Entries Open for the 2022 BDAA National Design Awards

Entries are open for the 2022 BDAA National Design Awards, which showcases the best of the best in our member designs. This year’s design awards program returns true to classic form, celebrated live and in person for the first time in two years, via a deluxe gala dinner set to take place on 29th October 2022 in Melbourne. What remains all and always the same is the mission of this distinguished national design awards program to honour the finest and most exemplary pool of functional, eye-catching and sustainable designs.

This year’s awards program will feature a myriad of design genre categories that include residential, commercial, industrial, institutional, etc., in all sizes and price ranges, in addition to special honours that acknowledge exemplary use of industry partner products and building supplies and excellent demonstrations of energy assessment in design. See a full list of awards program guidelines here.


In recent months, BDAA building designers themselves assumed the challenging, ongoing mission of building back the built environment here in Australia; following in the wake of bushfires, a global pandemic, and other massive challenges to produce their finest design creations–adapted to suit the needs and requirements of a world forever transformed. Also in recent years, the association expanded its ranks to form powerful alliances with Thermal Performance Assessors and other industry professionals, including the industry partner professionals who produce the sustainable building materials and essential services needed to produce our very best work.

With this in mind, the Building Designers Association of Australia is pleased and excited to put out a call to entries for the 2022 BDAA National Design Awards. The competition honours a vast spectrum of design types and features two newer categories, the Thermal Design Excellence Award, a category open only to ABSA accredited Thermal Performance Assessors, and the Collaboration Award. This category requires one entrant to be an ABSA accredited Thermal Performance Assessor and the other to be a Chartered or Full Member of the BDAA.

Regardless of the category, winners of the BDAA Design Awards also win great acclaim, media attention, collaboration and partnership possibilities, and new clients.

For more information about the 2022 BDAA National Design Awards, contact us on email designawards@bdaa.com.au.

Build back with the BDAA, rendering your best designs an integral and dazzling part of building industry history. Be a part of the 2022 BDAA National Design Awards.

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Categories 2022

There is no better opportunity for students in our industry to get a foot in the door by entering an awards program. Now your chances for recognition have doubled with two exciting Student Design Awards being presented. The Student Design (Open) category is looking for creativity and excellence in any scale of project. This entry can be a former tertiary assessment or a brandnew concept.

A functional and attractive kitchen is one where great thought and planning has been demonstrated to achieve an outcome that serves a personal brief. Entries can be standalone projects or form part of a submission for another appropriate category.

These categories are judged on every element of the project including, but not limited to, understanding the client brief, aesthetic appeal, design cohesion and sustainability.

Do you have a project that you’ve slaved away at but for whatever reason just hasn’t made it to construction yet? This is the category where you can showcase your efforts! Any project entering this category may hold an entry in future award programs should it continue to build.

What better way to contribute to your community then to design a public building or structure? This category is predominantly suitable for Class 9 (ABCB) buildings including but not limited to council chambers, schools, medical centres, shopping plazas and community halls.

Judging will focus on every element of the project including, but not limited to, understanding the client brief, aesthetic appeal, design cohesion and sustainability.

Have you come up with an incredible concept design that simply won’t come to be? You can be recognised for your design genius in this category. Projects entering Concept Design will not be eligible for future award programs and may not be constructed.

Great bathroom design demonstrates clear connection to the brief, to deliver upon a very personal outcome. Compliance is paramount, as is visual appearance and functionality. Entries can be standalone projects or form part of a submission for another appropriate category.

Designing the interior of a commercial space is abundant in possibility so long as the client brief is adhered to. Entries can be standalone projects or form part of a submission for another appropriate category.

There is something special about working on a heritage building. While these typically aren’t straight forward projects, they produce some of the most amazing outcomes while preserving history.

What good is an amazing building without a luscious landscape surrounding it? This category recognises the skills involved in designing a workable and beautiful outdoor area. Entries can be standalone projects or form part of a submission for another appropriate category.

Designing for multiple occupancy requires additional consideration and this category recognises the clever design executed in the likes of these predominantly Class 2 (ABCB) buildings.

Designing a brand new home from a blank canvas offers the opportunity to use imagination and creativity, while being met with the overwhelm of choice and the pressure to get it right. The New Residential Buildings category is broken across six price brackets to showcase more of your fabulous work in the new home arena.

Working with an existing dwelling can be a welcome challenge. A project such as this defines parameters from the start and allows you to become the ultimate problem solver while you amalgamate the old with the new. This category is broken into two price brackets to showcase differing scales of renovation.

The late Dr Chris Reardon was a Licensed Builder, a Building Designer, a Sustainable Housing Consultant, a Public Speaker, Author, and Educator. He loved environmental design and dedicated his career to creating sustainable change in the Australian housing sector. Named in his honour, this award will be given to the most outstanding project in sustainable design. Open to any description, entrants can also enter this project into another appropriate category.

New residential projects in this category require a NatHERS rating. NSW Residential Alterations/Additions may submit a BASIX certificate. Non-residential projects must submit a Section J certificate, NABERS, Green Star rating or similar as deemed appropriate.

Another wonderful opportunity for ABSA members to get a piece of the action in conjunction with a BDAA member. We are looking for a powerhouse team who has produced an exceptional thermal performance design outcome for their client. The bonus of this submission is you get to share the entry fee.

While commercial buildings must follow a brief and demonstrate good design principles, thought also needs to be given to enticing the public with the building’s aesthetic. Branding needs to be achieved and the building’s location activated. This category is predominantly suitable for Class 5 & 6 (ABCB) buildings.

This is an open category permitting all types of projects which demonstrate excellence in documentation including neat and organised construction drawings, thorough specification sheets, effective management of revisions and other supporting documentation such as any relevant engineering or manufacturer’s specifications. The purpose of documentation is to communicate intention between client, designer, supplier and builder/s, minimising interpretation onsite by providing documents that are clear and concise.

Designing for industry is rewarding when you’ve created a workspace that is far more vibrant than a stock standard warehouse. You can apply sustainable elements and create a unique building, taking inspiration from the surrounding environment and delivering something fit for purpose. This category is predominantly suitable for Class 7 & 8 (ABCB) buildings.

Open to residential projects only, this category recognises projects that have demonstrated excellence in accessible / adaptive design. Entries can be standalone projects or form part of a submission for another appropriate category.

Have you designed a terrific small-scale project that doesn’t quite fit into another category? Perhaps you’re the creator of an innovative mobile home or a pop-up retail location! Acknowledging great design in bespoke areas is what this category is all about.

The importance of a cohesive interior is recognised with this category. This award will be judged on the likes of spatial planning, materials, and colour palette of the home’s interior. Furnishings and decorations will not be considered for the purpose of judging but are strongly encouraged for PR & Marketing including Award presentations.

Secondary dwellings can often have limitations around floor arrangement and be lacking in overall scope. The award for secondary dwellings / granny flats recognises creativity in design, turning what is often a bland after thought into a feature of the property.

They say good things come in small packages! This category recognises the genius required to deliver a functional and spaciously presented home while working within the limitations of a small site.

Without prior work experience, awards are the perfect opportunity for students to showcase design ability and provide a launchpad for your career. The Student Design (Set Brief) category is looking for detail in execution of a specific residential brief, provided by the 2021 National Design Excellence Award Winner, Adam Hobill. Adam has invited you to demonstrate your ability across each of the components that each of the other categories are judged upon, providing invaluable experience regardless of your success in the program.

ABSA members – this is your time to shine! Enjoy the flexibility of this open category to demonstrate your professional excellence in thermal design. Judges are looking for proven evidence of thermal performance improvement from when the project was first adopted to once you had completed your scope of works.