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CHBA Connects: Judgement Day

Judgement day – five tips for a great renovation award entry

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Judgement day – five tips for a great renovation award entry

Winning an award can set your company apart from the competition. In addition to the marketing opportunity that all smart businesses capitalize on, it shows potential customers that not only does your work look great, it’s got the stamp of approval from others in the industry. Receiving accolades adds an additional layer of credibility and confidence, and gives homeowners one more reason to trust doing business with you.

Award season for many competitions is in the fall and winter months. While most competitions have their own eligibility requirements and entry questions, there are universal tips for preparing a solid entry and increasing your chances of impressing judges. We’ve compiled the top five tips for creating a great award entry.

1. Choose a standout project

This doesn’t always mean the most impressive-looking project, or the most expensive project. Keep in mind that judges are often your peers. How would you assess an entry? In competitions where all the product is beautifully designed and executed, you need to tell the judges why yours stands out. What makes your entry unique, creative, or exemplary? What challenges did you overcome? Perhaps you had zoning restrictions or budget constraints that required outside-of-the-box solutions. Maybe the homeowners had unusual needs or unrealistic expectations. Once you’ve selected a project, focus on communicating why it’s a winner when you answer the entry questions. Make sure you elaborate on the thinking behind your project and express to the judges why it stands out. Doing so will ensure your entry isn’t just another gorgeous renovation – it will make the effort and skill behind it stand out from the others.

The uniqueness of this custom cat litter privacy chamber was a hit with judges. Marvel Pro Contracting & Renovations Ltd., Kelowna, B.C. The 2019 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence winner for the renovation category "Bathroom."
The uniqueness of this custom cat litter privacy chamber was a hit with judges. Marvel Pro Contracting & Renovations Ltd., Kelowna, B.C. The 2019 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence winner for the renovation category “Bathroom.”

2. Photography matters… a lot

For many competitions, judges will not have the opportunity to see projects in person. This means the photos you submit are their only way to visually assess the space. It’s very difficult for judges to see beyond poor photography and imagine what the space truly looks like. Arranging for a professional photographer to take images of your work should be part of your construction workflow. If you’re not already, you should be using quality images for your portfolio, your website, and social media marketing. What makes for “good” photos? The space should appear bright and welcoming, with natural light flooding in. The image exposure should be high enough that you can see the details in your work. If you want to showcase accent lighting, let your photographer know; he or she may suggest shooting closer to dusk when they can capture interior lighting and natural light at the same time. Make sure to include wide shots to give judges an idea of what the space looks like as a whole. Conversely, get some close-up images of fine detail work and craftsmanship that you want to highlight. Your photographer should deliver images that are in focus and true to colour. To really help judges (and potential customers) understand how the space is used, it should be staged as though the house was for sale; minimize distracting elements (remove clutter, knick-knacks, and personal portraits) and take a less-is-more approach to design. Consider adding welcoming touches like fresh fruit in the kitchen or flowers in the entryway.

Plenty of natural light makes the home bright and welcoming. Granite Homes, Fergus, Ont. The 2019 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence winner for the renovation category "Kitchen – under $70,000."
Plenty of natural light makes the home bright and welcoming. Granite Homes, Fergus, Ont. The 2019 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence winner for the renovation category “Kitchen – under $70,000.”

3. Include before and after pictures from the same angle

The most impressive aspect of home renovations is the transformation. Judges want to know the true scope of the project, and they need “before” pictures of what the space previously looked like so they can appreciate how much work was done on the design, layout, construction, and finishing. Before images should show as much of the space at one time as possible so judges can see in a glance what the room looked like. Almost as important as before pictures is having an after photo from the same angle. When the transformation is easy to see, your entry becomes more competitive. This is especially important if interior walls were removed, windows were relocated, or room layouts changed (kitchen appliances moving or a fireplace switching walls). It’s easy for judges to get disoriented, even when consulting floor plans. Make it easy for them. Before images don’t need to be taken professionally, but prior to starting on a project you should take images from all angles. Later, your professional photographer will have the flexibility to capture an after image of the best angle for the new space, and you’ll have a before picture that matches.

Interior image featuring lighting, taken at dusk. West Ridge Fine Homes Ltd., Calgary, Alta. The 2019 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence winner for the renovation category "Whole House – $500,000 to $1 million."
Interior image featuring lighting, taken at dusk. West Ridge Fine Homes Ltd., Calgary, Alta. The 2019 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence winner for the renovation category “Whole House – $500,000 to $1 million.”

4. Be clear and concise

In addition to supplying images and floor plans, most award programs will require a written component to entries. Whether you need to answer specific questions or you have a big block of space to write freeform, be aware of the language you use. Make sure you are clear and concise. Use point form if you can, but don’t be so frugal with words that sentences are hard to read. Don’t repeat content from question to question – that’s a red flag for judges who will feel your entry isn’t interesting enough to come up with more varied responses. If you can, find out what level of expertise the judges will have. If the judges are renovators, for example, you can use a fair bit of industry terminology and they’ll understand. On the other hand, if you’re entering a category that’s getting judged by the public, you’ll likely want to explain things in layman’s terms. No matter who you’re writing for, remember that judges often have a lot of entries to get through. Discuss your most important points first, write clearly, and concisely express why your entry is a standout project. Before submitting, make sure someone else proofreads your work. And if the idea of writing up an entry is overwhelming enough not to enter, consider hiring someone to take over the task. There are professionals who specialize in preparing award entries for renovators and builders.

Before and After pictures from the same angle illustrate the transformation.

Interior image featuring lighting, taken at dusk. West Ridge Fine Homes Ltd., Calgary, Alta. The 2019 CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence winner for the renovation category “Whole House – $500,000 to $1 million.”

5. Give yourself time

This tip is as basic as they come, but it’s worthy of being on the list. Putting together an entry at the last minute is not only very stressful, but puts you at risk of not successfully communicating to the judges why your project is award worthy. Give yourself plenty of cushion time. Fully read the award requirements, judging criteria, and questions well in advance of the deadline. This will give you time to assemble all the elements you need. Be aware that many competitions require a specific homeowner permission form to be filled out, and that it may take some time to have your customer sign off. Familiarize yourself with the award entry method, whether it’s online software or paper forms. Make sure you have all of the required documents and images; you don’t want to be disqualified for missing information. Give yourself time to put thought into how you answer questions, touching on the elements that make the project stand out. And finally, don’t wait until the final minutes to submit an entry or count on an extension, or you may just be out of luck.

Maximize your chances of winning by following all of these tips. You’ll have a great entry, and likely more marketing material for promoting your business, win or lose. And finally, if you are recognized as a top project, make sure to make the most of it! Provide your local media sources with great images and a ready-made story. Use the opportunity to connect with your customers and your community – introduce them to the team that was behind the project, let them in on added details about the home, or tell them why your company is passionate about doing such quality work. Winning an award can be a great motivator for your team, and an excellent marketing tool. So get out there and enter!

NATASHA ROMBOUGH, CHBA’S Director of Marketing and Communications

 


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Lucchetta Homes

Lucchetta Homes the only builder with five nominations and three wins at CHBA National Awards

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Lucchetta Homes the only builder with five nominations and three wins at CHBA National Awards

Davis Heights is one of Niagara’s finest new addresses. This luxury development, features a limited selection of bungalow/bungaloft luxury custom towns, backing onto the Niagara escarpment.

At Davis Heights, the Luxe Collection is custom curated by the renowned interior design firm Raphael Gomes Interiors. The Versailles model home features a vertical glass wine-cellar embedded in the staircase filled with local wines, an elegant paneled library, convenient and practical double, main floor masters with ensuites, each meticulously designed with individual masculine and feminine forward touches.

Relax in the sumptuous living room with 15-ft. vaulted ceiling, gourmet chef’s kitchen with two-tone cabinets, and oversized island perfect for entertaining. Lower level features a spacious guest suite, games room, wet-bar, Great Room with home theatre and your own personal gym. Homes are priced from the $700,000s with floorplans ranging from 1,530 to 2600 sq. ft. Occupancy is scheduled for fall of 2019 or early 2020. Stop in to see the award-winning models. Hurry in to own your luxurious piece of tranquility with private terraces overlooking a ravine.

Riverside

As part of Riverside‘s Grand Opening Special at Hunter’s Pointe, new-home buyers will receive $20,000 in designer upgrades upon the purchase of a single-detached home! Riverside features perfectly aligned bungalow homes with waterfront lots, single-detached lots and award-winning bungalow towns. Towns are available from $499,900, with occupancy in May 2020. Move-in-ready homes are available with 30-, 60- and 90-day closings.

The contemporary Lancaster, now open, is an award-winning NZR model home designed by Wendi Pelfrey. Everything is perfectly designed to address homeowners’ needs, and is conveniently within reach of natural elements in a serene, lush landscape.

The Lancaster was recently nominated for Best Production Home and Best Kitchen in Ontario and Canadian homebuilder association awards, and was recently named Best Kitchen by Niagara Home Builder’s Association. This is a premier, resort-style, Energy-Star certified adult community, with world-class amenities and convenient services right at your fingertips.

“Buying a home here is a fraction of the cost of comparable homes in the GTA,” says Kim Kopyl, director of sales and marketing for Lucchetta Homes. “And the quality of life is far superior.”

Well recognized

Ugo Lucchetta started Lucchetta Homes more than 60 years ago. Today, it is well-known for quality construction, craftsmanship and unparalleled customer service. Sons Robert and Ed carry on the traditions started by their father. Their hard work has paid off with ongoing appreciation, in addition to the loyalty and word-of mouth praise expressed by their customers.

Last year alone, Lucchetta Homes won or was nominated for more than 30 awards by all levels of builders’ associations – local, provincial and national. The company most recently won for Community of the Year in the CHBA Awards, and EnerQuality’s Energy Star Builder of the Year.

Lucchetta Homes was also the only builder in Ontario this year to have been selected as a finalist for the CHBA National Awards for Housing Excellence in five categories. From more than 700 entries, each entry was judged by more than 180 CHBA members from across Canada. On May 10th, 2019 in Niagara Falls, Lucchetta Homes achieved being one of the biggest winners of the evening, taking home three CHBA Awards!

  • Best Attached Home – Under 1,500 sq. ft.: Riverside, Hunters Pointe
  • Best Print Ad: Riverside Hunters Pointe
  • Best Brochure: Davis Heights

Lucchetta was also nominated in the coveted CHBA categories of Marketing Excellence and Design Excellence.

“Simply to be nominated amongst the very best in the industry in Canada is a tremendous achievement, and testament to our entire team,” says Kopyl. “Winning these coveted awards truly validates the caliber of excellence that Lucchetta Homes is consistently providing to the real estate industry on a national level.”

“Being a boutique builder, we are proud to have been considered as finalists and honoured to have won such prestigious national awards,” says Robert and Ed Lucchetta, principals of Lucchetta Homes. “We build every home as if we would live in it ourselves, and these achievements further authenticate our focus on homeowner satisfaction.”

Such recognition has inspired the company to keep raising the bar. “Legendary luxury is something everyone at Lucchetta Homes strives to provide – where we not only build homes, but foundations to live your best life.”

Niagara at its finest

There are many perks and benefits to living in this area, which include lower living costs, award-winning restaurants, world-class wineries, organic farmers’ markets, beaches, designer outlet shopping, casinos, the Shaw Festival and a plethora of other attractions and amenities. GO Transit rail service is well on its way to Niagara. And, for those who love to travel, you can easily access the Buffalo and Niagara airports. With an abundance of greenspace, outdoor activities include hiking, canoeing, kayaking, swimming, boating, fishing, paddle boarding, cycling, horseback riding, golfing and tennis.

LUCCHETTA HOMES
Niagara

  • Ryans Grove and Davis Heights, Fonthill
  • Hunters Pointe, Welland
  • Lusso, St. Catharines

905.732.2658

lucchettahomes.com

sales@lucchettahomes.com


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