Welcome to the 2023 BDAA National Design Awards!

The Building Designers Association of Australia (BDAA) is excited to announce that entries are now open for the 2023 National Design Awards! Don’t miss this opportunity to showcase your exceptional building design projects and gain recognition for your outstanding achievements.

New Categories and Exciting Changes

This year, we’ve introduced new categories and made changes to the existing ones, including the addition of the highly anticipated Passive House category. With a variety of categories to choose from, there’s something for every building design professional.

Early Bird and Standard Entry Fees

Take advantage of our Early Bird pricing by submitting your entry before 22nd June 2023:

– Primary: $245
– Secondary: $185
– Tertiary: $65

After the Early Bird period, standard entry fees apply until the closing date of 22nd July 2023 at 5pm AEST:

– Primary: $295
– Secondary: $225
– Tertiary: $95

Download the Comprehensive Entry Guide

For all the details on categories, judging criteria, and submission requirements, download our comprehensive Entry Guide. This valuable resource will help you craft a winning entry that showcases your unique talents and dedication to design excellence.

Download the Entry Guide

Ready to Make Your Mark?

There’s no better time than now to be a part of the excitement and showcase your talents in the 2023 BDAA National Design Awards! Download the Entry Guide and start preparing your submission today.

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Categories 2023

Creating a brand-new home from scratch presents a unique blend of boundless creativity and the exhilaration of endless possibilities, while simultaneously challenging one with the vast array of choices and the necessity to make impeccable decisions. The New Residential Buildings category is thoughtfully segmented into six price tiers to highlight a wider array of your remarkable work in the domain of new home designs.

The judging criteria for these categories are comprehensive and encompass all facets of the project. This includes, but is not limited to, the interpretation of the client brief, aesthetic allure, design unity, documentation detail and sustainability considerations.

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. 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. For projects costing $601,000 to $999,000.

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. 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. For projects costing $1.0m to $1.5m.

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. 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. For projects costing $1.51m to $1.99m.

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. 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. For projects costing $2.0m to $2.99m.

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. 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. For projects costing $3.0m and more.

Undertaking a project with an existing dwelling can be a rewarding test of skill. It sets clear boundaries from the onset, enabling you to exercise your problem-solving prowess as you harmoniously blend elements of the old and new. This category is divided into three price ranges to exhibit a variety of renovation scales.

Assessment for this category will consider all project facets, including, but not limited to, adherence to the client brief, aesthetic charm, design consistency, and sustainability.

Undertaking a project with an existing dwelling can be a rewarding test of skill. It sets clear boundaries from the onset, enabling you to exercise your problem-solving prowess as you harmoniously blend elements of the old and new. This category is divided into three price ranges to exhibit a variety of renovation scales.

Assessment for this category will consider all project facets, including, but not limited to, adherence to the client brief, aesthetic charm, design consistency, and sustainability.

Undertaking a project with an existing dwelling can be a rewarding test of skill. It sets clear boundaries from the onset, enabling you to exercise your problem-solving prowess as you harmoniously blend elements of the old and new. This category is divided into three price ranges to exhibit a variety of renovation scales.

Assessment for this category will consider all project facets, including, but not limited to, adherence to the client brief, aesthetic charm, design consistency, and sustainability.

This category shines a spotlight on the intricate art of interior design, focusing primarily on the design aspects of a home’s interior. Judges will evaluate the effectiveness of spatial planning, the appropriateness of material selection, and the harmony of the colour palette. It’s important to note that the emphasis is on the architectural and design elements of the interior, not on furnishings or decor. Nonetheless, tastefully selected furnishings are encouraged for comprehensive presentation purposes during PR, marketing, and award ceremonies.

**Eligibility**
To be eligible, the Entrant must be the primary author and coordinator for this aspect of the project i.e. the majority stakeholder. Entrants are encouraged to notify specialist consultants or contractors involved in this aspect of the project to confirm authorship. Entrants must acknowledge specialist consultants or contractors in the Contributors section of the entry submission.

The adage “good things come in small packages” is the guiding principle of this category. It celebrates the innovative design solutions that make a compact site not only functional but also spacious, showcasing the ingenuity necessary to overcome size limitations. Judges will be looking for clever use of space, innovative design solutions, and functionality that defy the size limitations. The ability to create a sense of spaciousness and comfort within a smaller footprint will be particularly appreciated. Design elements that contribute to a home feeling larger and more open than the site would typically allow will be of key interest.

Secondary dwellings, often known as granny flats, can present unique challenges in terms of space utilization and scope. This award category spotlights ingenious design approaches that transform these typically overlooked spaces into stand-out features of a property. Judges will be particularly interested in creative floor arrangements and design elements that elevate these compact dwellings beyond their traditional limitations, adding value and aesthetic appeal to the overall property.

This category recognizes the unique challenges and additional considerations involved in designing for multiple occupancy, predominantly in Class 2 buildings. Judges will be looking for ingenious design solutions that effectively accommodate the diverse needs and preferences of multiple occupants, while maintaining a cohesive and functional design.

**Eligibility**
Projects suitable for this category include dual occupancies, town houses, manor houses & visitor accommodation. Buildings eligible for this category are predominantly of Class 2 as per the Building Code of Australia.

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.

In the realm of commercial buildings, it is crucial to not only adhere to the project brief and uphold sound design principles but also to captivate the public with the building’s aesthetic. Consideration must be given to branding and activating the building’s location to create an engaging and appealing experience. This category primarily focuses on Class 5 and 6 buildings, where judges will assess how effectively the design achieves these objectives while maintaining functionality and design integrity.

Designing for industrial spaces offers a rewarding opportunity to transform a workspace into something far more vibrant than a conventional warehouse. By incorporating sustainable elements and drawing inspiration from the surrounding environment, designers can create a unique building that is both functional and aesthetically appealing. This category primarily encompasses Class 7 and 8 buildings, where judges will evaluate how effectively the design embraces these principles to deliver a purpose-built space that harmonizes with its surroundings.

Designing public buildings or structures presents a wonderful opportunity to make a positive impact on your community. This category is specifically tailored for Class 9 buildings, which encompass a diverse range of structures including council chambers, schools, medical centers, shopping plazas, and community halls, among others. Judges will evaluate how effectively the design enhances the community experience, promotes accessibility, and fulfills the unique requirements of the public space. By showcasing exemplary designs in this category, we can inspire others to create remarkable spaces that serve and uplift their communities.

The significance of a cohesive interior is duly acknowledged within the Commercial Interiors category. This award will be assessed based on criteria such as spatial planning, material selection, and the colour palette employed in the interior design of commercial spaces. It is important to note that furnishings and decorations will not be considered during the judging process. However, their inclusion is highly recommended for public relations, marketing, and award presentation purposes, as they contribute to the overall presentation and impact of the design.

**Eligibility**
To be eligible, the Entrant must be the primary author and coordinator for this aspect of the project i.e. the majority stakeholder. Entrants are encouraged to notify specialist consultants or contractors involved in this aspect of the project to confirm authorship. Entrants must acknowledge specialist consultants or contractors in the Contributors section of the entry submission.

Working on heritage buildings holds a unique allure. Though these projects are often complex and intricate, they have the potential to yield truly remarkable outcomes while preserving the rich tapestry of history. Judges in the Heritage Building category will be looking for designs that successfully balance the preservation of historical elements with innovative solutions that meet contemporary needs. They will carefully assess how effectively the project respects and enhances the original character and architectural integrity of the heritage building, all while accommodating modern functionality and sustainability considerations. The ability to harmoniously blend the old and the new, honouring the past while embracing the future, will be a key criterion in evaluating entries in this category.

The “Unbuilt Works” category celebrates the unseen brilliance in architectural design that, due to various circumstances, has not been actualized into built structures. It highlights the creativity and innovation encapsulated in design documents for projects that did not transition to the construction phase. This category strictly excludes any projects that may proceed to construction in the future, underscoring the importance of designs that contribute to the industry’s innovative spirit, despite never being physically constructed.

**Eligibility**
This category is intended for projects that may be part of a future planning or building application, but have not been constructed. Projects entered into this category may be entered into another category for built works in a future awards program.

The Concept Design category celebrates exceptional creativity and innovation in the early stages of architectural design. Participants are encouraged to think boldly, challenge conventions, and inspire future possibilities in architecture.

Judges will evaluate entries based on creativity, clarity of the design concept, integration with context, feasibility, and visual presentation.

This category recognises residential projects that excel in creating inclusive living environments through accessible and adaptive design. Entries in this category can be standalone projects or part of another relevant category.
Entries will be evaluated based on their integration of accessible/adaptive design principles, innovative solutions for overcoming architectural barriers, aesthetic appeal and functionality, ease of use and practicality, as well as their overall impact on improving the quality of life for residents.

This category welcomes all project types that demonstrate exceptional documentation practices, placing a strong emphasis on the significance of clear and organized communication. This category recognizes that excellence in documentation goes beyond visual aesthetics and centres on the meticulous and comprehensive documentation of projects. It encompasses key elements such as precise construction drawings, comprehensive specification sheets, efficient revision management, and the inclusion of relevant engineering or manufacturer’s specifications. The primary objective of documentation is to facilitate effective communication, ensuring clear and concise understanding among clients, designers, suppliers, and builders while minimizing on-site interpretation.

**Eligibility**
Unbuilt projects are permitted. Visualisations of the project may be submitted if they form part of the documentation set, although they will not be considered for the purposes of this category. Visualisations may be used in the Awards presentation & marketing for visual interest.

Thermal Performance Assessors, this is your moment to shine! In this open category, you have the opportunity to showcase your professional excellence in thermal design. Judges will be looking for solid evidence of how your meticulous efforts and expertise in improving thermal performance have made a significant impact on the project. They are particularly interested in seeing how the thermal performance improved from the initial designer’s drawing to the final drawing, highlighting the remarkable advancements achieved through your diligent assessment and implementation of thermal design strategies. Demonstrate your expertise and the tangible improvements you have made to enhance the building’s energy efficiency and overall thermal comfort.

**Eligibility**
This category is open to ABSA accredited Thermal Performance Assessors only.

This category welcomes entries that showcase exceptional design and planning, demonstrating how the kitchen effectively fulfills the personal brief. Submissions can be standalone projects dedicated to kitchen design or part of a submission for another relevant category, highlighting the integral role of the kitchen within the overall project. Judges will evaluate the functionality, aesthetic appeal, craftsmanship, and integration with the overall project.

**Eligibility**
To be eligible, the Entrant must be the primary author and coordinator for this aspect of the project i.e. the majority stakeholder. Entrants are encouraged to notify specialist consultants or contractors involved in this aspect of the project to confirm authorship. Entrants must acknowledge specialist consultants or contractors in the Contributors section of the entry submission.

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.

**Eligibility**
To be eligible, the Entrant must be the primary author and coordinator for this aspect of the project i.e. the majority stakeholder. Entrants are encouraged to notify specialist consultants or contractors involved in this aspect of the project to confirm authorship. Entrants must acknowledge specialist consultants or contractors in the Contributors section of the entry submission.

A magnificent building deserves an equally captivating landscape. The Landscape Design Excellence category acknowledges the expertise required to create functional and aesthetically pleasing outdoor spaces. Entries can be standalone landscape projects or part of a submission for another relevant category, emphasizing the integral role of landscape design in enhancing the overall project.

**Eligibility**
To be eligible, the Entrant must be the primary author and coordinator for this aspect of the project i.e. the majority stakeholder. Entrants are encouraged to notify specialist consultants or contractors involved in this aspect of the project to confirm authorship. Entrants must acknowledge specialist consultants or contractors in the Contributors section of the entry submission.

If you have designed an exceptional small-scale project that doesn’t quite fit into any other category, this is the perfect category for you. Whether it’s an innovative mobile home or a pop-up retail location, this category recognizes outstanding design in bespoke areas. Showcase your creativity and unique solutions that push the boundaries of conventional design.

**Eligibility**
This category is open to any type of project, however the project must not fit into any other categories.

The Student Design category provides an extraordinary opportunity for students in our industry to receive national recognition for their projects. Being acknowledged in this category is an exceptional accomplishment that adds immense value to your first resume, showcasing your creative talent and unwavering commitment to excellence. This category welcomes projects of any scale, whether they are former tertiary assessments or fresh concepts. Demonstrate your innovative ideas, display a deep understanding of design principles, exhibit meticulous attention to detail, and showcase your refined aesthetic sensibility. Seize this chance to pave the way for a promising future in the design field and make your mark in the industry.