Housing Design Awards

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Housing Design Awards

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ENTER THE AWARDS > Judging Criteria

The Housing Design Awards are promoted by a unique partnership of government and industry being Department for Communities and Local Government, NHBC, RIBA, the Royal Town Planning Institute, Homes and Communities Agency, the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, The Landscape Institute, the Home Builders Federation, the Greater London Authority, Department for Environment. Food and Rural Affairs, Chartered Institute of Architectural Technologists, London Sustainable Development Corporation, Housing LIN and the Department of Health, Design South East and the Good Homes Alliance.

Awards are made to developments at two stages; Project, where the scheme has detailed planning permission but is not yet Completed (on site and even partly occupied is eligible); and for Completed schemes. Generally, a scheme that is built out as a series of distinct buildings or phases of homes can apply for a Completed Award.

Developments may consist of private or public-sector new build (and any combination of), 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. Most C2 Planning uses are considered for the Awards, as long as sleeping arrangements are discrete. Buildings with dormitory or ward like arrangements are not eligible.

Judging is carried out by a panel consisting of representatives from each Awards sponsor:

Department of Communities and Local Government (DCLG), Homes and Communities Agency (HCA), Greater London Authority (GLA), London Sustainable Development Commission (LSDC), Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA), Department of 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. There are four further judges, from Ebbsfleet Development Corporation, Design South East, the Good Homes Alliance and Design for Homes (this judge is also the rapporteur responsible for analysis of schemes and reports on winners and shortlisted).

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.

Judges aim to interview residents during site visits to selected schemes to assess how schemes are received by the end users.

Special Awards

Special Awards will also be made to the best 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 Graham Pye Award

This award commemorates the past chairman of the Housing Design Awards, Graham Pye, who prioritised the importance of a workable plan responsive to how we live.

Rural Housing Award

2017 sees the addition of a new award promoted by DEFRA, to recognise the importance of context, notably how a design fits into its surroundings. Judges are likely to consider its relationship with landscape and how this is delivered, evidence of community engagement in developing the outcome, and the scheme’s economic and social contribution to its location.

Supreme Award

There will be an overall award made for the most outstanding scheme winner among Completed Award winners. This Award will be presented by the Housing Minister. Schemes with dwellings in more than one category will be considered for each of these.