FAQ

Important Dates

June 1 – Awards cycle opens
September 1 – Awards cycle closes
October (dates and judging panel TBD) – Judging at the National Housing Center
Early November – Winners and non-winners notified via email the status of their application (email will come from aisham@nahb.org)
January 22, 2020 – Winners announced at the Best in American Living Awards Ceremony during the 2020 International Builders’ Show in Las Vegas, Nevada

Fees

How much does it cost to submit my application(s)? For NAHB members, the first entry is $295; each subsequent entry is $250. For non-members, the first entry is $395; each subsequent entry is $250.

How do I pay? Applicants should complete their application online. Once finalized, applicants pay with a credit card. We cannot accept refund requests. If you need to make a change to your application after payment has been made and application has been submitted, please contact Alexandra Isham at (202)266-8469 or aisham@nahb.org for assistance.

Eligibility

For specific eligibility for each award category, go to the Categories and Eligibility page.

Do I have to be an NAHB member to apply? No.

Can I enter a project that was previously entered in the awards? Yes, so long as the home a) was completed or first model opened between January 1, 2017, and August 1, 2019 and b) has not previously received a Best in American Living Award in the same category.

Can I enter a project that has won other awards or been previously published? Yes, so long as it has not been awarded a Best in American Living Award in the same category.

What if another company submitted the project for these awards last year? Can I enter it this year? Projects can only win once per category, regardless of the company who submits. You may submit the same project again if it did not win.

Can I enter the same house in more than one category? Yes. For example, you may submit the full home to a single-family production category and submit the kitchen to the interior design kitchen category. Call or email Alexandra Isham if you are unsure which categories are best suited for your project: (202)266-8469 or aisham@nahb.org.

Do you accept entries from outside the United States? Yes. Entries from outside the U.S. are welcome to submit to the international category.

Categories

Where can I find more information about the categories and judging criteria? For a full list of categories, go to the Categories and Eligibility page.

What should I do if I’m not sure which category best fits my entry? Call or email Alexandra Isham if you are unsure which categories are best suited for your project: (202)266-8469 or aisham@nahb.org. If the judges feel your project belongs in another category, they will move it during judging. Your entry will not be penalized.

Can I change my entry to a different category after submitting? Yes, you may change your entry to a different category until the deadline by contacting Alexandra Isham at (202)266-8469 or aisham@nahb.org.

Judging

Are project entries anonymous? Yes. The judges are not provided any information on the identity of the project team. If a judge recognizes a project, the judge must recuse himself/herself from judging that category. Projects that include identifying information on photos and/or plans will be disqualified.

How are the winners selected? Judging is conducted by eight industry experts, including builders, architects, designers and land planners, from across the country. Judges may select winners in any or all categories, and judges may award more than one of each award per category in the event of a tie. Awards may not be given in a category if the entries submitted do not meet the quality requirements.

Learn about judging criteria and top awards.

Green Awards

Are there green categories in BALA? Yes, go to the Categories and Eligibility page for full details.

Photos and Other Media

What type of photos are requested in the application? All entry forms ask for professional-quality color photos. Entrants should refer to previous winners for an idea of the standard of photography required. Visit the Best in American Living blog for tips on architectural photography.

Do I need to include high-resolution images with my entry packet? Please only submit high-resolution images with your submission.

How many photos can I include with my application? Applicants may include up to 15 photos with their application. The number of required photos varies by category and will be highlighted in the application.

Can I or my photographer use photo-enhancing programs? All submitted images must accurately and truthfully reflect the design. Technical enhancements that improve the image are permitted provided that they do not alter the components of the design.

Can I include photo captions? Yes, brief captions detailing what is shown are recommended.

Is there a photo release form? The photo, image and content release was updated in 2016. You cannot complete the application without agreeing to the terms and conditions governing the uploaded content. You can preview the release in the application prior to submitting.

I have a video of my project. Can I submit this? Yes. The application now contains a an optional video upload and link question.

Do I need to submit plans and drawings? Floor plans must be submitted for every category except Design Detail and the Game Changer (unless applicable). Other plans and drawings, including site plans, schematic drawings, detail drawings, etc., may also be submitted. Homes entered in the remodeling categories must include “before” floor plans and photos. Plans should be void of all identifying information and easy to read.

Additional Questions

What if the online process isn’t working? If you have difficulty with the online form or webpage, please contact Alexandra Isham at (202)266-8469 or aisham@nahb.org.

What if I start my submission and cannot complete it? If you need to pause in the middle of the process, save your work and return to it later. Completed applications must be received on or before September 1, 2019. Applications are not considered final until payment is received.

Can refunds be given once I’ve registered? We cannot accept refund requests.

Who do I contact if I have questions while submitting? Contact Alexandra Isham at (202)266-8469 or aisham@nahb.org.

Can I mail my application? In an effort to be environmentally friendly, cost-effective and more efficient, we will only accept electronic entries.

What exposure do winners receive?

  • An engraved crystal trophy (purchase duplicates here)
  • Highlighted on bestinamericanliving.com
  • Highlighted in the Best in American Living blog
  • Recognition on the National Association of Home Builders Facebook page and other NAHB social media outlets
  • Recognition at the Best in American Living Awards Ceremony held at the International Builders’ Show (IBS)
  • Recognition in the Design Studio during IBS
  • Recognition on probuilder.comcustombuilderonline.com and in their respective magazines
  • National press release announcement from NAHB
  • Press conference during IBS 
  • Printed in the Winners Portfolio