The Housing Design Awards are promoted by the Department for Communities and Local Government, NHBC, the Royal Institute of British Architects and the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Homes and Communities Agency. Awards are made at two stages; for projects of great potential where the scheme has detailed planning permission but is not yet finished and occupied; and for completed schemes of outstanding merit.
Developments may consist of private or public sector new build, conversion or renovation schemes in England, provided they are of four or more dwellings. Schemes including non-residential uses may be entered provided housing constitutes a major element. Although some shared domestic facilities are allowed, schemes such
as nursing homes are not eligible.
Judging is carried out by an awards committee, including the Chair of the sponsorship committee and representatives of each of the promoters. They are looking for the very best in housing design, and consider a wide range of factors:
- 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
- finishes, detailing and workmanship
Entrants in 2009 were also asked to assess themselves against Building for Life, a matrix developed by CABE in partnership with Design for Homes for measuring urban design manners and public and private amenity in new housing.