We hope the following answers should solve any questions you may have about entering schemes into the Housing Design Awards.

If you can’t find an answer in our FAQs and still need help, please email info@hdawards.org.  If you have not received a response within 3 working days, you can ring us on 020 3301 3857

When can I enter?
As a general rule, you will be able to enter the awards from the beginning of January until the end of February. Sign up for our email newsletter service or follow us on Instagram @housingdesignawards_uk  to be kept informed.


What format should I submit entry?
In recent years entries have been submitted in a PDF board. From 2020 onwards all entries will be digitally created, and you will only need to upload high quality JPGs or PNGs and answer some questions. Entries will then be automatically put together in formats for viewing both online and offline. You can see the new layout here


Are there any image requirements?
Yes, please follow the guidelines below.

  • The number of images you can upload (8,15 or 20) will depend on the package you select.
  • Select a featured image which will be used as the key graphic in any materials produced relating to your scheme.
  • 60:40% mix of drawings and photos of elevations to location plans, site layouts, apartment layouts and individual unit plans.
  • The only file formats accepted are PNG and JPEG. 
  • Images must be high-resolution: no smaller than 750x750px and no larger than 2500x2500px


What content should be included?

  • Location plan showing the site in relation to its surroundings
  • Layout plan with North point and scale clearly marked and showing the relationship of the proposed building to any others on the site. The extent of the project itself should be outlined in red.
  • Typical dwelling plans and elevations with the scale clearly marked
  • In conversion and improvement projects, photographs of the existing buildings. In other cases, photographs of the site and/or adjacent developments
  • In the case of schemes involving more than 100 homes where the majority of dwellings are houses, it is advisable to choose a higher package (increased entry fee)
  • Details of community consultation: Describe any measures taken to explain and consult on your development with the neighbouring community during the planning process, including anything you did to manage fears and expectations (in the planning history section please).

Scheme Description
To allow easy comparison, we recommend you structure it as bullet points against the 12 Building For Life criteria, available here . These cover most criteria with the exception of information about dwellings.


Do I need to send a hard copy of my entry?
No, you do not need to send a hard copy of your entry.


Do I need to send a separate electronic copy of my entry?
No, you do not need to send an electronic copy of your entry.


Do I need to submit my plans and drawings as separate elements?
You do not need to submit your plans and drawings as separate elements when entering the awards at the initial stage. However, should your scheme be shortlisted, you may be contacted and asked to provide these elements and any additional information required.


What do I do if I can’t pay online?
If you are unable to pay for your submission online you can email us at info@hdawards.org and we will provide further instructions on how to pay.


When can I submit my payment online?
Payment will now be integrated into the online entry system and you will need to pay for your entries before you can start to fill in any of your data. The new system will allow you to select multiple packages and pay for them in one go by credit card or bank transfer.


Can I change my package after I have bought it?
It is not currently possible to upgrade or downgrade your package after purchase. Please think carefully about the number of images you wish to include before selecting your package.


How will the judges feedback work?
Judges feedback is a new addition for 2020 and will only be given to schemes in the Premium category. You will receive written feedback in May after the judging has been completed. The first 50 entries will be entered into a prize draw to win 1 of 3 judges’ feedback regardless of package purchased.


When is the submission deadline for the boards?
All information must be received by 5pm on 3rd March.


Can I amend my entry after I have submitted it?
Yes, once your entry has been submitted the information can still be amended until the submission deadline. 


When/where is the awards ceremony held?
The 2020 awards ceremony, led by the housing and planning minister, will be 6-8pm on Monday 13th July at the IET (Institution for Engineering and Technology) next to the Savoy Hotel on the London Embankment.


Developments may consist of houses, bungalows, maisonettes, or flats, or any combination of these. Schemes including non-residential uses may be entered, provided housing constitutes the main element. Entries should be submitted for either a Project or Completed award. Schemes can include either new build or conversion/improvement, or a combination of both and must be a minimum of 4 units. Schemes are for England only.


Project Schemes
To be eligible, Projects must have detailed planning approval (exc S106) by mid-March when the judges first meet.


Completed Schemes
Fully or partly occupied since December 2018 may be submitted for a Completed scheme award. Any submission for a Completed award which has previously won a Project award will be shortlisted for a visit.


Each scheme entered must identify key contacts from all parties involved, including the details of representatives from the local planning authority. Each award is made jointly to developer, contractor, architect and planning authority and a representative from each will be invited to the ceremony, if shortlisted.


Awards Ceremony and Exhibition
The 2020 Awards will be announced at a ceremony the afternoon and evening of Monday 13th July in London. Winners will be drawn from a shortlist published in late March/early April. An online gallery will promote shortlisted schemes both in London and the rest of England in an exhibition which stays online indefinitely in the Housing Design Awards archive and new digital housing expo. The first 50 entries will be entered into a prize draw for 1 of 3 exhibition stands at the Awards evening.


The judges can be found here
The judges consider:

  • Relationship to surroundings and neighbourhood
  • Response to site constraints and opportunities
  • Layout, grouping and landscaping
  • Planning of roads and footpaths
  • Handling of garages and car parking
  • Attention to safety, security and accessibility
  • External appearance and internal planning
  • Sustainability in construction and maintenance
  • Finishes, detailing and workmanship
  • Dwelling size and storage
  • Entrants are asked to provide information of Building for Life assessments or use the numbered questions to structure your entry. You will not be penalized for not having previously had a Building for Life assessment. Judges aim to interview residents during site visits to selected schemes to assess how schemes are received.


Special Awards

Schemes will also be considered for recognition as examples of:

  • Best design of sustainable higher density development in London.
  • Best design of new homes for private rent.
  • Best development for housing our ageing population. This is an award promoted by the Department of Communities and Local Government championing recommendations made in the December 2009 HAPPI report on improving design for the over 55s and supported by Housing Learning and Improvement Network.
  • The Richard Feilden Award for Affordable Housing. This award, for best development by a ‘registered provider’, tends to go a development that shows how to build more inclusively.
  • The Good Neighbour Award.  The criteria for this award is as follows:


    1. A submitted scheme will have received full planning approval at committee 
    2. A submitted scheme should be ‘Completed’, being wholly or partly occupied since December 2018, so that judges can visit the incoming community 
    3. A local representative from the neighbouring area should be available for judges to meet to answer questions when shortlisted schemes are visited in early May
    4. The development style should be exemplary design quality and demonstrate an appropriate response to its context
    5. The submission should explain how the new scheme works within the existing framework of development and amenity
    6. The submission should show how the development addresses local housing needs
    7. The submission should include evidence of local support. Any further enquiries should be address to the team at Housing Design Awards by email using info@hdawards.org

Launching this year the Masterplanning Award supported by Homes England.

Designs must support Homes England’s support for Building for Life principles with key focus on:
1. Infrastructure that is economic to deliver while encouraging active travel by pedestrians and cyclists, not just cars
2. A green and blue landscaping strategy to support the net gain target for biodiversity in the Environment Bill
3. Ability to phase the development
4. Flexibility to offer parcels to a variety of developers including custom build and senior housing specialists.


Shortlisted schemes
In the event of your scheme being shortlisted, you may be asked to provide additional separate files to explain them on the Housing Design Awards website. Additional information sometimes required:

  • Text files – Microsoft Word (.doc), PowerPoint (.ppt), InDesign (.indd)
  • Image files – Preferred file format is eps, tiff or jpeg. All images should be saved in a CMYK format at a resolution of 300dpi at full size.  Images will also be used in our marketing material.
  • Location plans, plans and elevations – Autocad, Vectorworks and Illustrator files all accepted. Please export as either dwg, dxf or eps files

The partners to the Awards use this information for understanding patterns in the industry.


How to Enter

  1. Pay for your scheme entry online

Entry fees for 2020 Awards:

Basic – Includes 8 images costs £275 plus VAT (£330 total)

Standard – Includes 15 images costs £375 plus VAT (£450 total)

Premium – Includes 20 images and judges feedback costs £455 plus VAT (£546 total)

  1. Complete the entry form online

Fill out all mandatory questions and upload your supporting assets in five simple steps. Review save and revisit scheme entry information as necessary. Once your entry has been submitted the information can still be amended until the submission deadline. Please ensure all information is correct and that entries are submitted online by 5pm 3rd March 2020. Should you wish to see a step by step guide of how to fill out the online entry form please email info@hdawards.org.