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What are the Awards of Excellence?

The PHTA Awards of Excellence recognizes and rewards installations of pools, spas, hot tubs, and water features that showcase the most beautiful and creative work in the industry. Hundreds of entries are submitted each year, representing member firms across the United States and around the world.

Who can enter the Awards of Excellence Program?

Current membership in the Pool & Hot Tub Alliance is required for submissions.

The competition is open to pool, spa, or hot tub builders and installers, designers, retailers, or service companies that receive payment for the installation being submitted. A manufacturer or distributor may submit entries on behalf of PHTA member builders, installers, and designers however the recognition will go to the firm that received payment for the installation.

How are the installations judged?

Each entry is judged on 8 criteria that are each worth 10 points - for a total of 80 possible points. The criteria is as follows: 

  • Conformance with applicable ANSI/APSP standards or any other mandatory code of government?
  • Adherence to Awards of Excellence requirements - No logo, No cleaning equipment, No people, No drinks etc.
  • Workmanship - Quality of Craftsmanship - does the installation appear to have been done in a quality manner?
  • How well do the materials used on the project complement the home or surroundings?
  • Overall Beauty - Aesthetic appeal of the entire installation?
  • Design Creativity - (soundness of design) uniqueness of shape, deck, water features, etc. and how they blend together.
  • Project Cohesiveness - blending of the entire project with the landscape and surroundings. How well does the pool or spa feel like it belongs in the setting. Does it look like it's part of the house?
  • Unique qualities outside of usual judging consideration - please rate the uniqueness of the installation - amenities to enhance the harmony created. The WOW factor.  

Awards presented include the following: Gold, Silver, Bronze, and Merit.

The judging panel is comprised of industry professionals, as well as representatives from related fields including architecture and landscape design.

Judges do NOT know the names of entrants as all entries are identified by number only.

What is the cost?

All PHTA member companies receive one (1) free entry. Use code 1FREE at checkout.

Entries submitted before April 30 receive the early bird rate of $199 per submission. Starting May 1, the entry fee is $249 per submission.

Submit 6 or more entries and receive 10% off the total. Submit 10 or more entries and receive 25% off!

What is required for each entry?

The entry form requires contact information of the submitter, materials used, cost of the installation, and the submission of at least three high-resolution digital photos of the installation. When submitting the photos, please include the photographer's name and a photo release.

What are the rules for the photos?

No enhancement is allowed and photos cannot be commercial images from another source. Photo must be no more than five years old.

To have your photos used in future PHTA promotional materials and in the AQUA Magazine International Awards of Excellence feature, you must submit a photo release document from the photographer. Entries submitted without a release will still be considered and winners' names will be listed on PHTA materials and in AQUA Magazine, but without an accompanying photo.

How are the winners’ projects promoted?

The winners are featured in the October issue of AQUA Magazine.

The winners are honored and presented at the annual PHTA Awards of Excellence reception held at during the International Pool | Spa | Patio Expo in November of every year.

The International Awards of Excellence winners are listed on the PHTA website and a press release is sent to industry media. PHTA promotes award-winning projects and photos on its website, blog, social media, industry trade publications, and via press releases. A marketing toolkit is provided to include customizable press releases, logos, and social media posts to help market award-winning work and earn invaluable press coverage.

What do winners receive?

Winners receive a physical award (plaque) for each winning project. The awards are created by our partner Rivanna and are shipped directly to the address provided on your entry form. Awards are delivered in mid to late November.

Please note, there is no additional fee for your award. If you receive an email asking you to pay for your award, please delete and mark as spam.

Winners are sent a press release template to share the exciting news in their local community, along with high-resolution digital badges to use on websites, social media, and other promotional materials designating them as a 2024 International Awards of Excellence winner.