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Creating a successful entry

ABC’s Excellence in Construction (EIC) awards program is the industry’s premier competition, with hundreds of projects vying to be named the best in the country in up to 50 categories.

For members who are preparing their submissions for this year’s competition, below are some tips to achieve a higher score:

The scope defines the project. It is also the first thing the judges read. Be sure to include all the items outlined in the application. A clean page layout increases readability, and using bullets allows the judges to easily learn about your project. Samples from winning projects can be seen at abc.org/EIC.  

The narrative tells the story. Worth almost a third of the total point value, the narrative should be the highlight of the application. This is where applicants can brag about why a project is special. Obstacles that were overcome and explanations of extenuating circumstances should be communicated clearly and succinctly. Winning projects typically use creative subheads and a few small photos to capture the judges’ attention. Be sure to use all four pages to demonstrate why your project is deserving of an EIC award.

Safety is always a priority. Be sure to include the information requested in this section of the application, but also take the opportunity to describe innovative safety programs that were utilized during the project.

Many times the difference between winning an Eagle or Pyramid award is a single point, and the overall presentation can be the easiest area in which to earn more points. Applicants should be sure to include all the items listed in the application and review the materials carefully to ensure they comply with the national criteria before submitting. Creativity allows projects to stand out, but be careful not to lose focus on the criteria. 

In addition to ensuring the font design and size is legible, be sure your writing is free of grammatical errors, spelling mistakes and other typographical errors. Uploading PDF documents affords you the comfort that the judges see the document exactly as it appears to you. 

Remember because the judges are not able to visit your project site in person, your photographs are very important to your entry’s success. Select the best photographs of your project and be sure each one has been reviewed by a safety expert to avoid a safety violation. It is important to include photographs that demonstrate progress (i.e. before and after) and include a clear and concise description of everything captured in the photograph, including relevant information related to the project narrative.

Take advantage of all possible points! Participating in ABC's Safety Training Evaluation Process (STEP) and achieving the Accredited Quality Contractor (AQC) credential will also earn two additional points per program. Both programs include an application process so be sure to get an early start. There is also a Supplemental Materials section to earn a few extra points. Everything adds up!

And remember - it's best to get an early start! See below for helpful steps as you prepare for a submission:
  • Reference letters are required—request those letters sooner than later! Getting a reference letter from your owner during the holiday season may prove impossible.
  • Ensure that all man-hours are recorded throughout the project, including for any subcontractors you’ve hired.
  • Take high-quality photographs along the way so you can document the project in progress, in addition to those perfect shots of the final product.
  • Gather your OSHA 300 and 300A forms for all years the project was under construction.
  • Maintain a comprehensive list of all subcontractors on the project and identify which are fellow ABC members.
  • Take advantage of all points available – apply for STEP and AQC! Visit abc.org/step and abc.org/aqc for more information.
  • Mail your payment early! You don’t want to put all that work into an application and then miss the payment deadline.
Good luck!