Tips for completing your 2021 dvm360 Hospital Design Competition entry

November 2, 2020
dvm360 Staff

Entering your veterinary practice into the dvm360 Hospital Design Competition is a bit laborious. Be sure to use your time wisely by avoiding these common mistakes.

It happens every year. As the dvm360® Hospital Design Competition judges page through the entries, a few will stand out—but for the wrong reasons. Something’s a little off, whether it’s the architectural and design information, the floor plan, or the photographs.

Unfinished or unclear entries can be the kiss of death for some hospitals. The judges need well-organized information to gain a sense of each hospital and its individual qualifications.

Here are the top mistakes we see each year—and tips for avoiding them.

Photography faux pas

Photographs of your new facility are 1 of the most important components of your entry. Our judges can’t visit each hospital, so your photos must serve as a virtual tour through your facility.

  • Poor quality. Photographs should be professional-quality JPG or TIF files. We strongly recommend hiring a professional photographer. You may know your hospital, but a photographer knows how to set up the right angles and lighting to present your facility in the best possible manner. It costs a little extra, but hiring a photographer is the first step you can take to increase your chances at winning an award.
  • Dark photographs. Lighting is one of the most important aspects of photography. If the judges have to squint to view the features of your storage room, they’re not getting the full picture. Also, if your practice is chosen for an award but your photos are too dark, we’ll have trouble presenting them clearly in the pages of dvm360® magazine.
  • Unclear photo labels. It may be clear to you what each photo contains, but an outsider might not recognize the difference between a cat exam room and a dog exam room. Make sure your image labels match your floor plan labels so the judges get a good sense of where each room is located when viewing your photos. Files should be named with this naming convention: “HospitalName_RoomType#” (eg, MiddleviewVeterinaryClinic_Surgery1, MiddleviewVeterinaryClinic_Surgery2).
  • Too many photos. Sometimes less is more. Judges appreciate a thorough entry, but including 15 or 20 exterior photos is a bit much. The maximum number of photos allowed is 50. Show off the special features of your hospital, but don’t go overboard—1 or 2 shots of each room is usually sufficient.

(Not) showing it off

  • Incomplete room detail. When showing off your exam rooms, our judges need more in a photo than an exam table in front of an empty wall. Show us your cabinets and client seating. Make sure the flooring is visible. Flaunt the custom art hanging on the wall. And feel free to include team members and clients in photos to give judges an inside peek into how your clinic operates.
  • Not all areas shown. A wide-angle panoramic shot of your facility’s exterior is one of the most important aspects of your entry. And your staff lounge may seem like an uninteresting part of your facility, but it’s a necessary part of your photograph section.

Floor plan flubs

Unlabeled floor plans are a major no-no. Your hospital’s floor plan is one of the first things judges evaluate, and not including floor plan labels makes it nearly impossible for them to assess your facility accurately and fairly. Each version of your floor plan (traffic flow, HVAC zones, etc.) should include labels.

Floor plan labels may be easy to read on your computer screen, but are they legible on standard-sized paper? Always review your floor plan and make sure each label is clear and accurate before submitting your entry.

Not quite finished

To enter the dvm360® Hospital Design Competition, your hospital must have been completed within the past 5 years. So, don’t feel rushed to enter as soon as you move into your facility. Allow your landscaping to flourish before taking exterior photographs. Finish any lingering design projects and hang art on the walls. Stock your pharmacy with the medications and supplies you use on a daily basis. You have plenty of time to enter, so put your best foot forward.

Missing documents

Your entry isn’t complete without a signed entry form, as well as signed license agreements from your architect and your photographer. Don’t risk disqualification—review the entry form and make sure you’ve completed all required documents before submitting your entry.