A total of 121 projects were submitted to this year’s ENR Texas & Louisiana Best Projects competition from work completed over the past year in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas.

To determine the winning projects, an independent jury of industry experts reviewed every entry over the course of a month, ultimately selecting 44 projects across 18 categories, including 18 Best Projects and 26 Awards of Merit. All projects were completed between July 1, 2017, and June 30, 2018.

Among the criteria judges used to evaluate the work were collaboration and teamwork as well as project challenges and solutions. Also considered were safety programs and incident rates, innovative design and construction solutions, contribution to the construction industry and community as well as design quality and construction craftsmanship. Entries were disallowed for projects with a construction-related death.

The 18 Best Projects winners will now advance to the national level to be considered for ENR’s Best of the Best awards, which will be announced early next year.

To avoid conflicts of interest, if a judge worked for a firm directly involved in a submitted project, that panelist did not participate in the scoring for that category.

Judges also selected a Project of the Year for the region, ultimately narrowing down the field to three finalists: Southeast Louisiana Veterans Healthcare System Replacement Hospital (Best Health Care Project), The Center for Coastal and Deltaic Solutions (Best Office/Retail/Mixed-Use Project) and The University of Texas at Austin Engineering Education and Research Center (Best Higher Education/Research Project).

Coinciding with our main competition is the annual Excellence in Safety contest. To determine these winners, three safety experts reviewed more than 60 entries, ultimately selecting one winner and seven awards of merit. Among the safety judging criteria were lost-time and recordable incident rates versus total man-hours worked, along with execution and quality of jobsite-specific safety and health programs.

Each winning project team will be honored at an awards luncheon in Houston on Oct. 18.