Top tips for victory at the 2012 BBH Awards

Unmissable advice on how the judges will choose winners in the Building Design categories

Sydenham Garden Resource Centre was the winner of the 2011 Best Mental Health Design Award. This year the judges will be looking for similar ground-breaking entries in this class

A therapy centre for multiple sclerosis sufferers and a mental health rehabilitation unit are the early entrants in the Building Project class of this year’s Building Better Healthcare Awards.

Nottinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust has put forward its Bracken House development in the Inpatient Facility category; while Elliott Off-Site Building Solutions is hoping its work on the West of England Multiple Sclerosis Therapy Centre will catch the eyes of the judges to win the prize for best Out-of-Hospital Care Facility.

The 2012 competition will award prizes in a total of 16 categories, recognising excellence in productivity, patient outcomes and the patient experience by the people, built environments and technologies that will help to define and inspire the future of our healthcare systems.

The 350-word overview of your product is your only chance to grab the attention of our judges. Therefore, failure to cover all of the points laid out in the criteria could result in your entry not making the shortlist. The judges can only make their decision based on the information you put in front of them

In the Building Project class, there are four awards up for grabs for Specialist Service Design , Inpatient Facility , Out-of-Hospital Care Facility and International Healthcare Design .

In each case, the judges will be looking for an exemplary new-build or refurbishment project of any size that creates a positive, supportive and therapeutic environment for patients, visitors/carers and staff within each specific area.

In the Specialist Service Design category entries must relate to a development that is aimed at a particular medical speciality, for example mental health, renal services, dementia, elderly care, cancer, eating disorders, learning disabilities, or stroke. In each case, entries must clearly show how the design and delivery of the project meets the very specific needs of the group of patients it is aimed at. In the case of dementia care environments, this could relate to the design of ‘racetrack’ corridor systems, which are perceived as an improvement on traditional dead-end corridors that do not safely support patients’ urges to wander. The judges will also want to know about how the design and construction of the building addresses wider patient safety issues and how it opens up opportunity for new or enhanced methods of patient care or treatment.

To pick up the Inpatient Facility prize, entries must relate to new-build or refurbishment projects that include a substantial proportion of inpatient accommodations. Nominations should explain how the facility creates a positive, supportive and therapeutic environment for patients, visitors and carers, and staff.

The Out-of-Hospital Care Facility prize will go to a new-build or refurbishment project which is outside of the acute hospital sector, for example primary care facilities, care and nursing homes, hospices, palliative care centres and community health centres.

Entries need to be clearly written and succinct, dealing only with the details and impact of the development and how it will demonstrate improvements on what is currently available

And, finally, for the first time in the history of the awards, we have created a specific category for International Healthcare Design . This will be awarded to any project outside of the UK which substantially improves the patient experience through innovative design.

In all categories in this class, entries must relate to buildings that are fully open to patients and staff and which became fully operational between 1 January 2010 and 30 June this year. They must also show how each design was produced in conjunction with staff, patients and other key stakeholders; how they address sustainability through enabling a reduction in carbon emissions or through futureproofing; and how they set a precedent for future design practice in each particular area. The judges will expect to see genuine user feedback and evidence that entries meet current healthcare priorities, such as improving patient outcomes, addressing infection control, and increasing privacy and dignity.

Also for the first time this year we have created two new classes in the Futures Class . This will recognise ideas and concepts for future healthcare developments and is open to both students and qualified architects. So, for example, if you think you have come up with the perfect design for accident and emergency facilities; or you have the secret to providing a therapeutic environment for mental health patients, this is your chance to win recognition for your work.

And the judges won’t just be throwing the spotlight on the design of buildings themselves; they will also be looking for stand-out schemes in the award categories of External or Landscaping Project , Use of the Arts and Interior Design So if, for example, you think you have a scheme where colour has been used to enhance the patient experience, you have created a garden or outdoor space for therapy or contemplation, or the commissioning or artwork has dramatically improved the overall impact of a facility, then why not enter? In each case your entry will need to set out how the project has an impact on the overall wellbeing of users, how key stakeholders were involved from the earliest possible stage, and how it shows innovation and sets a precedent for future design.

In line with national and international regulations, all building projects must now take futureproofing and sustainability into consideration. While judges will expect to see evidence of this in all entries in all categories, if you have a project you think has gone above and beyond the norm, then you could also be in with a chance of winning the award for Innovation in Sustainability . Entries must clearly show how the approach differs from the industry norm and how it constitutes value for money.

Last year\'s winner in the Best Interior Design Award category - the Bereavement Suite at York Hospital - showed the impact good interior design can have on patient wellbeing

In all three categories, judges will favour entries that are accompanied by user comment and feedback and those that show true innovation above and beyond what is already available. It is particularly important to use your 350-word synopsis to demonstrate how your entry meets the bulletpoints set out in the criteria for your chosen category.

Building Better Healthcare editor, Jo Makosinski, advises: “The 350-word overview of your product is your only chance to grab the attention of our judges. Therefore, failure to cover all of the points laid out in the criteria could result in last-minute requests for further information or clarification, or your entry not making the shortlist. The judges can only make their decision based on the information you put in front of them.

“It is also important that the entry is completed by a senior member of the team as they are in the best position to describe the benefits and the thinking behind the project. In addition, entries need to be clearly written and succinct, dealing only with the details and impact of the development and how it will demonstrate improvements on what is currently available. This should be supported by genuine comments from patients and clinicians. If these guidelines are followed then the judges will have sufficient information on which to make an informed decision.”

While the categories have changed for 2012 in line with the changing landscape of healthcare services in the UK, last year’s winners in the building design categories provide some guidance as to what our panel of esteemed judges will be looking for. In 2011 they included the Sydenham Garden Resource Centre, which scooped the prize for Best Mental Health Design , the New Stobhill Hospital Ward Extension, which won the award for Best Acute Care Design and Baldry Gardens health centre, which won the Best Community Care Design Award.

Click here to see all the winners from 2011 and why they were singled out for praise by our judges.

Click here to read more about this year’s event and to submit your entry. The closing date in 30 June and each entry costs just £95 plus VAT.

Good luck

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