A step change for the 2022 NKBA Excellence in Design Awards sees the introduction of a NKBA Technical Judge to oversee and review the technical details of all entries. The NKBA has made this move to ensure greater transparency, consistency and efficiency across the judging process. This is a timely and important decision for the organisation that will help to ensure the awards programme is well resourced to grow and prosper.

Suzie Rees, NKBA’s Executive Officer, says the primary reason for the introduction of a NKBA Technical Judge was to reduce the onus on the core judging panel.

“Judging the NKBA Excellence in Design Awards is a huge commitment and requires a great deal of time and dedication from our judging panel. As the awards programme has grown, so too has the resource required to judge the entries fairly and critically. Good design means that a designer has planned a space that is spatially aware, where workflows have been considered and one that is compliant with Spatial Design Guidelines and the NKBA rules and regulations. In the past, each judge on the panel would need to work through every entry to ensure it met the requirements from a technical aspect. By introducing a NKBA Technical Judge, we can significantly reduce the time required from the judging panel to check those important details,” says Suzie.

Nicola Manning, a 2022 NKBA Judge says by splitting the role out, a higher level of importance is then placed on the technical elements.

“NKBA is sending a clear message about the importance of detailed planning and improving the professionalism of all designers. The aesthetics of a design are critical to the overall success of a project, but the technical side cannot be underestimated – it can make or break a project and can ultimately be the difference between winning an award and not,” says Nicola.

Suzie Rees says the NKBA Technical Judge role will be held by an individual for at least two to three years.

“We want there to be some consistency to the role, and so having a judge hold the position for longer than one year will help implement this. For 2022, our NKBA Technical Judge will be joint judging the technical elements with Davinia Sutton and Nicola Manning. Davinia and Nicola are also part of the core judging team that will ultimately make the decisions on the day,” says Suzie.

The new NKBA Technical Judge for 2022 is Heather Wood. Heather is an incredibly experienced designer with more than 40 years in the industry. She has been President of the NKBA, on the Board of the Certified Designers Society, judged the NKBA Excellence in Design Awards and has also been a multi-award winner and business owner. Heather was certified in 2003 and became a member of NKBA in the late 90s. Heather is now semi-retired.

Heather is looking forward to the new role and stepping up to the challenge.

“I have always enjoyed the technical side of design and so this role works well with my background and experience with the NKBA,” says Heather.

In addition to the NKBA Technical Judge, the 2022 NKBA Judging Panel includes Davinia Sutton, Nicola Manning, Janice Kumar-Ward, Royston Wilson and Darren James. The winners will be announced at NKBA’s Excellence in Design Awards, in Queenstown, on Saturday 2 July.