Awards Programs

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The gift that keep on giving

As a builder, would you like to promote yourself as an industry leader? Receive extensive free media exposure about your amazing workmanship and quality home builds? Win recognition from your peers and gain new customers?

These benefits and more are within your grasp through the many awards programs in the building and construction sector. Available to builders of any size and covering builds of all budgets, these awards are about highlighting and rewarding excellence in all its forms.

Here, we highlight how easy it is to showcase your craftsmanship with information about what’s on offer including projects on smaller budgets, preparing a quality entry, and the range of benefits an award could bring
your business.

Award categories for businesses of any size

The more well-known and accessible awards are available to builders through member organisations like the Housing Industry Association (HIA) and Master Builders Australia (MBA).

Both member groups offer a range of categories with options for every builder and home budget, whether you build custom homes, project builds, sustainable houses, townhouses, kitchens, bathrooms or laundries.

HIA’s Awards Program Manager Jenny Haling says the awards are split into regions throughout Australia, with regional awards giving you the opportunity to compete with local builders, increasing your odds of success.

Most local regional categories go on to compete in the state-based regional awards, and those winners go on to compete at the highest level, the HIA Australian Home of the Year awards.

“We love to see projects from first-time entrants,” Jenny says. “Occasionally people tell us their assumption that you have to enter for a few years before you have any success, but we’ve had first-time entrants take out the Australian Home of the Year. Hunter’s Construct Central Coast won in 2018 and NSW-based Mallinger Constructions won last year. If a project has great workmanship, it has every chance of winning an award,” Jenny says.

Award entrants must be members of the organisations, and homes are judged by industry experts from a range of professions — builders, designers, architects, interior designers. They will visit every house entered during the judging, and they use nationally consistent judging criteria, which include:

  • Quality of workmanship
  • Design effectiveness
  • Environmental sustainability
  • Innovation
  • Visual and market appeal

No barriers to smaller projects

Both the HIA and MBA offer award categories that recognise stand-out projects on smaller budgets. These include the HIA’s ‘Custom Built Home up to $350,000’ category and the MBA’s ‘Contract Home up to $500,000’ and ‘Renovations up to $200,000’ categories.

Jenny recommends looking at what the project cost to build and placing it in the relevant price point. She points out that the quality of workmanship is heavily weighted in the judging criteria.

“That 45 to 50 per cent workmanship is a huge weighting. A home that’s under $500k with amazing workmanship can still have just as much chance of winning as any other home,” she says.

Increase your chance of winning

In the HIA awards, local regions can choose their own categories which don’t go through to the Australian level, such as affordable homes, residential design, outdoor kitchen, and work health and safety. These can be less well known and therefore less competitive – increasing your chances of winning.

To identify a category that stops at the regional awards, look for the following statement on the regional award’s HIA webpage. “Winner in this category is recognised locally and does not progress to the Australian Housing Awards.”

The Custom Built, Display, and Spec Home are the most popular categories.

How to make your entry shine

As builder awards programs, the quality of workmanship of your home is key and, in the case of the HIA, will account for about half of the score you achieve in the submission process.

“The house will really talk for itself. If the builder is really proud of the workmanship, it’s a good indication that they should enter,” Jenny says.

That being said, there are ways to make your entry stand out from the pack. Jenny encourages entrants to closely follow the HIA’s entry process, which encourages builders to engage a professional photographer.

“We do encourage entrants to get professional photographs – it’s not a requirement but it does really show the house in its best light, especially in the media if it’s a winner,” she says.

“Drone video or other videos can also be submitted and we anticipate they will be the way of the future. Drone footage can communicate the layout of multi-storey houses on sloped properties in a way that photographs can’t.”

Both the HIA and MBA have an online process for entering their awards programs, allowing you to save your entry as you go, and duplicate entries for multiple categories, saving time. Entering a home in multiple categories, such as HIA’s ‘Custom Home up to $350,000’ and ‘Affordable Housing’ categories, can also multiply your chance of being named a finalist or winner, and in some states, these subsequent entries can also receive a discount.

Benefits of winning

The great thing about entering and winning an award is that it provides endless marketing opportunities for your business and the power of being recognised as an industry leader among your peers, customers and market segment.

No matter which program you choose to enter, the benefits of winning include:

  • The prestige of being known as an award-winning builder
  • Showing off your achievements to your customer base
  • Invaluable exposure across local, state and national media and newspapers
  • New business as a result of the extra exposure
  • Promotion on HIA and MBA websites and social media channels
  • More search engine results for potential clients
  • Official award logos to use on your website, site signs, email signature, social media tiles

Even if you participate and don’t win, potential customers can get a sense of your knowledge and hard work in the industry and be open to working with you in the future. Plus, the process of preparing a quality submission will start your thinking about the features, benefits and principles that you’ve incorporated into the home, which in turn will assist in your marketing efforts.

Need help with your entry?

As a customer of Dahlsens, we’re here to support your success. If you’d like another set of eyes to look over
your award entry before submission, Dahlsens offers to proofread your application and make copy suggestions
for your consideration. Just email your application to

You’re worth it. Get in it to win it!

Award winning homes, proudly supplied by Dahlsens

All builders are winners in our eyes, but here are a couple of recent award winning projects proudly supplied and supported by Dahlsens.

2021 HIA Australian GreenSmart Home
Ovens & King Builders, Victoria

Display Home WINNER
2021 HIA Eastern Victoria Regional Housing Awards
Virtue Homes

Project Home WINNER
2021 HIA-CSR Victorian Housing and Kitchen & Bathroom Awards Jim and Julie Carroll
Hotondo Homes, Albury Wodonga

Display Home WINNER
2021 HIA Northern Victoria Regional Housing Awards John and Blaise Fisher
Southern Vale Homes, Northern Victoria

HIA’s five steps to enter

  1. Consider recent projects you’ve completed and decide, with the homeowner’s permission, which ones you’ll enter.
  2. Visit for all awards information, including FAQ’s, entry fees, close dates, and decide which categories you’ll enter.
  3. Tick off checklist items. Make sure you have digital files of documents and have engaged a professional photographer well in advance of the
    close date.
  4. Log onto and upload the details of your projects and submit.
  5. Sit back – HIA will contact you with an onsite judging day and time.