Developing the competition brief

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Developing a great brief is essential to a successful competition and a good finished outcome - but it can be a lengthy process and is best broken out into a series of steps:

  1. Define the vision and key goals of the competition - the brief sets the context for the competition and guides participants to deliver appropriate entries.
  2. Define the audience and specifically who you want to take part - do you want to open it up to the whole industry to compete in multi-disciplinary teams - or restrict it just to designers? Sometimes such limitations can reduce the number of people taking part but assist in getting more focussed and higher quality entries. Remembering that the more entries you get the more ideas are presented - but this has to be balanced against the time taken to process and judge proposals as well as the costs to the entrants.
  3. Define the key evaluation criteria. It is important to make your criteria as unambiguous as possible as all entries should be judged fairly against these.
  4. Clearly set out what the entry requirements are and what participants have to produce to qualify as a conforming entry (including preferred formats). This could vary from simple sketch designs through to more finalised design and potentially even fee proposals. The more certainty that can be provided the better - this helps participants deliver what is expected and helps jurors compare submissions objectively.
  5. Submission of all entries through electronic means can save both time and storage - but ensure that your systems are up to the potential large file sizes that design work typically produces. Providing a set file size limit may assist (e.g. no more than 10MB).
  6. Part of the development of the brief should involve selecting and confirming a suitable site for the competition. This can take time to sort out and involves agreement between parties on the preferred site and potentially a land purchase or designation process.


Develop an online resource

Include what you can in the brief but don’t be afraid to signpost participants to an online resource. This could include:

  • Competition timetables and submission deadline information.
  • Site maps or plans.
  • Geotechnical information and planning documentation.
  • Relevant policy and design guidance (e.g. urban design guidelines, green rating information).
  • Frequently asked questions and answers.
  • Contextual information such as site and neighbourhood descriptions, streetscapes, photographs, historical information.
  • Market information such as house types/sizes, local needs and desires, price bands etc.
  • Short judges’ biographies should be included in the competition brief.

See an example of the materials supplied to Breathe entrants in the Breathe Competition Information Pack below

Breathe Competition Information Pack

  • 06-May-2013 (Publication )

    Breathe Stage 2 Competition Briefing Document (PDF 192KB)

    The competition brief for Stage 2 of the Breathe design and build competition, including evaluation criteria, rules, process and submission requirements.

  • 17-Feb-2013 (Publication )

    Breathe Competition Information Pack (PDF 3.5MB)

    Competition brief and information for stage one of the Breathe: The New Urban Village Project: a competition to design and build a new place for living in the Central City.

Breathe evaluation criteria


We invite you to submit feedback to improve this toolkit in the future:

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