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Create Compelling AEC Award Nominations

Awards1As August and the summer winds down, fall is fast approaching. Not only does that mean pumpkin-spiced everything, but also awards nomination season. Many of the biggest industry awards for A/E/C firms issue their call for nominations in the fall and early winter. Now is the time to start thinking about your best projects and if they’re truly awards worthy. Crating compelling and innovative award submissions can be tricky for architects, engineers, and general contractors. The projects these A/E/C firms tackle are complex and technical. However, if you dig a alittle deeper you might be surprised!

Here are three tips that can help you create truly compelling award nominations:

  1. Get Contextual: It’s all about the context in a successful award submission, especially for A/E/C firms. Context is how you tell the story and highlight your role in a project. Take an architecture firm working on an adaptive reuse for an historic building. Understanding and relaying that building’s history and place in a community can help bring the project alive for judges, especially because many people evaluating a nomination are likely to be unfamiliar with the project itself. Context can be added in many forms, including social, economic, environmental, etc.
  2. Get Creative: Although it’s becoming an overused word, creativity doesn’t mean you have to do something completely different or off the wall. Taking too much creative risk in a project can even backfire. Instead, think about an issue or challenge and how the firm or project team addressed it in a different manner. For example, as a general contractor, did you use virtual construction tools that enhanced collaboration and delivered a better result? Perhaps there were structural elements to a building that included locally sourced or reclaimed materials. Creativity can be interpreted in a number of ways and you can relate it back to the broader context of a project.
  3. Get Specific: Writing in vague or general terms doesn’t work. It’s really that simple. To get the attention of industry judges, you need to be specific. Anecdotes from the project can help liven an award submission, for example. Include detailed numbers to help support your assertions about the project’s impact and your firm’s role. Let’s say your engineering firm used 3D scanning technology and discovered that a renovation project could save $100,000 by saving certain structural elements that were originally slated for removal. That’s an interesting and specific take on your role in the project.

Of course, the first step in any award process is identifying projects that will really stand out. Sometimes it helps to enlist a different and external perspective to vet projects and assist with drafting award nominations that tell a story. That upfront investment could deliver a significant return if your firm walks away with some major hardware.

A co-founder and partner, Andrew has been honored by Bulldog Reporter, PR News, and Style Weekly. He develops communications and PR strategies that help clients achieve their goals.