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Frequently Asked Questions

Questions? Please contact Alexandra Whitson at (703) 209-8827 or Melissa Wallace at (571) 291-8137

What is GALA? (Top)
GALA (Great American Living Awards) program is the most prestigious residential design, sales, and marketing competition in the metropolitan Washington market. Builders, developers, architects, sales, marketing, merchandising, and advertising professionals have judged these awards for more than 50 years and to win a GALA is considered the "Best of the Best."
How do I enter GALA? (Top)
To get started, simply visit the My Forms page and enter your login credentials or register as a new user for the 2020 GALA Awards. Your username is your email address (assuming you previously created an account during the 2019 award entries). You can utilize the "Forgot Password" feature to retrieve your password if necessary.

For NEW Accounts: On the new account registration form you will need to provide a valid email address and password along with your basic contact information, and choose your company from the list of members. Once you have submitted this information, you will receive an email that confirms your registration. Then, you're ready to start submitting entries!

You can view and create entry forms once you log into the system. Just follow the simple steps and fill out the easy form for each entry. Remember, for each entry, you must create a unique name for your form to distinguish it from your other entries in the same category. For more specific instructions on entry forms, visit the Entry Forms page. Once all information is completed on your entry forms, you can submit your entries and proceed to payment.
Why would we want to enter? (Top)
To be a GALA winner signifies excellence and the finest the industry has to offer. It translates into true value for the consumer and signifies acknowledgement of excellence by peers. GALA is a true mark of distinction — assurance that your home, community, and the sales and marketing efforts that support it meets the highest standards. In recent years, consumer awareness and acceptance of the awards has increased, adding value to entrants.
Who can enter GALA? (Top)
The Northern Virginia Building Industry Association, Washington Metropolitan Sales and Marketing Council and Maryland Building Industry Association invite any member who is developing, building, marketing or selling housing and communities in the Washington area to enter.

The entrant must be a member. Only members are allowed to display the GALA logo or use it as a marketing tool. Architects, Ad Agencies, Merchandisers, and any others who submit on behalf of builders/developers must also be members. Entries must be a new home, community, or rental apartment community located in one of the following areas: District of Columbia; Maryland Counties: Anne Arundel, Baltimore County/City, Calvert, Charles, Frederick, Howard, Montgomery, Prince George’s, Caroline, Dorchester, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, Talbot, and Wicomico, and St Mary’s; Virginia Counties: Alexandria, Arlington, Caroline, Clarke, Culpeper, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, Loudoun, Prince William, Spotsylvania, and Stafford; West Virginia Counties: Berkeley and Jefferson; Delaware Counties: Kent and Sussex.

All entries must have been available for sale, rental, sold, or viewed by 3/31/20. All Advertising Entries must have been published between 6/1/19 - 3/31/20.
What information is required for advertising category submissions? (Top)

All Advertising Entries must have been published between 06/1/19-3/31/20.

What are Grand Awards? (Top)
Home of the Year honors the best in Design & Architecture and Interior Design/ Merchandising for a Model.

The winners in each Home of the Year subcategory represent the best overall entry in their class for a given year. The winners in categories 29-45 are eligible to win Home of the Year, provided they are nominated by at least one judge in the panel of judges assigned to that Category. The winner(s) of Home of the Year will then be selected by a subcommittee of GALA following the onsite judging.

Community of the Year must be entered.

Hall of Fame and Sales Person of the Year are based on selections made by the judges.
Is there an entry fee? (Top)
Yes, for the Million Dollar Club there is an entry fee of $140, for all Sales Achievement Categories there is an entry fee of $175 per entry. All other categories will have an entry fee of $465 per entry submitted and paid by July 3; $490 per entry submitted and paid after July 3. Deadlines: All Completed Entry Forms and Fees (including Custom Category Entries) must be received at NVBIA by: Early Bird—5:00pm on Friday, July 3, 2020 – Now extended through 5pm on Friday, July 10; Final Extended Deadline—11:59pm on Friday, August 28, 2020.
Note: Categories 1, 3, 4 do not require an entry fee and winners are determined based on a panel of judges. Please refer to eligibility requirements.
Are the entry fees refundable? (Top)
Entry fees are non-refundable.
How many entries can I submit? (Top)
You can enter as many entries as you would like as long as each meets the criteria. View Categories and Eligibility. You may also enter multiple categories with the same product.
How do I submit my entry forms? (Top)
Please refer to this Entry Requirements overview document outlining the step by step entry process outlined below plus all other deadlines, eligibility criteria and category-specific criteria.

1. Complete the entry form for the award group that you are entering, and prepare any required supporting materials as referenced in the category specific entry criteria.
2. Fill out the appropriate online form per entry. You may submit multiple entries at once.

3. Please ensure that the online entry form and the supporting documents use the same entry name. The entry name should reflect what is being entered, such as the name of the individual, model, community and/or project name. Examples:
  • Community of the Year Category: River Woods
  • Sales Achievement Categories: John Doe
  • Sales Environment Categories: The Pinegrove at River Woods Sales Center
  • Marketing Categories: River Woods by JLS Builders Website
  • Interior Design/Merchandising Categories: The Pinegrove at River Woods
  • Design & Architecture Categories: The Pinegrove at River Woods
  • Custom Homes Entry Forms: 3301 East Parkway by JLS Builders
4. In the online form, in the field for the link to entry materials, include one link from a preferred file sharing platform (Google Drive, Dropbox, etc.) that allows access to all entry materials as required by the entry category.
  • Each file should not exceed 10MB
  • When naming files, label them with the entry name, category number and subcategory letter (if applicable). Please note that the image indicated as number one will be used at the awards ceremony if the entry should win. Examples:
    • RiverWoods_30A_Project Form
    • RiverWoods_30A_Floorplan
    • RiverWoods_30A_Siteplan
    • RiverWoods_30A_Image1
    • RiverWoods_30A_Image2
    • RiverWoods_30A_Image3
    • RiverWoods_30A_Image4
    • RiverWoods_30A_Image5
5. Once your entry form is saved, you will see an option at the top of the entry form screen that reads “Submit Entries.” This link will allow you to formally submit your entries to NVBIA.

6. Pay online or mail check to NVBIA, 3684 Centerview Drive, Suite 110-B, Chantilly, VA 20151.

7. All entries and payments must be received by August 28, 2020.
I'm having trouble saving my entry form. (Top)
An entry form that has been opened for a lengthy time may need to be refreshed. To prevent loss of any information, create a name for your form and save the form first before entering information in all fields.
Who are the Judges? (Top)
A distinguished panel of Building Industry Professionals selected for their expertise in New Home and Community Design, Building, Interior Design and Merchandising, Marketing and Sales.
When will the judging process begin? (Top)
In these unprecedented times due to COVID-19, Design & Architecture and Interior Design/Merchandising judging will be conducted based on digital entry materials. The judging period will be September 7 through October 9, 2020. Sales Achievement judges will be judging entries and selecting the finalists. Interviews of finalists will take place either in-person or via a Zoom video conference call, after which the winners will be chosen.
What are the judging criteria? (Top)
The major criterion for Design & Architecture and Interior Design/Merchandising is the best combination of design excellence, value and overall quality of living for its target market. For Sales Achievement the judges are looking for the best examples of individual face-to-face sales professionalism at the community level, and not the highest volume. The winners in each of these categories will embody the highest standards that represent the best qualities of our industry.
What are Judges looking for in the category of Innovative Land Planning? (Top)
Judges look at the special features, street network, landscaping, lighting, home/building orientation to streets, amenities, and open space. The land planner, as opposed to the architect, should be included in the entry information.
What are Judges looking for in the category of Community of the Year? (Top)
Judges look for the relationship among different land uses, special features, street network, landscaping, home/building orientation to streets, amenities and open space. If applicable, judges look at website design, advertising, merchandising, and marketing for the community.
My Community of the Year entry is still in land development during the Judging Period. (Top)

Judges encourage entries to be in at least active land development stage during judging. Entries may be submitted as long as entry form is complete for the judges.

My Home Design entry is still in drywall stage during the Judging Period. (Top)
Judges encourage entries to be in at least drywall stage during judging. Judges are looking for the balance of design, value and curb appeal, and of course, consumer acceptance. Entries are not based on interior decorating.
My Land Plan entry is still in the marketing stage during the Judging Period. (Top)

Land Plans may also be submitted as long as the entry form is complete for the Judges.

How do we purchase tickets? (Top)
Tickets are available for purchase online from July 24, 2020 until supply is gone. There is limited seating! A link where tickets can be purchased will become available when tickets go on sale.
Do we receive complimentary tickets with our entries? (Top)
No complimentary tickets are given to those who have entered GALA. However, sponsors receive complimentary tickets depending on their level of support. View the Sponsor section on website for more details.
Are there discounted hotel rooms available at the event venue? (Top)
Yes, there will be discounted hotel rooms available at the McLean Hilton. Information about discounted rooms will be shown here once it is available. 
Cat. 29 Clubhouse Merchandising: How do I determine the sub category size of clubhouse or club area? (Top)

For puposes of determining appropriate sub category, Clubhouse Size is the Interior Sq. Footage of free standing structure. 

What about EHO logos or statements? (Top)

Entries in Categories 18-28 must display Equal Housing Opportunity logo or statement.

How do I order a duplicate award? (Top)
A link will be added here to download the order form with instructions on how to place your order after the 2020 awards program.

Questions? Please contact Alexandra Whitson at (703) 209-8827 or Melissa Wallace at (571) 291-8137