Q: I requested an entry form, but it was blocked by my company’s email.

A: The file, a PDF, is completely safe. However, some IT depts. have tight restrictions on emailed files. Your IT dept should be able to release the file for you if requested to. Alternately, you can request the PDF be sent to a personal email or any other email outside your company firewall.

Q: How much does it cost to enter? Will I be required to purchase anything if I win?

A: Best Projects 2011 is a free competition. You can submit as many projects as you like, and there is no fee whether you submit one project or 20. You are not required to make a purchase of any kind to be eligible or to win. Options will be made available to you if you wish to purchase additional award plaques for your team, or advertising, but it is 100% voluntary and does not affect any part of the judging or editorial content one way or the other.

Q: I’m submitting a project for the regional “Best Projects” award. Do I have to prepare a separate entry for the national “ENR Best of the Best Projects” competition?

A: No, the same entry will be used for both competitions. The best regional projects are selected by committees of judges, in 18 categories, and the winning projects are published in the regional issues during November and December. The winners of the regional competition automatically become eligible for consideration in ENR’s national Best Projects contest. A separate committee of judges picks the national winners, which are published in ENR’s national edition.

Q: How can I get my project featured in future “Best Projects” issues?

A: Every year in the spring, we post information on the Best Projects competition on the websites of all seven ENR regional editions. These seven editions regularly cover construction news in 22 states, but the Best Projects contest welcomes projects in all 50 states. All contest information is submitted online, and this year’s deadline is Aug. 1st.

Q: I need more time to prepare my entry. Will there be extensions to the deadline?

A: While some regions may have allowed extensions in the past, this year’s schedule is tighter, so we unfortunately will not be able to provide extensions.

Q: I noticed that Washington and Oregon are highlighted on the Best Projects map as part of the "California" region, but in previous years, we submitted to Northwest Construction.

A: In previous years, those states were handled by a former regional magazine in the northwest. However, the competition allows entries from all 50 states, so each of the current 7 regionals are accepting entries from various other states in addition to their normal coverage area. All projects will receive fair consideration by our panel of industry judges.

Q: I’d like to submit a project in (Guam, Puerto Rico, other U.S. territories). Will it be eligible?

A: No, Best Projects 2011 is only accepting entries in the 50 U.S. states.

Q: The eligibility requirements say that the project must be finished between August 1, 2010 and July 31, 2011. Does this mean that the project must be completely finished or could this include portions of the project being completed?

A: Phased projects are allowed as long as the phases are a natural aspect to the job, such as a freeway project that was built in phases, under several, separately bid contracts. If the job was all bid under one contract and the phases are done internally with the contractor (Example: the contractor split the project into separate GMPs internally, but the whole project was under one negotiated bid) then it wouldn’t really be considered separate phases. Another example is if a building’s shell is a separate contract from the interior or tenant improvements (see question below).

One exception is in the specialty contracting category, in which a subcontractor such as a steel contractor can submit their portion a project upon completion of it, even if the total project isn’t complete.

Q: My firm built the shell of Building XYZ, but the interior buildout (being performed by another firm) is not complete. Is the project eligible for this year’s competition?

A: Yes, as long as the shell and interior/tenant improvement work are being performed under separate contracts or phases, you can submit, even if the same firm is performing both.

Q: The rules state that any project with a construction-related fatality is not eligible. What if that death occurred on a different phase of the project?

A: Your project is eligible as long as it meets the other rules for eligibility and meets the definition of being a separate phase or ‘project’ detailed in the questions above.

Q: Our project will have its certificate of substantial completion on July 24th 2011, but the building won’t open to the public until August 31, 2011. Does “Substantial Completion” work for you for the completion date?

 A: Completion can be anytime between Aug 1 2010 and July 31st 2011. We will accept reasonable definitions of ‘completion’ that make sense for your project. However, please take into consideration that your entry will be judged against other projects in that category based on the text and photography you provide. For projects that fall right on the July 31, 2011 deadline, be sure that you’ll have adequate materials (photography, information) on the project to prepare a submittal that will wow the judges. If not, consider waiting to submit next year.

Q: Are we required to have professional photography to submit?

A: No, your photos can be good-quality photos taken on the jobsite by a project team member, but they should still meet the resolution and size requirements. Just remember that the jury of industry experts will be judging your project against other projects in that category, so try to select the photos that best capture the uniqueness and quality of your project. Also, if you are submitting a renovation/restoration project in any category, it’s a good idea to include at least one before-and-after photo (it’s mandatory if you submit it in the renovation category).

Q: My Higher Education project received LEED gold certification, and could be eligible in several different categories, but you only allow one category per project. Which category will it have the best chance of winning?

A: The panel of independent industry judges makes the final decision for the winners in all categories, so there’s no way of predicting ahead of time what the competition will be like in any given category. As you are writing your project narrative, consider which aspect of the project will be the most compelling and the most unique to the judges. If your higher education project met exceptional green building standards, or used a ground-breaking, innovative sustainable strategy, then you may want to consider submitting in the green category. However, if the sustainable aspects were fairly common, or just one facet of a project with many innovative or compelling aspects, then you may better your chances by submitting in the higher education category.

During judging, the judges are allowed to move your project to another category if it improves your chances of winning. 

Q: For the Green Project category, is it required that my project be seeking certification?

A: Certification by LEED or another professional organization is not required as long as the project is equivalent to a project seeking certification. The judges will expect the same level of sustainable features as other entries that are seeking certification.

Q: Is it possible to submit solar projects under the green category? If not, do you have a suggestion as to what category solar projects would fit under, if any?
Yes…. Though it depends on how sustainably the construction was performed. If not, please consider submitting a power project in the Industrial/Manufacturing category.

Q: Regarding the safety questions, are you asking for project-specific totals or company-wide totals? And should the totals be for the duration of the project or the totals from the calendar year in which the application is being made?

A: The safety questions are project specific, over the full duration of the project being submitted, regardless of how long or short the construction duration is.

Data should be for that project only, with the exception of EMOD/EMR (experience modification ratio), which is normally a company-wide number.

Q: We submitted a project last year but it did not win. Are we allowed to submit it again this year because of the completion date change?

A: Because the dates of our award eligibility changed slightly this year, a project completed between August 1st and August 31st of 2010 could be eligible both last year and this year. If your project did not win last year, you can resubmit it this year. However, you are strongly encouraged to consider why the project may not have won last year, and improve the submittal’s text or photography accordingly to best communicate your project team’s accomplishments to the judges. If it didn’t win last year, merely cutting and pasting the same entry will probably not lead to success this year either.

Q: Can previous winners submit again if they fit into the time frame?

A: Projects that have won previously (under the competition’s former names, Best of 2011, Best of 2010, Best of the Best 2010, etc.) are not eligible again this year, unless the submittal is for a separate phase (see question about what constitutes a phased project above.)

There is no limit to how many awards a submitting firm can submit, so if your firm won an award for one project last year, it is eligible again this year but with a different project.

Q: I submitted and won a Best of 2010 award with Southwest Contractor (or Mid-Atlantic Construction, etc.) last year. Is the project eligible for the Best Projects 2011?

A: No. Despite the name changes, it is still the same competition. Winning projects may compete again.

In January 2011, seven regional publications were integrated into ENR and the names were name changed. Three publications are no longer published.

Q: I work for the firm that built the light rail cars for Light Rail Project XYZ. Am I eligible to submit?

A: Normally, only work directly related to construction is eligible, but there are exceptions. Please contact Regional_Contests@mcgraw-hill.com or a regional editor to provide specific detail about your project. 

Q: We were recently contacted by a plaque company that said we were awarded a Best of 2010 (or a prior year) award, but the plaque they were selling does not resemble the ones you provide to winners. Is this company affiliated with you?

A: Firms such as American Registry have absolutely no affiliation with ENR or any other McGraw-Hill publication. Their plaques do not contain logos or other copyrightable content. McGraw-Hill and ENR may work with outside contractors to provide you with high-quality awards and other products, but you can always tell the difference because ours will feature the logos, the photo of the project you provided, and the specific award name and project name.

Q: How can I get extra plaques?

A: Please contact Amy_Katz@mcgraw-hill.com for an order form.