BD+C Building Team Awards "How to Win" Tipsheet
The goal of the BD+C Building Team Awards is to find the best projects, based on:
1) Overall design, engineering, and construction quality + 2) Collaboration of the Building Team. We want your project to win! Here are some tips to help you do so:
Think “50-50.” The Building Team Awards are judged by the editors and a distinguished panel of architects, engineers, contractors, developers, and academics. We’re looking for two things:
Design/engineering/construction quality and excellence (50%)
How the Building Team (architects, engineers, contractors, CMs, subcontractors, building owners, developers, government entities, etc.) collaborated to overcome obstacles and make the project succeed (50%).
To win, you have to “prove” both parts of the equation.
Use the ‘Judging Guidelines’ as a Handy Reference
The “Judging Guidelines” give the criteria we use to select the Building Team Awards.
The first part lists specifics of Design, Engineering & Construction and accounts for 50% of the judges’ evaluation.
The remaining 50% comes from the criteria devoted to Building Team collaboration and the involvement of the community, end users, and stakeholders.
Use these factors to shape your Written Statement of Support. You do not have to include information about every factor, only those that are pertinent to your project.
Describe “obstacles,” “challenges,” “issues,” “problems” + how your team solved them. How did the team attack the problems posed by the project? Any new approaches? Innovations? Remember, give results, both quantitative ($$$ saved, time saved, profitability, etc.) and qualitative (testimonials, quotes from a satisfied client, other “soft” evidence of success). Tell us what lessons you learned from the project.
Show how you went beyond standard practice. Did your Building Team find an unusual solution to a problem? For example, did you develop a performance-based answer to a technical problem that went beyond the conventional design, engineering, or construction methods? Tell us how you “beat” the local building code or convinced a client to try an unusual technical solution. Our readers are interested in what’s new.
Be specific in describing “collaboration.” We get a lot of entries that say, “We held weekly meetings of the Building Team” or “We used Project Management software to keep in touch.” Unfortunately, that’s not enough. We want to know more details about how you worked together, especially how you worked with the owner, end users, and stakeholders, not just the A/E/C people. What kind of effort did you put into getting their views and implementing them? This is hard, but it’s important.
Tell the “story” of the project. Winning projects should have a compelling story—getting a project built in record time, overcoming catastrophes, solving unexpected problems that come up in the course of the project. Yes, we want the technical details, but make sure the “human narrative” doesn’t get lost in your presentation.
Let your images “sell” your entry. We get a lot of entries with great photos, diagrams, floor plans, etc., but with no explanation of how these photos or graphics support your case for winning. Important: Every photo and image you submit should illustrate a key point about your project.Photo/graphics format:
You must put all your images into a PowerPoint file (at 72-dpi resolution) on a CD, with captions explaining what the photo or image illustrates. Why did you choose this photo? How does it advance your entry? Use your images to make your case and sell your project to the judges. You must also print out your PowerPoint file (in “Handout Form,” 6 slides per page — 10 copies, stapled). You must place a file (or files) containing all your images at high-resolution (300 dpi) on the same CD, along with the file of your Written Statement of Support (in Word or PDF format).
Note: DO NOT submit a binder with full-page printouts of your photos or images.
Describe “end user,” “client,” “customer,” and “public” involvement in detail. If you’re submitting a hospital project, how was the nursing staff involved? How about patients and their families? For a retail project—did you do any research on customer needs or preferences? For a museum or entertainment center, did you involve families and children in the planning and decision making? For public projects, how did you keep taxpayers, government officials, and ordinary citizens involved? Entries that demonstrate a strong commitment to assessing and meeting the needs of the ultimate “end users” (not just the one who’s paying the bill) often win.
Don’t be afraid to toot your horn. We presume you will not exaggerate, but the judges do need to justify their decision, and you have the most complete information about your project. So, let us know if the project has won other awards. Include press clippings, reprints, etc. Get letters of support and testimonials from end users and clients, but make them specific—not “The team did a great job and were a pleasure to work with,” but “Through clever design and rigorous engineering and construction methods, the team saved our city $1.3 million in costs on this project.”
You may supply financial information confidentially, if necessary. We understand that certain clients are sensitive about revealing financial details. Although we prefer to have all financial information included in the entry, if you have a situation where the client demands confidentiality, you may write “Confidential at Client Request” in the appropriate spaces on the entry form.
However, to be eligible, you must also send, under separate cover, a single copy of the financial information to: Robert Cassidy, Editor, BD+C, 3030 W. Salt Creek Lane, Suite 201, Arlington Heights, IL 60005. As BD+C’s editorial director, I promise to keep the details of this information confidential and will only supply “ranges” of information to the judges as needed to help in their deliberations. Should your project win, the financial information will not be published in BD+C. This procedure is necessary to ensure that we are fair to all entries and the judges have enough information to do their job.
Put yourself in the judges’ shoes. Ask yourself: Have I made a compelling case for our project? Is there logic to the presentation? Is it readable? Is the type large enough? Did I make it easy for the judges to grasp our argument? We’re not interested in fancy presentations. Use yellow marker to highlight key points. Point arrows to crucial details in drawings or photos. Underline key points. The judges have a lot of entries to review … make it easy for them to read yours.
One last tip: Ask someone who is not familiar with the project to read your entry. If that person has questions, you might want to rework your submission.
We look forward to seeing your entry (or entries). Good luck!