The Victorian School Design Awards use Award Force to save time, store entries and keep everything organised

Client case study


The Victorian School Design Awards has been recognising and rewarding architects for great architectural design in Victorian state schools since 2006. The program is open to all architects who have built a state school in Victoria within the last 18 months. It culminates in an awards ceremony to celebrate innovative design with all entrants, and to further the discipline of schools architecture in the state. Architects submit high-resolution images along with written submissions for adjudication by a team of 6-8 judges. Judges score each submission individually and then meet to deliberate, debate and discuss the scores to determine the winning entry.

The Victorian School Design Awards also provides principals and administrators, considering upgrades for their schools, access to the submissions. This helps them identify school designs and architects who match their construction requirements and style of building they want.

Victorian School Design Awards logo

The problem: A manual, cumbersome and time-consuming process

Prior to Award Force, the Victorian School Design Awards relied on a hard-copy submission process. Awards Manager June Graham says: “It was like submitting a tender document. Architects had to physically deliver a hard copy of their written submission, hard copies of photos, as well as a CD with high-resolution images of their designs and constructed buildings”.

To get the submissions in front of their judges, each submission, including the high-resolution images provided on CDs, had to be duplicated for each judge. This process was difficult to manage, as June explains: “The CDs wouldn’t always work on the judges’ end, it was hard to judge and it became a cumbersome process”.

Storing the submissions also became a problem. To give principals and school administrators easy access, June catalogued each physical submission, associating a representative photo with each CD, managing and storing them at her offices. Administrators had to be physically present to view the content or rely on a copy being provided each time.

The solution: Easy online management with Award Force

June knew something had to change. She began looking for ways to help manage the submissions and make it easier on both entrants and judges.

After finding Award Force online, June said, “I found out that entrants could submit and judges could assess online. We didn’t need to save the images or store them physically any more… The system was good value for money and came with an enormous amount of help from a patient group of people”.

Thinking back to the implementation, where a dedicated client success manager proactively supports the program from the initial onboarding phase all the way to entries open, June relates: “I wasn’t particularly highly skilled in IT at the time, and I had a mindset that said this was going to be too difficult. But, in fact, Carl [her dedicated Client Success Manager] talked me through it really well”.

The Results |Outcomes

“The Award Force system has helped the Victorian Design Awards run more smoothly”.

Easier to submit

Entrants can now log in to the Award Force platform, complete their submission and upload supporting images.

“They find it easy. It’s not time-consuming. It’s not an impost on their day to day jobs”.

Easier to communicate

If there are any entries in progress that have not yet been submitted, June makes use of the Award Force broadcast functionality to keep her program ticking along: “The Broadcasts feature is good for reminding people to finish tasks and finalise their submission”.

Even more professional

Doing away with paper-based forms, physical submission delivery and physical storage have elevated the Victorian School Design Awards to the next level.

Commenting on the process for entrants with Award Force:
“The architects see this as a professional way to submit”.

No more hard copy storage

June no longer needs to store physical copies of the submissions or CDs with high-resolution images. She uses the Award Force galleries feature as an image library, and, along with the seasonal functionality, effectively categorises the images to keep them organised.

“We use the image library as an archive, and dip into that to get images for a range of programs because it has the capacity to have such high resolution and it’s not stored on our computers”.

Supported all the way

June appreciates the support she receives from the Award Force team.

“I can send an email and get a response within an hour. The people working in that area are terrific”.

Advice for other awards managers

We asked June if she had any advice for other teams, companies or organisations who are tackling problems she experienced before Award Force and she had this to say:

Green quotes
I would advise anyone running an awards program, especially those using a paper-based system, to consider an online system like Award Force. It is more cost-effective and eases the judges’ workload.”

The Victorian School Design Awards have been using Award Force since 2013.