Mass Timber Building Competition: FAQs

If you have questions that aren’t covered by the FAQs below or the Competition Guidelines

Contact GovOps at

  • Questions or issues related to file uploads, the competition website, government policy, winner agreements and deliverables, competing materials, judging criteria, project eligibility, specifics in the Competition Guidelines

Contact WoodWorks at

  • Project/proposal support (e.g., structural, architectural, code questions, etc.), project eligibility, specifics in the Competition Guidelines
Q) What is the competition timeline?

A) The targeted timeline is as follows:

Competition deadline March 18, 2019 at 5 p.m. PT*
Evaluation and due diligence March 19 – May 12, 2019
Negotiation May 13 – 17, 2019
Announcement of winners May 22, 2019 (target)


*Submissions received after this deadline will not be accepted or reviewed

Q) What criteria will the reviewers look for when judging submitted projects?

A) Evaluation categories and point weights include:

  • Project size/market impact (15 pts)
  • Approval process (15 pts)
  • Project costs, viability and value proposition (15 pts)
  • Use of funds on deliverables to advance the market (15 pts)
  • Location (5 pts)
  • Proponent teams (10 pts)
  • California forest health impact (10 pts)
  • Resiliency and sustainability (5 pts)
  • Innovation(5 pts)
  • Access (5 pts)

The Competition Guidelines provide greater detail on these and other criteria. Note that proposals must include all required documentation in order to qualify for further evaluation.

Q) Besides the activities and costs outlined in the Competition Guidelines, will other design development expenses or project-specific costs incurred to design or apply wood solutions within a project be considered?

A) Other expenses or fees may be considered if they align with the spirit of the competition requirements and are approved in advance as part of the proponent agreement. These requests should be clearly identified in the project proposals.

Q) Are there any requirements as to when the proposed building has to go to construction?

A) Not specifically, but the competition evaluation criteria is structured to give more points to projects that are further along with regard to design and approval. Projects likely to start construction in the near future (e.g., because land and financing is secured, the design is more developed, the team is working with an Authority Having Jurisdiction, etc.), will perform better in the evaluation ranking. Projects that are purely hypothetical, don’t have a location or secured financing, etc. would be unlikely to receive sufficient points to be selected.

Q) Will consideration be given to conceptual projects that have not yet been attached to a specific site or physical location?

A) Yes, but proponents should make a strong case for the project’s imminent viability. Only projects with an extremely high likelihood of being constructed will be selected. The letter from the Authority Having Jurisdiction as well as an advanced design will carry significant weight in such cases.  

Q) How much money, in total, will be available for selected projects?

A) The California Government Operations Agency will award a total of $500,000 in grants as part of the statewide competition. There will be a minimum of two grantees and distribution of the funds will depend on what is requested by selected teams. There may be a negotiation phase if two projects are chosen in which the cumulative ask is more than the total being awarded.

Q) How many projects will be selected as part of the competition? Where will they be located?

A) The number of selected projects will depend on the nature and quality of submissions. They will be located in California and the goal is to fund projects in at least two municipalities.

Q) What is the purpose of the competition?

A) By showcasing the architectural and commercial viability of advanced mass timber products in construction, the competition is intended to support employment opportunities in rural communities, contribute to the health and resiliency of California forests, and advance sustainability in the built environment. Find more information on the competition and background.

Q) Who are the partners involved?

A) The competition is being hosted by the California Government Operations Agency (GovOps) and administered by WoodWorks – Wood Products Council. Currently, one of the main barriers to the use of new building materials and systems is a lack of risk capital available to support the added costs of analyzing novel design and engineering alternatives and verifying that these solutions comply with applicable code(s). The funds made available for the competition will support these and related incremental costs associated with pioneering the use of advanced wood products and systems in tall buildings.

GovOps is funding the competition for the benefits a strong mass timber market can bring to the State of California. GovOps chose WoodWorks to administer the competition because of its experience providing project support and education related to mass timber and other wood buildings. Because WoodWorks is the administrator and won’t be evaluating projects, their technical staff are available to provide technical support to potential proponents. For support, email


Q) What does the competition evaluation criteria consist of?

A) Proposals will be evaluated in the following main categories by a broad range of professional experts, including but not limited to researchers and design/construction professionals. Evaluation criteria and their point weights can be found in the Competition Guidelines.

Q) Is the cost of preparing the competition submission covered?

A) All costs to prepare submission(s) are to be borne by the respective proponent(s).

Q) How will disbursement of funds work? Will there be a one-time lump-sum payment, or will the money be tied to specific milestones in the process?

A) Fund disbursement to the winning projects will be tied to specific milestones.  The specific milestones will likely vary based on the project and what the design teams have stated they will use competition funds for.  Specific milestones will be finalized during negotiations between GovOps and the project teams.

Q) If the project is abandoned, will design teams be required to give competition money back to GovOps?

A) No.  Disbursement of funds will be tied to milestones for work that has already been completed, so if funds remain when the project is abandoned, distribution will simply stop.  However, if a project is abandoned, GovOps will still require a write-up in the form of a technical paper, or other summary, that details findings of the project that will aid the industry in the advancement of mass timber buildings in California.

Q) Will winning project teams be required to provide progress reports to GovOps?

A) Yes.  The frequency and type of reports will be negotiated between GovOps and the winning project teams.

Q) Can funds be used for work that has been completed prior to being selected as a winning project?

A) Yes.  Final determination of qualification and amount will be negotiated between GovOps and the winning project team.

Follow WoodWorks on Twitter to stay informed of competition progress and updates: