9 tips to guarantee awards shortlisting

9 tips to guarantee awards shortlisting

My awards list demonstrates the breadth of awards open to businesses operating in the built environment and given all the benefits outlined in my previous post, they really should be forming a central part of your marketing strategy.

So, once you have committed to taking part, how can you guarantee getting shortlisted? Here are my top nine tips:

1 – Develop a programme of awards submissions  

Creating a programme of award submissions for the next 12 to 18 months makes sense – which projects, initiatives or innovations do you want to tell everyone about and which awards will do this most effectively. Do your research into categories and the audience of awards – which opportunities best align with your marketing and business development strategies?

2 – Get the buy-in of the client and the project team 

Getting the buy-in of the client and rest of the team is often a part of the process that is overlooked. Make them aware of your submission to pool content, information and photographs, as well as sharing costs if you can. Projects are a collaborative effort, so it makes sense to involve them in any awards submissions you are preparing. You may also want to check whether the client needs to grant any permission for the submission or review the copy and photographs before the deadline.

3 – Understand your organisation’s marketing

As well as promoting the work you have finished, awards are also a good way of building your profile in other sectors, providing the opportunity to meet new clients and make new contacts. Which sectors is your business strong in, and therefore wants to maintain a high profile, and which sectors does your business want to gain more exposure in? Building this into your awards strategy will increase the value.  

4 – Understand the awards you are submitting

Fully understand the award requirements before you start your submission, including what this submission will need and who the previous winners were, as well as who else was shortlisted. Assess whether your organisation or project is a good fit based on this information. Other things to consider are whether the awards have the profile and reach you are looking for, whether there is a fee to enter, and whether you have the time and marketing budget to complete the submission and attend the awards event.

5 – Project, rather than award-led

Select your awards on the basis of the stories you have to tell and the achievements you have made in the past 12 months, rather than your selection being award-led.

6 – Evidence, evidence, evidence

As well as having a good story to tell, this also needs to be supported by compelling evidence in the form of photographs, plans, performance metrics and glowing testimonials from the client team, stakeholders or wider project team. Strong evidence provides a good framework for your submission, as well as providing context and will often reduce the overall word count, because a picture can tell a thousand words.

Has this information been captured as part of the project delivery phase, or will you be scrabbling around for images last minute? If you are not able to easily bring this information together, think carefully about proceeding.

7 – Review all of the questions in advance of starting the submission 

Review all of the questions. Can you answer them all? What are the gaps are how easy will they be to fill? Will you need to work with a range of technical people, or as the awards writer, will you be able to complete most of the submission on your own?

8 – Stick to the word count

Always stick to the word count, but remember, like a bid, the word count is a limit rather than a target, so if you don’t have anything more to say that will add value, just stop writing.

9 – Follow the instructions

This sounds simple enough – but can often catch people out. Particularly look out for how the submission needs to be made (email or portal?), whether there are fees involved (and what they are), and any other requirements you will need to fulfil before your submission is completed.

These are the main points that have stood me in good stead over the years – do you have any more to add? What is your awards strategy for 2020?

7 reasons to enter built environment awards

7 reasons to enter built environment awards

As my awards list confirms, there are so many awards across the built environment, celebrating achievements from design to products and everything in between. But what are the other benefits of submitting awards and what should they form part of your marketing strategy if you are a business operating in the built environment? 

Being award-winning

So many things are described as being ‘award-winning’ these days – so set yourself apart by actually winning an award! Awards are a quality mark and being considered the best of the best in your sector or peer group provides external validation within industry and client groups. Awards also benchmark your performance with the rest of the industry. 

Reviewing your business/project/initiative from an external perspective

The submission process forces you to consider your business, project or initiative from an external perspective. What are the features that set it apart and what benefits did these bring the client or wider team? Articulating these clearly will bring value beyond the award submission.

The opportunity to strengthen relationships with clients and other stakeholders

Awards provide the opportunity to tell the story of the project, as well as giving you the opportunity to further strengthen your relationship with your client by promoting their project and sharing the success at the awards event.  

Employee recognition

Project teams work really hard to deliver schemes or find solutions to challenges. Recognising this effort and achievement builds morale and emphasises team spirit.

Attracting future talent

The best talent wants to work for award-winning organisations and demonstrating that you are the best will attract and retain the best future employees.

Marketing, PR and networking

Award shortlisting or wins are a good reason to tell everyone what you have achieved via social media or PR. The judging process and awards event will also give you the opportunity to have your logo on the awards materials, as well as networking at a senior level, potentially opening doors to new opportunities, markets, clients and projects.

Built environment awards 2020

Built environment awards 2020

For your Christmas present this year, we have compiled the ultimate list of built environment awards for 2020, so you don’t have to. These awards cover architecture, construction and engineering, with a smattering of other stuff, including social value and groundworks. You can download the full list below. If there are any that have been missed out, let us know and we will add them. A Twitter list has also been put together to keep track of awards activity. 

This spreadsheet will be refreshed and re-published monthly, so keep your eyes peeled on Twitter and LinkedIn for updates and if you need any help writing your awards submissions, you know where to come! 

Built environment awards list 2020

Award name Deadline Awards event Contact details Website Sector/specialism
LABC – Wales 31/12/2019 15/05/2019 “Dave.Sharp@wrexham.gov.uk
Jon.Roberts@swansea.gov.uk ” https://www.labc.co.uk/awards/cymru-building-excellence-awards-2020 Regional – Wales
Ground Engineering GE Awards 10/01/2020 11/06/2020 https://awards.geplus.co.uk/ Ground engineering
UK Property Awards 2018/2019 23/01/2020 21/4/2020 https://awards.propertyweek.com/propertyawards2019/en/page/home Property
Construction News Awards 24/01/2020 09/07/2020 will.amison@emap.com https://awards.constructionnews.co.uk/ Construction news
LABC – London 24/01/2020 01/05/2020 awardsenquiries@labc.co.uk https://www.labc.co.uk/awards/london-building-excellence-awards-2020 Regional – London
LABC – North West 24/01/2020 24/04/2020 awardsenquiries@labc.co.uk https://www.labc.co.uk/awards/north-west-building-excellence-awards-2020 Regional – North West
RICS Social Impact Awards 31/01/2020 24/09/2020 https://www.rics.org/uk/training-events/rics-awards/ Social value
LABC – Central 31/01/2020 15/05/2020 awardsenquiries@labc.co.uk https://www.labc.co.uk/awards/central-building-excellence-awards-2020 Regional – Midlands
BD Architect of the Year Awards 07/02/2020 21/05/2020 https://awards.bdonline.co.uk architecture and design
Women in Rail 07/02/2020 6/5/2020 http://womeninrail.org/awards/ Rail
LABC – East Midlands 07/02/2020 22/05/2020 awardsenquiries@labc.co.uk https://www.labc.co.uk/awards/east-midlands-building-excellence-awards-2020 Regional – Midlands
LABC – East Anglia 14/02/2020 05/06/2020 awardsenquiries@labc.co.uk https://www.labc.co.uk/awards/east-anglia-building-excellence-awards-2020 Regional – East Anglia
LABC – South West 14/02/2020 05/06/2020 awardsenquiries@labc.co.uk https://www.labc.co.uk/awards/south-west-building-excellence-awards-2020 Regional – South West
Constructing Excellence Awards London & South East 17/02/2020 tbc �info@secbe.org.uk http://www.ce-awards.co.uk/ Regional – South East
LABC – Northern 21/02/2020 12/06/2020 awardsenquiries@labc.co.uk https://www.labc.co.uk/awards/northern-building-excellence-awards-2020 Regional – Northern
LABC – South East 28/02/2020 19/06/2020 awardsenquiries@labc.co.uk https://www.labc.co.uk/awards/south-east-building-excellence-awards-2020 Regional – South East
LABC – West Yorkshire 28/02/2020 19/06/2020 awardsenquiries@labc.co.uk https://www.labc.co.uk/awards/west-yorkshire-building-excellence-awards-2020 Regional – Yorkshire
Constructing Excellence Awards Wales 02/03/2020 https://www.cewales.org.uk/cew-awards/ Regional – Wales
Northern Housing Awards 05/03/2020 13/05/2020 https://northernhousingawards.co.uk residential
LABC – West Midlands 20/03/2020 03/07/2020 awardsenquiries@labc.co.uk https://www.labc.co.uk/awards/west-midlands-building-excellence-awards-2020 Regional – Midlands
LABC – West of England 20/03/2020 10/07/2020 awardsenquiries@labc.co.uk https://www.labc.co.uk/awards/west-of-england-building-excellence-awards-2020 Regional – West of England
Sunday Times SME Export Track 100 27/03/2020 tbc https://www.fasttrack.co.uk/league-tables/sme-export-track-100/ business
LABC – North & East Yorkshire 27/03/2020 05/06/2020 awardsenquiries@labc.co.uk https://www.labc.co.uk/awards/yorkshire-building-excellence-awards-2020 Regional – Yorkshire
Dezeen Awards 02/06/2020 November 2020 �awards@dezeen.com https://www.dezeen.com/awards/ architecture and design
Civic Trust Awards 2019 24/07/2020 https://www.civictrustawards.org.uk/ architecture and design
The Green Apple Environment Awards 31/07/2020 November 2020 info@greenworldawards.com http://gwa.thegreenorganisation.info environmental best practice
Ahead Europe June 2020 November 2020 m.allegro@mondiale.co.uk https://www.aheadawards.com/europe/2019 hotel sector
Constructing Excellence Awards North East June 2020 tbc https://cene.org.uk/award/ Regional – North East
Construction Manager of the Year Awards March 2020 November 2020 https://www.cmya.co.uk/about-entry-process/ construction
Insider North West Property Awards March 2020 May 2020 https://www.insidermedia.com/event/north-west-property-awards-2019 Property
The ABB Leaf Awards May 2020 October 2020 LEAFA@arena-international.com http://www.arena-international.com/leafawards/ architecture and design
RIBA President’s Awards for Research tbc tbc research@riba.org https://www.architecture.com/awards-and-competitions-landing-page/awards/riba-presidents-awards-for-research academic research
AJ100Awards tbc June 2020 https://aj100awards.architectsjournal.co.uk/ architecture and design
The AJ Retrofit Awards tbc tbc https://retrofit.architectsjournal.co.uk architecture and design
AJ Architecture Awards tbc November 2020 Charlotte.McKenzie@emap.com https://awards.architectsjournal.co.uk/resources/register-your-interest-2020 architecture and design
Archiboo Web Awards tbc https://awards.archiboo.com architecture and design
RIBA Stirling Prize tbc https://www.architecture.com/awards-and-competitions-landing-page/awards/riba-stirling-prize architecture and design
Architects Journal Women in Architecture Award tbc https://www.architectsjournal.co.uk/women-in-architecture-2019-schedule/10035194.article?blocktitle=schedule architecture and design
RIBA regional awards tbc tbc architecture and design
Manchester Society of Architects Awards tbc November 2020 https://www.manchestersocietyofarchitects.com Awards
North West Property Awards tbc October 2020 http://www.nwpas.com Awards
Lloyds Bank National Business Awards 2018 tbc December 2020 https://www.nationalbusinessawards.co.uk/enter-now business
Construction Enquirer Awards tbc October 2020 https://www.ukconstructionweek.com/construction-enquirer-awards construction
On The Tools Awards tbc November 2020 info@dontpanicprojects.com https://onthetoolsawards.co.uk construction
The National Federation of Builders Awards tbc tbc info@builders.org.uk https://www.builders.org.uk/the-nfb/awards/ construction
British Demolition Awards tbc July 2020 http://www.britishdemolitionawards.com/enter-the-2020-awards/ Demolition
The Energy Awards tbc November 2020 https://www.theenergyawards.com energy
The British Engineering Excellence Awards tbc October 2020 https://www.beeas.co.uk engineering
ACE Consultancy & Engineering Awards tbc 04/06/2020 events@acenet.co.uk https://www.acenet.co.uk/events/awards/consultancy-engineering-awards-2020/4-june-2020/ engineering
World Architecture Festival tbc tbc https://www.worldarchitecturefestival.com Festival
The House Builder Awards tbc tbc https://www.house-builder.co.uk/events/housebuilder-awards-2019/ housebuilding
The Sunday Times British Homes Awards tbc tbc morrison.foden@haymarket.com https://www.britishhomesawards.co.uk housebuilding
The Daily Telegraph Homebuilding & Renovation Awards tbc tbc https://www.homebuilding.co.uk/awards/ housebuilding
The BALI National Landscape Awards tbc December 2020 leah.brookes@bali.org.uk https://www.baliawards.co.uk landscape
The Wood Awards tbc November 2020 info@woodawards.com https://woodawards.com materials
Brick Awards tbc November 2020 matildemenegotto@brick.org.uk https://www.brick.org.uk/brick-awards/ materials
The Concrete Society Awards tbc November 2020 awards@concrete.org.uk http://www.concrete-awards.org.uk materials
Construction Investing in Talent Awards tbc November 2020 https://talentawards.constructionnews.co.uk people
Constructing Excellence Awards East Midlands tbc 10/5/2020 rhian.hassall@radar-communications.co.uk http://www.east.celebratingconstructionawards.org/ Regional – East Midlands
Constructing Excellence Awards West Midlands tbc April 2020 rhian.hassall@radar-communications.co.uk http://www.west.celebratingconstructionawards.org/ Regional – Midlands
Constructing Excellence Awards Norfolk tbc May 2020 http://www.norfolkconstructingexcellence.org.uk/awards/awards-2019/ Regional – Norfolk
The Grafters Awards tbc 15/10/2020 https://www.grafters-nw.co.uk/the-grafters-awards/ Regional – North West
“Greater Manchester Chamber Awards, including Building of the Year ” tbc tbc https://www.gmchamber.co.uk/events/property-construction-annual-dinner-awards-2019-october/ Regional – North West
North West Regional Construction Awards tbc July 2020 http://www.constructionawardsnw.co.uk/event.html Regional – North West
Constructing Excellence Awards South West tbc tbc rhian.hassall@radar-communications.co.uk http://www.buildswawards.org.uk/ Regional – South West
Constructing Excellence Awards Yorkshire & Humber tbc tbc http://ckegroup.org/cexcellenceyh/ceyh-awards-2019/ Regional – Yorkshire
The WAN Residential Awards tbc tbc https://www.wanawards.com residential
AR House Awards tbc December 2020 diana.zieba@emap.com https://arhouse.architectural-review.com/ residential
Inside Housing Development Awards tbc November 2020 https://ihda.co.uk/ihda-dynamic-forms?DynamicFormScreen=EntryForm&ccs=1892&cl=186& https://ihda.co.uk/ residential
The Building Awards tbc November 2020 https://www.building-awards.com The building
The British Construction Industry Awards (BCIA) tbc tbc https://bcia.newcivilengineer.com construction
The APS National CDM and Student Designer Awards tbc tbc rosalind.grozier@aps.org.uk https://www.aps.org.uk/awards-0 health and safety
The Construction Computing Awards – The Hammers http://www.constructioncomputingawards.co.uk Construction IT

Work Life Week 2019

Work Life Week 2019

October 7 to 11 is National Work Life week. Although the focus is on working families, there are some takeaways for those of us working in bid environments, where the concept of a work/life balance can feel like the ultimate troll. As bid professionals, we are so driven to ensure wins for our clients or employers that down time, or self-care, is the first thing to go out of the window. I speak from bitter experience when I say this is a mistake.

Preventing burn-out 

Being freelance has enabled me to gain more balance and prevent burn-out – cooking from scratch, swimming regularly and getting into the hills for a hike as often as I can. Brain rest is as important as physical rest in my view and I have done a lot of work over the past 18 months implementing and sticking to boundaries by not responding to emails or phone calls in the evening, unless it’s prearranged. I also switch off my laptop and deliberately do something else, even if it’s just watching TV!

This summer was exceptionally busy, with three really major pieces of work that required more than a few 14-hour days, but to counterbalance this, I made sure that September was quieter and I went to Scotland for a few weeks. I have come back feeling refreshed and ready to meet the demands of a full diary until Christmas.

Technological solutions 

Over the past couple of months, I have been learning more about the impact that technology will have on the bidding environment, including project management tools, information libraries and programmes to reduce graphic design re-work. Having said this, I am yet to really see a technological solution to reduce the writing burden, so I’m interested to see whether a solution for this crops up at some point.

What about you? 

Do you feel like you have a good work/life balance? Do you recognise the signs when you need to re-assess? Have you got any advice on how to do this? I’m sure other bid people would love to hear your ideas, tips and tricks.

You can find out more about Work Life Week on its website


World Architecture Day 2019

World Architecture Day 2019

October 7 2019 is World Architecture Day, established in 2005 by the Union International des Architects (UIA) to promote the role of architects and architecture. This year’s theme is Housing for All and is a clarion call for architects to come together to contribute their creative energies to improve housing across the world. 

Architects are essential to the world around us – designing the infrastructure that enables us to live our lives, including houses, shops, schools and colleges, hospitals, and the buildings we work in and around. They also have an important role in delivering social justice and equality, creating quality environments for all sections of society. This is particularity true of housing. 

I’ve loved buildings from being a child, but it was an architect that sparked my interest in the built environment as a career. I’d watched them develop a scheme into a completed bricks and mortar building from the earliest of feasibility sketches on their drawing board. The sense of wonder I felt as I witnessed this evolution has never left me. I’m also constantly amazed by the ability of architects to combine the aesthetic with the technical, although I doubt it’s as easy as they make it look.

For those wondering why I didn’t follow a more technical career path, it’s because I’m definitely a language person – I can’t count for toffee, so any building I’d designed probably wouldn’t come out straight.  

So on this World Architecture Day, let’s celebrate the architects we work with and appreciate the contribution they make to the world around us.

You can find out more via the website and follow the hashtags for the day: #WAD2019 and #HousingForAll.