There are two sets of awards made each year. About half go to ‘Projects’: these schemes must have detailed planning permission but can be pre-construction, partly completed or partly occupied. Judges do not usually visit schemes entered as a Project but take a view on their potential.
Awards for Completed schemes are made to a Completed development, or to a scheme that is built out as a series of distinct buildings/phases which can be visited without site PPE. Completed awards are never made to schemes without judges visiting. This is currently done using a mix of physically distanced personal attendance, supported by accompanying drone cameras, with interviews conducted with key parties including residents in a safe manner, mostly recorded on Zoom to present to the rest of the judging panel.
Private or public-sector new builds (and any combination of), conversion or renovation schemes in England, Scotland and Wales are eligible, provided they are three or more dwellings. Schemes including non-residential uses may be entered provided housing constitutes a major element. Most C2 Planning uses are considered for the Awards, but buildings with shared dormitory or ward-like sleeping quarters are not eligible.
Judging is carried out by a panel consisting of representatives from each Awards sponsor:
Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), Homes England, Greater London Authority (GLA), Department for Health (DH), National House Building Council (NHBC), Home Builders Federation (HBF), Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI), Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists (CIAT) and the Landscape Institute, Urban Design London, Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, Design South East, Good Homes Alliance, and Design for Homes (this judge is also the rapporteur responsible for reports on winning and shortlisted schemes including scripting the films of winners). The awards manufacturing partner, Velux, also has an architect judge on the panel.