Why the Design-Build Project/Team Awards are so Prestigious

Why the Design-Build Project/Team Awards are so Prestigious

By Louis J. Jenny | March 1, 2016

DBIA recently opened our application process for the 2016 Design-Build Project/Team Awards.  This marked the kick off of what will be a nearly year-long process that will culminate with our celebratory awards dinner and ceremony at the 2016 Annual Design-Build Conference and Expo in Las Vegas. We take the application and judging process seriously at DBIA, and it is the rigor behind the awards process that gives them their cachet and gives the winners assurance that they are truly among the best of the best.

What has given the Design-Build Project/Team Awards the currency they enjoy within the industry is the thoroughness with which they are judged, the caliber of the jury we assemble, and the detail we look for in applications.

The process starts with our application, which each year we fine-tune to assure we are teasing out from applicants what made their project special, and why it is a great example of Design-Build Done Right.   Meeting and exceeding deadlines, expectations and budgets while working as exceptional teams are virtually required just to be considered; to win we are looking for something more.

To make a determination on the quality of a project, we ask probing questions that go beyond the numbers on the surface. What challenges were overcome? What type of collaboration was there with the owner? How was risk allocated? We even ask for statements on the teaming philosophy.  Questions with such depth provide valuable context into not only how a project was successful, but why. We know just how much work goes into each award winning project, and we hope to capture every ounce of that effort through the questions we ask.

Once the application process ends (May 27th), a jury of leaders – both public and private sector – from across the industry with expert level experience in the full breadth of design-build project types begin an in-depth review of the applications.  We keep the members of the jury as consistent as possible from year-to-year to assure the quality of the judging remains high.  The jury then meets in the summer for a two-day meeting where the merits of all the applicants are reviewed and debated.  At the end of the sometimes contentious discussions, the jury determines winners in the eleven project categories plus special awards for Excellence in Teaming, Design-Build Process, and two Excellence in Design Awards; one for engineering the other for architecture.  And of course a Project of the Year is determined.

Once they are all announced in November, the award winners are celebrated in DBIA publications, at our conferences and meetings, and are used as examples of excellence in our educational and advocacy materials.  In short, they provide DBIA and the industry with the source material for promoting design-build and solid evidence of an industry moving ever forward.

If you think you have a project that can make the grade, find out more about how to apply at our website or contact us at

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