From a $1.3-billion water treatment plant to a $5.6-million highway interchange, the winners of this year's Best Projects competition were not limited by value or scope of work. Spanning the New York, New Jersey and Connecticut region, the winners caught the judges' attention because they stood out among peers for overall qualities such as craftsmanship, innovation and/or safety.

Photo Courtesy of Malcolm Pirnie/CH2M Hill Joint Venture
Sizing the Competition: The $1.3-billion Catskill/Delaware UV facility was the biggest project in terms of value among the winners in this year's Best Projects competition.

The judges reviewed 67 projects, completed between July 1, 2012, and June 30, 2013, and chose 18 to take home the top prize for a specific category and 21 others to claim awards of merit. Two of the seven judges are safety experts and they reviewed 27 projects entered in the separate safety portion of the contest.

Judges had two weeks to score each entry on a scale of 1 to 10. Once their scores were tallied, they met in New York to defend their positions on which of the highest-scoring projects was the best in a specific category and which, if any, deserved an award of merit.

The debates were especially long and intense over the four contenders for the region's Best Project of the Year—the $1-billion Barclays Center; the $1.3-billion Catskill/Delaware UV Light Disinfection Facility; the $18.8-million Daylighting of the Saw Mill River at Larkin Plaza; and the $365-million NanoFab Xtension. The judges eventually came to a unanimous decision to award the title to Barclays Center.

Separately, the safety judges looked for a project that stood above the rest in this portion of the competition. They said that several projects did a "good job" on managing risk but there was only one—the New York State Capitol Building Restoration, Contract C—that they believed went far beyond that. That project, one judge said, had "great multiple and significant risk exposures," but the team used design, pre-planning and an approach to safety that "wasn't compliance driven; it was risk-driven."

Meanwhile, for each of the top category winners, the competition is not yet finished. They will face a new round of review for possible selection as Engineering News-Record's Best of the Best Projects. The results of that contest are set to be announced in ENR early next year.

This Year's Winners Are:

Best Project of 2013: Barclays Center

Best Safety: New York State Capitol Building Restoration, Contract C

Best Airports/Transit: Infrastructure Improvements to Barclays Arena

Award of Merit, Airports/Tansit: Delta Terminal 4 Headhouse at JFK International Airport

Award of Merit, Airports/Tansit: Rehabilitation of the St. George Staten Island Ferry Terminal Ramps

Best Cultural/Worship: St. Brigid's Church Restoration

Best Government/Public Building: New York State Capitol Building Restoration

Award of Merit, Government/Public Building: FMS SANDPRFAB Contract No. 1 - New Prefabricated Modular Building Units

Award of Merit, Government/Public Building: New Britain Police Station

Award of Merit, Government/Public Building: Brookhaven National Laboratory - Laboratory Office Buildings

Award of Merit, Government/Public Building: 121st Police Precinct

Award of Merit, Government/Public Building: New York State Police Troop G Headquarters

Best Green Project- RIT Golisano Institute for Sustainability

Award of Merit, Green Project: Arbor House

Best Health Care: Mount Sinai Medical Center - Leon and Norma Hess Center for Science and Medicine

Best Higher Education/Research: NanoFab Xtension

Award of Merit, Higher Education/Research: Connecticut College, New London Hall Life Science Building

Award of Merit, Higher Education/Research: Fordham University Gabelli School of Business - Hughes Hall Renovation

Best Highways/Bridges: Bronx-Whitestone Bridge Rehabilitation

Award of Merit, Highways/Bridges: I-590 and Winton Road Diverging Diamond Interchange Project

Award of Merit, Highways/Bridges: Route 206 Bypass

Best Interiors/Tenant Improvement: Adaptive Reuse and Renovation for Avenues: The World School

Award of Merit, Interiors/Tenant Improvement: New York University Elmer Holmes Bobst Library

Best K-12 Education: Spring Creek Educational Campus

Award of Merit, K-12 Education: Alternative School for Math & Science Expansion

Best Landscape/Hardscape/Urban Development: Daylighting of Saw Mill Rover at Larkin Plaza

Award of Merit, Landscape/Hardscape/Urban Development: FDR Four Freedoms Park

Best Office/Retail/Mixed-Use: 800 Scudders Mill Road

Best Renovation/Restoration: Elmira College Cowles Hall Stabilization & Restoration

Award of Merit, Renovation/Restoration: New York City Hall Rehabilitation

Best Residential/Hospitality: NYC Rapid Repairs Program

Best Small Project (Under $10 Million): University of Connecticut - McMahon Dining Hall Renovation

Award of Merit, Small Project (Under $10 Million): New York Presbyterian Hospital 68th Street Entrance

Best Specialty Contracting: Judd Foundation

Award of Merit, Specialty Contracting: Coler Goldwater Specialty Hospital and Nursing Facility

Best Sports/Entertainment: Barclays Center

Award of Merit, Sports/Entertainment: New York Aquarium Aquatheater

Best Water/Environment: Catskill/Delaware Ultraviolet Light Disinfection Facility