The ENR Southwest Best Projects competition recognizes many of the region’s most outstanding construction and design achievements in the past year. In the nearly two decades since the Best Projects program was initiated, the industry has changed, but one constant is the drive for efficiency.

Winning projects were directed by teams with a passion for collaboration. In addition, a significant number of project teams this year cited using lean principles to get projects built faster, better and cheaper. Two prime examples were the Lucky Dragon Casino and UHS Spring Valley Hospital in Nevada.

The eight judges reviewed more than 70 projects that were completed between June 1, 2016, and June 30, 2017. The panel included: Andrew Baird, project manager, Kimley-Horn; Pat Edwards, principal and regional manager, Burns & McDonnell; Kai Kaoni, assistant professor of practice at Northern Arizona University; Corey Newcome, division manager, Las Vegas Paving; Ann Schexnayder Blanchard, project manager, Graycor Construction Co.; John Take, senior vice president, Stantec; Craig Randock, design leader, DLR Group; and Bill Sabatini, lead design principal, D/P/S.

The judges rated the projects based on five criteria: overcoming challenges and teamwork; safety; innovation and contribution to the community; construction quality and craftsmanship; and the function and/or aesthetic quality of the design.

Projects that experienced a construction-related fatality were automatically disqualified.

Judges conferred to choose a category winner and one or more awards of merit. They also selected one overall Project of the Year.

If a judge was employed by, or did any work on the projects being considered, that judge was assigned to a different category.

Also highlighted on the following pages are the results of the Excellence in Safety award. The competition was adjudicated by Jon Wickizer, director of corporate safety, Brahma Group, and Barb Spitz, environmental health and safety manager, JB Henderson Construction. More than 30 projects were considered for this award based upon their OSHA incident rates, lost-time accidents, total work hours and the quality of the project’s safety programs.