ACE Award categories

The ACE Awards are broken down into three categories – General, Collaborative Working Agreement, and Alliance. 

Additionally, there are four sub-categories which may apply to your project - Overseas Projects, Small Projects, Small Firm and First Time Entry. In your submission, you’ll select which categories best reflect your project.  

Regardless of type, all entries must include:  

  • an overview of the consulting work provided, anwhat elements that recognition is being sought  

  • for CWA and Alliance entries, detail on what work was contributed by the ACE New Zealand member 

  • how this work has contributed to the project outcomes 

  • a summary of the working relationships within the project 

  • a detailed technical description of the project 

  • why the consulting solution is better than business as usual 

  • why this project represents excellence or innovation in the business of consulting 


Does your project have a traditional client and consultant relationship where the consultant has been engaged directly by the client to deliver a solution or service? If so, your project should be entered into the General category.  

Typically, these types of projects will include one client and one consultant but can also include sub-consultant work engaged in delivering a specific aspect of the consulting.  

The award is not made for the project itself, but for the consultant’s contribution to the success of the project. Its therefore important that the submission report for a General entry specifically details why recognition is being sought for an element or aspect of consulting service or delivery. 

Collaborative Working Agreement (CWA)

A CWA, or joint venture, is a contractual agreement between multiple consulting firms designed to deliver services or solutions which add value for both parties in the relationship, for a specific project or term contract. These parties enter into a traditional contractual arrangement with the client. 

The behavioural relationship aims to deliver on shared goals in terms of integrated planning, project development, project delivery, and value for money, while still adopting a traditional contract model with relationship provisions overlaying the client/consultant contract structure.  

To be eligible as a CWA, the project must be undertaken by an ACE New Zealand member jointly with another consulting engineering firm, either: 

  • An overseas branch of the same multinational company 

  • One or more overseas firms 

  • One or more ACE New Zealand firms 

As well as taking other criteria into account, CWA entries must clearly show:

  • All parties are ACE New Zealand members, or 

  • The ACE New Zealand member firm(s) must contribute more than 30% to the project 

  • A participation profile, together with written verification by the other party(ies) to the CWA and the share and short detail of work contributed by each contributor 

  • Evidence of the formal contractual relationship of the CWA parties with the client 

  • For overseas projects, the work must be managed by a New Zealand-based office 

  • In the case of a New Zealand office contributing to a project run by its parent multinational, the New Zealand component must be a discrete and identifiable component of the project 


Alliance projects have a formal alliance contract which defines relationships, the management structure, cost and pain share/gain within the Alliance.  

Entries should be made in the name of all the alliance members. There may be clauses within an alliance agreement which preclude any of the alliance members making independent award entries.

The alliance group may also have separately contracted specialist sub-consultants, and other parties who will need to be identified and the judges will need to understand how they fit within the alliance hierarchy. Additionally, alliances must submit written confirmation from all alliance parties the split and type of work done by ACE New Zealand member firms and other consultant alliance parties. 

Within an alliance, the judges need to know how the work, innovation and decisions, were made and managed. You must identify the various working relationships, ie who is leading the decision making, and other relevant stakeholders responsible for delivering the outcome.  

If the alliance’s entry focuses significantly on any sub-consultant workwho are not part of the formal alliance group, the entry should actually be submitted under the sub-consultant’s name, listing the alliance as the client. Similar scenarios are why the judges need to understand the working relationships involved by all parties. In this case, the project should be entered as a general project, not as an alliance.

Alliance entries should: 

  • Include details of the working relationships in the overall (whole) project 

  • highlight meritorious aspects of the overall project, which are greater than business as usual 

  • Detail what the consultant’s contribution was to the project 

  • Avoid marketing jargon when describing the alliance hierarchy 

  • Include detailed operational explanations so the panel can understand more about the complex working relationships within the alliance and overall project delivery organisation 

  • Include additional detail in your appended hierarchy table to assist the panel in understanding everyone’s role and responsibility

Example of hierarchy table to be included for all alliance entries: 


For CWA and Alliance entries

  • The entrant must make it clear that the award entry is for an alliancing or CWA project 

  • The other members of the alliance must be named and give written consent for their inclusion in the entry of the award

  • The consultant must have taken the lead role in the design activities

  • Each of the parties in the alliance must verify the share of the design work carried out by the consultant (a minimum of 30%) by New Zealand based ACE New Zealand members 

  • If an award was to be made for CWA or alliance entries, only two framed certificates will be provided. One for the client and one for the entrant. Additional framed or unframed certificates can be purchased (at-cost) from ACE New Zealand

The judging and any awards made will be based on the performance of the consultant’s contributions to the project as a whole. However, submission materials should focus on aspects of exceptional consulting work that the entry is seeking to have recognised and how this work has contributed to the project’s success.

Overseas Project

This category is where the subject of work is outside New Zealand but managed by a New Zealand-based office of the ACE New Zealand Member.

Along with other criteria, the judges will also consider:

  • the effective use of available resources

  • additional challenges as a result of the international location or context

  • effectiveness of management and delivery systems

  • any specialist services provided by the consultant

Small Project

A project in any discipline for which total fees paid are less than $50,000 or has a Capital Value of $250,000, whichever is the larger. Along with other criteria, the judges will also consider: 

  • the value to the client and value for money 

  • the completeness of the job  

  • the project outcomes delivered by the consultant 

  • how the job is complete (must not be part of a larger, on-going project) 

  • other relevant criteria as determined by the judging panel 

  • the quality of the consulting relationship 

Small Firm

This category is open to any type or size of project undertaken principally by a firm with a total FTE of 15 persons or fewer (as declared in the firm’s personnel survey at 1 January of the entry year). Along with other criteria, the judges will also consider: 

  • the effective use of existing staff and contractors 

  • effectiveness of project management and delivery systems

  • any specialist services provided by the consultant 

Small firms qualify for a discounted entry fee of $800 + gst per entry. 

First Time Entrant

This category is open to any ACE New Zealand Ordinary Member firm which has never submitted a project in the awards.  

Firms who have previously entered, but undergone a name change through merger, acquisition or ownership transfer are not eligible to enter this category.  

ACE New Zealand reserves the right to refuse the discounted first-time entry fee. 

First-time entrants qualify for a discounted entry fee of $800 + gst per entry.