Key information, submission requirements and how we judge entries

About the Awards 

The ACE Awards recognise the excellent consulting services that shape all our futures, from national policies to sustainable communities to technological innovations. The Awards celebrate the excellent work our members do and showcase this work to the wider industry, community and stakeholders.  

Entries are rigorously assessed to ensure the integrity of the awards – they are reviewed by expert judges drawn from your peers, references are checked with clients and, where appropriate, we check in with peer reviewers, contractors and other key stakeholders. 

The judges may also inspect your work. Where physical works have been completed as a result of the consulting service, the judges will normally visit the site. Where there are no physical works, judges will review the outputs which may include digital artefacts or tools, reports or other elements that demonstrate the outcome of the consulting service. 

What we want  

ACE New Zealand welcomes submissions from members for any consulting service where excellent consulting can be demonstrated – regardless of the nature or scale of the service. 

Your submission should provide clear, verifiable evidence of how the consulting service provided by the applicant demonstrates excellence in consulting. The judges are your peers and will be selected for their experience in the disciplines or consulting areas you identify in your Expression of Interest – so your submission should be written with this in mind. 

What we don’t want 

The ACE Awards are not for ‘projects’ – they are for the provision of excellent consulting services. While projects are usually the vehicle used to demonstrate that excellence, we don’t want submissions for projects where you can’t show us how the consulting services were exceptional and how they contributed to the outcome of the project. 

We do not accept awards entries from non-ACE New Zealand members. 

What’s important to us? 

We want entries from across the range of consulting services delivered by our members that clearly demonstrate the value that great consulting provides to our clients, industry, communities and stakeholders. 

Why should you enter? 

Winning an ACE Award gives your firm and your people significant recognition. It’s also an opportunity to celebrate with your clients who take a lot of satisfaction from their project winning an award and their decision to appoint you as the consultant.  

The number of ACE Awards presented each year is not limited. If your submission meets our standards, an award will be made. We’re not judging submissions against one another, instead we’re judging the quality of the consulting service provided. The effort you put into your submission will not be wasted if another submission is a little better.  

A bit about ACE New Zealand  

ACE New Zealand is a firm-based member organisation representing more than 230 professional services firms, ranging from large global firms to employee-owned SMEs and sole traders.  

The consulting services our members provide range from business advisory services, strategy and policy development, business case development, health and safety, IT and software services, green infrastructure, transportation, buildings, manufacturing and processing services, through to stakeholder engagement, consultation, planning, urban development and climate resilience.  

No matter what kind of consulting services you provide, if you go above and beyond business as usual, your work might be award-worthy. 

Key information

2022 dates  

  • Expressions of interest and ACE Award entries open Wednesday 26 January
  • ACE Award entries close Friday 8 April 
  • Judging takes place in June and July 
  • Entrants will be notified that an award will be made 
  • 2022 ACE Awards presented 2 September 

How to contact us 

For any questions, advice or support regarding the awards submission process email Holly Morchat Stanko, ACE New Zealand General Manager of Engagement, on [email protected] 

Submitting your Expression of Interest 

Expressions of Interest must be submitted online via the ACE New Zealand website. This allows us to identify the consulting area and disciplines being entered so we can select judges appropriate to your submission. It is not used to gauge the complexity of the consulting services due to the number of disciplines involved. Please be aware that if you identify a discipline, then the consulting service you have provided will be judged against that discipline.  

We will also use the Expressions of Interest to disqualify any ineligible submissions. We rarely need to do this but sometimes need to seek clarification from the submitter. 

Submitting your entry 

  • Take time to read and understand what we are looking for and how your entry will be judged.  
  • Be concise. 
  • Avoid unsubstantiated marketing hype and hyperbole. 
  • Include technical detail and verifiable evidence that validates your claim of consulting excellence for the consulting services you are seeking recognition for. Remember the judges are your peers with expertise in the same field as the consulting services you’re seeking recognition for.  
  • Entries must be submitted online via the ACE New Zealand website
  • Your submissions can include photographs, video, drawings and diagrams, so files may be large. If you’re having trouble submitting large files, email [email protected] to let us know your submission is ready, and we’ll arrange the best way to receive your submission.
  • Make sure you include all relevant files and reference material.  


The ACE Awards cost $1,200 plus GST per entry. We offer an $800 entry fee for first time entrants and small firms (FTE of 15 employees or fewer).

Submission requirements


Submissions are rigorously assessed by expert peers and your submission must clearly demonstrate: 

  • Excellence in the provision of consulting services 
  • Exactly what consulting services were provided and what recognition is sought for. You should not ask us to assess elements delivered by other parties unless they are member firms included in the application. Significant contributions are often made by clients, contractors and other non-member stakeholders, and this will not be taken into account – it is your contribution we’re judging. 

The judges may also inspect your work. Where physical works have been completed as a result of the consulting service, the judges will normally visit the site. Where there are no physical works, judges will review the outputs which may include digital artefacts or tools, reports or other elements that demonstrate the outcome of the consulting service. 

Your submission should provide clear, verifiable evidence of how the consulting service provided by the applicant demonstrates excellence in consulting. The judges are your peers and will be selected for their experience in the disciplines or consulting areas you identify in your Expression of Interest – so your submission should be written with this in mind. 

Please don’t use superlatives or marketing hype without verifiable evidence supporting any claims made in your submission. 

Award categories  

All submissions are judged against the general entry category. This covers all consulting services and all categories of engagement of consulting services including traditional client engagements, sub-consultant engagements, collaborative working arrangements, alliances, and public private partnerships. 

Additionally, we also seek to celebrate the diversity of consulting. On the entry form consultants will be asked to confirm whether the consulting services provided fall within the following categories. 

Overseas consulting services 

Where the consulting services are delivered outside of New Zealand but predominantly managed by a New Zealand-based office of the ACE New Zealand member. The New Zealand based contribution of consulting services would normally be at least 50%. 

Small consulting service engagements 

For consulting services in any discipline for which total fees paid are less than $50,000 or has a Capital Value of $250,000 (whichever is the largest) 

What to include in your Expression of Interest

The Expression of Interest form is self-explanatory requiring basic details, but please keep these things in mind:  

  1. The brief entry description should be focussed on the consulting services provided by the entrant and what is award worthy. You will not be judged by the performance of other participants not included in your entry (for example contractors, clients or other consultants).  
  2. We use the ‘business consulting focus’ to select a lead judge so this should reflect the main element where exceptional consulting was demonstrated and for which you are seeking recognition.  
  3. The discipline information is also to assist us in selecting additional judges and readers – you should only select disciplines where you had significant input and the consulting services provided were influential in the overall delivery of an excellent service.  

What to include in your submission

1. Cover 

2. Consulting services title 

3. Consulting services short description 

4. Contact details

Every contact must include: 

  • Name
  • Title
  • Company
  • Physical address
  • Email
  • Mobile

Contacts required:   

  • Entrant (the main point of contact for the entry)  
  • Client(s)  
  • Asset owner (if different to the client)  
  • Contractor(s) (if any) 
  • Marketing contact (from the entrant company)  
  • Marketing contact (from the client organisation)  
  • Peer reviewer (if any) 
  • Sub-consultant(s) / partner(s)

Client contacts: 

  • This person should have an intimate knowledge of the consulting services that the consultant(s) delivered. This person doesn't need to be the most senior client contact .   
  • If this person has since left the client organisation and you have their contact details, please include them
  • You can include more than one client contact
  • Please notify your client that ACE New Zealand and the judges will be contacting them to gather their feedback
  • Client and/or ultimate client feedback is critical to the judge's evaluation of your submission 
  • Feedback is confidential to ACE New Zealand and judges 
  • Feedback form (which ACE New Zealand will provide to the client) is an important part of the judging process
  • Note that the judges will interview the client. This interview is of particular importance to our judging process 

5. Consultant relationships 

An organisational chart is required which shows the relationships between all parties and the reporting and accountability lines for the consultant. It should include all parties including sub-consultants, contractors and client groups.  

Judges need to understand the working relationships between the various parties in an entry.  

For each entrant, we need to understand:

  • What they contributed (including contractor, designer, specialist consultants, auditors and peer reviewers for example)  
  • The percentage contribution to the overall consulting services provided  

6. Executive summary (maximum of 200 words) 

This should describe the context in which the consulting services were provided (for example the project) and summarise why these services demonstrate excellence in consulting.  

7. Technical content 

The core technical content should be limited to no more than 20 pages and should address the following:  

  • Consulting experience 
  • Depth and extent of technical expertise 
  • Creation of sustainable value 
  • Client satisfaction 

On the Expression of Interest form, entrants were asked to select one business consulting focus. Please include a detailed section on that selection in your submission.  

On the Expression of Interest form, entrants were asked to select up to five project disciplines. For each discipline selected, please include a technical / detailed section on that discipline in your submission.  

If you’d like to reference any photos, sketches, diagrams, reports, or other multimedia to support your submission, please include the photo/media in the appendices section and include references in this section. Example reference, Image 1: Breakwater structure physical modelling, Water Research Laboratory.   

The submission is the primary tool the judges use to evaluate your entry. Before submitting your entry, review it and answer the following: 

  • Have you told the judges/your peers the story of the work you provided and how it has impacted the client, the industry, stakeholders, the community and Aotearoa?  
  • Your audience will be a panel of expert judges – have you written for your peers? 
  • Does your submission provide an overview of the consulting work provided?  
  • Does your submission clearly define the elements of recognition being sought?  
  • How have the consulting services you have entered contributed to the outcomes? 
  • Have you provided verifiable evidence as to why the consulting solution is better than business as usual?  

Appended material 

  • Include the Expression of Interest information as an appendix for ease of judging  
  • Client permission – this can be a formal letter, email or other written permission from the client(s) and asset owner to enter the awards.  
  • Multiple consultant entry permissions – this can be a formal letter, email or other written permission from the consultants confirming that the submission is a joint entry and confirming the percentage contribution to the consulting services provided 
  • Reports, videos or published papers should be included as a hyperlink to a source the judges can access until the awards ceremony (usually by the end of September). If a link cannot be provided for that duration, please email [email protected] to arrange an alternative.   
  • You may include up to 15 pages of supporting photos, sketches, diagrams, drawings and other multimedia links 
  • We recommend a mixture of marketing (overview) photos and detailed photos – both will be of interest to expert judges 
  • Please include a minimum of six high resolution JPEG images we can use for public promotion of your entry – all other photos/media provided in this submission will be confidential to judges and ACE New Zealand for internal use only

How we judge entries

Judging considerations 

Entries are judged using verifiable evidence from your submission, site visits, review of outputs and feedback from the client. Feedback may also be sought from the contractor(s), peer reviewers and other parties affected by or involved in the work.  

Judges do not make contact with you, so make sure your submission includes all relevant information and tells the story of your excellence in consulting. 

Entries will be judged using some or all of the considerations below, depending on the nature of the work.  

Entries are judged on the merit of the consulting service provided – they will not be ranked against each other. 


Depth and extent of technical expertise  

We consider the depth and extent of technical expertise that the consultant contributed to address complex technical, environmental, stakeholder, community and other issues including (where relevant):  

  • Application of new or innovative processes, technology or methodologies 
  • Innovation 
  • Originality in approach and analysis 
  • Involved the use of diverse and competing resources 
  • Is outside the problems encompassed by standards and codes of practice 
  • Elegance of the solution 

Creation of sustainable value  

We consider how the consultant’s work has addressed one or more of risk, resilience, social, community and sustainability issues. Not all components will factor into the consultant’s delivery of the outcomes and consideration will only reflect those components that are applicable, including (where relevant): 

  • How has the consultant’s work delivered enhanced resilience and reduced risk? 
  • How has the consultant adopted sustainability principles and delivered solutions or outcomes that are sustainable and enduring? 
  • How has the consultant taken account of social and community outcomes in a manner beneficial to both the client and the wider community in a positive manner? 
  • How has the consultant taken account of and provided for the needs of stakeholders? 

Consulting experience 

We consider the quality of the consulting experience delivered by the consultant to the client and stakeholders for all entries including (where relevant): 

  • Excellence in the business of consulting 
  • Adding value to the client’s business or reputation 
  • Enhancing the reputational perception of consultants 
  • Excellence in the delivery of consulting services 
  • Excellence in engagement with stakeholders and community 

Client and stakeholder satisfaction  

We consider the client and/or stakeholder’s view of how well the consultant has performed for all entries. It takes account of the submission, the client letter, client feedback form, the client/contractor interviews and, if appropriate, any stakeholder feedback including (where relevant): 

  • Feedback form and client/stakeholder letters 
  • Client interview 
  • Quality of client consultant relationship 
  • Meeting client requirements including time, cost and quality 

Special Awards

Judges, at their sole discretion, may also nominate your entry for a special award where there is a unique contribution to the industry or community that does not fall within the normal award categories. In the past ACE New Zealand has awarded:  

  • Community Awards – recognising a community or has that has made a noteworthy contribution to the outcome 
  • Client Awards – recognising a client that has made a noteworthy contribution to the outcome 
  • Sustainability Awards – recognising consulting services with outstanding sustainability elements 

These elements do not need to be specifically addressed in your entry.  

See examples of previous Special Awards winners:  


To be considered for an award, the consulting business needs to demonstrate that it has delivered the services with no potential problems, as expected of a competent, professional member of ACE New Zealand, taking account of factors including: 

  • Health and Safety at Work Act 2015 
  • Regulatory and Statutory compliance 
  • RMA obligations 
  • Environmental compliance 
  • Sustainability principles 
  • Contractual disputes 
  • Engineering New Zealand Code of Ethical Conduct 
  • Negative publicity