of the Holey · Idol Hands · Jail Break · Jump Shot · Jungle Love · Jungle Relay · Kamikaze · Keel Hauling · Keep It Up · Keep on Your Toes · Kicking and Screaming · Kitty Litter · Know Your Loved One · Ladder Tree Golf · Last Gasp · Letter Hunt · Lock, Load and Light · Lock Step · Log Jam · Losing Face · Mask Match · Matchmaker · Matt Finish · Memory · Mud Pack · Mud Slide · Muddy Waters · New School · New Tribe Member · Nut Bucket · O-Black Water · Odd Shaped Bottoms · Operation Balance Build · Out on a Limb · Over-Extended · Paddle Battle · Paddle Out · Perch · Pilfering Pirates · Piranha Feast · Pole Dancing · Pot Head · Push Me, Pull You · Puzzle Dig · Pyramid Scheme · Q and A · Quest for Fire · Race to Shore · Ram-Ball On · Rescue Mission · Rice Race · Rise and Shrine · Rock Bottom · Rock n' Roll · Rod Screw-It · Roll With It · Roller Ball · Running Down a Dream · · Sacrificial Lamb · Schmergen Brawl · Sea Crates · Sea Legs · Sea Salvage · Shipwrecked · Shoot 'n' Shuffle · Shooting Gallery · Shoulder the Load · Simmotion · Slip, Slide & Score · Slither Me Timbers · Smash and Grab · Snag, Drag and Bag · Snake in the Grass · Snake Island Relay · SOS Signal · Spear-it Hunt · Spit It Out · Splash Back · Sprung A Leak · Squared Off · Squatty Probst · Stacked Up · Stairway to Heaven · Stairway to the Stars · Station By Station · Step on Up · Stomp-ede · Strung Out · Sumo at Sea · Survivor Auction · Survivor History · Survivor Pentathlon · Survivor Quiz Show · Swahili Scramble · Swing Break · Temple Transfer · The Ball Drop · The Cruel Sea · The Game is Afoot · The Gauntlet · The Home Stretch · The Maze · The Obstacle Course · This Much · Thrash, Splash & Bash · TLP O-Course · Tomb Raider · Troubled Water · Uncomfortably Numb · United We Stand · Vampire Bats · Vertically Challenged · Vertigo · Wall to Wall · Well Stacked · What-er Drag · When It Rains, It Pours · Wicker Flicker · Will It Go Round · Witch Hunt · Wrist Assured · Yank Your Hank · You Shook Me