Design Awards Guidance for applicants

01 Introduction

Background on the awards

The Argyll and Bute Design Awards are intended to recognise, promote and celebrate examples of exceptional design quality within both an urban and rural context across the whole of the Argyll and Bute Council Planning Area. The Awards provides a means of stimulating greater public awareness of good design and drawing attention to good examples on the ground.

The Awards are held approximately every two years with the inaugural Design Awards event being held in 2010 with the 2nd awards held in 2012.

Read the Sustainable Design Guide documents.

Closing date for applications: Wednesday 30th September 2015

What projects are eligible?

The awards will recognise work that was carried out or completed during the period from 1st January 2012 to 30th June 2015. Entrants should make clear when the work referred to in their entry commenced and was finished. The awards will only be open to developments for which full planning permission has been approved and completion certificates issued. If part of a phased development, it is recommended that all phases are completed prior to submitting an entry.

Who can enter?

Anyone can enter the Argyll and Bute Sustainable Design Awards. This includes rented social landlords, consultants, agents, private building owners, community groups, developers, public agencies and voluntary organisations.

02 Awards categories, eligibility and judging criteria

Awards categories

The Judges will make recommendations on awards, under the following four categories:

  • New build residential category (single or small scale): This category is for new build dwellings of up to 5 in number on the same site.
  • New build large scale residential development category: For new build dwellings of over 5 in number on the same site. Place making skills will be considered as a critical element of this category as well as master planning principles, high standard of design and evidence that the location, orientation of the buildings and the design of the surrounding space form a critical component of the design brief and proposed/completed project.  It is also important to make evident how people have primacy in proposals.
  • New build non-residential: This category covers commercial, community/public and industrial buildings.
  • Redevelopment or refurbishment of an existing building category: This category is for the best examples of buildings brought back to productive life demonstrating excellence in the sphere of restoration or adaptive re-use.

Sustainability will be a theme which will run through all the four categories of awards and this must be clearly demonstrated in the submissions. Submissions must clearly demonstrate an actual long-term positive environmental impact, or the probability of it.

Levels of Awards

There will be two levels of Awards, these being (1) Awards, and (2) Commendations, as appropriate to both the quality and scale of the new developments.


The awards will be judged by:

  • Argyll and Bute Council Building Standards Manager
  • Argyll and Bute Council Head of Planning and Regulatory Services
  • Argyll and Bute Council Development Policy Manager
  • Councillor David Kinniburgh (Chair of Planning, Protective Services and Licensing Committee)
  • Councillor Alex McNaughton (Vice-Chair of Planning, Protective Services and Licensing Committee)

Judges who have a connection with any entry will not be allowed to vote on that entry or lobby the other judges on its behalf.

Judging criteria

In the evaluation process the criteria below will be taken into account.

Each of the 4 criteria will be scored out of 25 to provide a total score out 100 points which will then be used to shortlist the entries. The shortlisted entries will then receive a site visit (likely to be October 2015) to help inform the final judging process which will take place in November 2015 following which an awards ceremony will be held to announce the winners in January 2016.

The bullet point guidance notes provided under the 4 criteria below are intended to act as themes that the judges will be assessing the applications against. It is possible that not all the themes under each criteria will be appropriate to each development and this will be taken into account within the assessment, although applicants should always be careful to justify approaches not taken where applicable. Applicants may also wish to put forward additional information under themes not mentioned in the bullet notes if they feel that it will help justify the sustainable design of their development under that particular criteria.

Applicants should look to fully support their application using the 4 criteria and justify the design approach taken.

THE CONTEXT (25 Points)

  • How the design (siting, form, materials etc) is informed by its surroundings and how it fits within its urban or rural setting
  • Any physical regeneration / enhancement of site surroundings compared to pre-development
  • Justification of Design: clearly articulated design approach justifying  understanding of site and setting


  • Carbon reduction – demonstrate use of fabric first approach, renewable technology, carbon reduction
  • Reduced Resource Demand:  demonstrate efficiency and sustainability in use of materials and construction methods: low embodied energy, pre-fabrication, local sourcing, water use reduction etc
  • Protection or enhancement of biodiversity
  • Standard reached under Scottish Building Standards Section 7: Sustainability for Building Regulations
  • Justification of Design: demonstration of an actual long-term positive environmental impact, or the probability of it.


  • Local Workforce and skills investment
  • Originality of innovation – e.g. use of new technologies, materials or technologies as pilot projects not previously used in Argyll and Bute
  • Low Cost design, delivering affordability for local population
  • Community Interest – Demonstrating that development has achieved benefits for the community, including equal opportunities.


  • The quality of the design and of the workmanship displayed in the final build
  • The attention to detail demonstrated in the finished development
  • Justification of Design: clearly articulated design approach justifying the solution

You are asked that whilst ensuring your statements for each criteria fully support your proposal they remain focused and succinct. A limit of 500 words per criteria is suggested. Overly long submissions maybe discounted from the process at the judges’ discretion.

03 Awards process

The Awards process starts in July 2015 and is expected to be completed with a presentation of Awards in January of 2016.

Stage 1 – Deciding whether to enter

Discuss any projects which could be entered into the Awards with your colleagues, clients or architects/agents. The scale of the project is not an issue as the quality of the proposal will be the main area of consideration.

Stage 2 – Entering

If you decide to enter, allocate sufficient time to prepare the application form(s). You have until the closing date on 30th September 2015 to complete the task.

Your entry must consist of two parts:

  • Part 1 – Completed application form with reference to the four criteria described above.
  • Part 2 – Four high quality photographs representative of the project. The photographs will be included in the Judges’ Report as well as being displayed at the Awards ceremony. The Council may also choose to use any submitted image for the purposes of publicity surrounding this or any future Argyll and Bute design award competitions and within any documents or materials relating to the Local Development Plan. The submission should only comprise of the completed application form and the four images. Any other supporting material will not be accepted.

You are asked that whilst ensuring your statements for each criteria fully support your proposal they remain focused and succinct. A limit of 500 words per criteria is suggested. Overly long submissions maybe discounted from the process at the judges’ discretion.

You may enter the competition by filling out the online form and uploading the images as part of that process or you may enter by post.

For postal entries one copy of each application form and a CD-ROM containing the 4 photographs are required. CD-ROMS must be clearly labelled.

The postal address for entries is: Argyll and Bute Sustainable Design Competition, Development Policy, 1a Manse Brae, Lochgilphead, Argyll PA31 8SB.

All entries will be put on the Councils website. Failure to comply with the requests on the application form could result in your submission being invalid.

Stage 3 – Judges’ shortlisting

Anticipated to take place during October 2015

Stage 4 – Site visits

Anticipated to take place after shortlisting during October 2015. Any entries short listed for a site visit will be notified by email or by post. The date of the site visit will be fixed and it will be for the applicant or their appointed representative to ensure that the development is available to view both inside and out. Unfortunately it will not be possible to re-arrange viewing days, If the property is unavailable for viewing on that day then it will be discounted from the process.

Stage 5 – The Judges’ final selection process

On completion of the site visits, the Judges will finalise their recommendations on the winning entries which will be put before members of the Planning, Protective Services and Licensing Committee.

Please make sure you have read all the notes carefully before deciding whether to enter.