TOBY Frequently Asked Questions


What are the TOBY Awards?

The Outstanding Building of the Year (TOBY®) Award is the commercial real estate industry’s highest recognition honoring excellence in commercial building management and operations in specific categories of building type or size. For an opportunity to win a BOMA International TOBY Award, a property first must earn a BOMA 360 designation and win both local and regional competitions. Whether winning at the local, regional and/or international level of the competition, you gain the opportunity to showcase your buildings strengths and gain recognition for best-in-class operations and management with the most prestigious and comprehensive award of its kind in the commercial real estate industry.  Judging is based on criteria that includes community impact, tenant and employee relations programs, energy management, accessibility, emergency evacuation procedures, building personnel training programs and overall excellence. Building inspections are conducted by a team of industry experts. 

Do I need to be a member of BOMA to compete for a TOBY Award?

Yes. The building must be a member—or managed by an entity that is a member—in good standing with both their BOMA local association and BOMA International in order to compete at the regional and/or international levels. Specifically, all membership fees or outstanding balances must be paid prior to entry. 

In which category is my building eligible to compete?

Log into the online portal at, refer to Requirements and Forms and select the TOBY Entry Requirements for the category in which you are interested in competing. All buildings must have at least 50% of a building’s space used as office space with the exception of Industrial and Mixed-Use. Buildings submitted in the Industrial category must have more than 5% and less than 50% office area as measured by the BOMA Standards. Buildings submitted in the Mixed-Use category must have at least 10% office space. The building must be occupied for at least one full year from the date of occupancy of the first tenant by June 15 of the TOBY competition year with a minimum of 12 months of building operations.

Am I able to enter my building in more than category?

No, each building may enter in only one category per TOBY Award competition cycle. 

May I compete in TOBY Award competitions in consecutive years?

If a building is competing in the same category in which they have already won, they may not compete again until after 5 years. If a building is competing in a different category in which they have won, they may not compete again until after 3 years. (i.e. Same category winners from 2018 may not compete until the 2024-2025 TOBY cycle; buildings competing who’ve won in 2020 and wish to compete in a different category may not compete until the 2024-2025 TOBY Award competition cycle.) 

Does my building have to be ENERGY STAR certified to compete?

No. Buildings are only required to benchmark their data and share it with BOMA International. Industrial and mixed-use buildings do not have to share their data. Canadian entrants are required to obtain a BOMA BEST® certification and all other international entrants should contact BOMA International regarding energy performance benchmarking requirements.

How old does my building have to be to enter into the TOBY Award competition?

The building must be occupied for at least one full year from the date of occupancy of the first tenant by June 15 of the TOBY competition year with a minimum of 12 months of building operations. 

Does every TOBY participant need to compete on the local level, even those that may have won Regional last year?

Yes. Regional winners must resubmit their entries each year to compete. 

May I submit more than one building as one entry?

You may submit two or more buildings as one entry if the buildings are connected by a lower lobby, share a central plant, connected by a walkway and/or there are any other common features the two buildings share.



Square Foot Categories

When submitting in the square footage categories, should a building reference rentable square footage or gross square footage?

Net rentable square footage as measured by the BOMA Standards. 

Earth Category

Which building types may be considered for the TOBY Award in the Earth category?

All building types (office, industrial, multi-use and medical office buildings) with at least 50% office area where the building and building management team preserve and enhance the internal and external environment through green and sustainable programs are eligible to apply in this building category. 

Renovated Building Category

When should the work projects be completed?

The completion of the work projects should be January (of the award year) since the BOMA International judging takes place in May (of that year).


If entering an office park under the renovation category, a minimum of five work projects must be completed. Can the renovations be completed in multiple buildings?

The renovations should take place in one building.


What is the occupancy requirement?

The building must have maintained a minimum of 50% occupancy (leased) during the renovation process. 

Corporate Facility Category

In the tenant relations section, do the events hosted by the corporation qualify as tenant relations activities?

Events hosted by the management company should be specified and not the corporation’s activities.

If my building fits under more than one category, which one should I choose?

When entering, you should consider which category highlights your management company’s best performance and/or what factors drive the building’s operations.



Does the Statement of Energy Performance generated from ENERGY STAR Portfolio Manager need to be signed and approved by a Professional Engineer?

No. The report is system generated and does not require a signature.

Can more than one building be awarded a winner in any given category?

There should only be one winner in each TOBY Award category. 

Are video attachments allowed during the application process?

Video attachments are not permitted or accepted in the online system. Recognized file types are .jpegs, pdfs, docx.


What are the fees to participate?

A local competition fee may be applicable. Each Entrant should check with their local association concerning fees.

A total of $450 USD in entry fees will be paid to BOMA International for each submission entering the TOBY regional competition. These fees will be collected once the entry has been completed and the “Submit” button has been pressed.  No additional fees are collected for the international competition.

An additional regional competition fee may apply. If applicable, the regional competition fee will be collected by the region directly.   



What is expected in identifying the buildings access controls?

Explain how the building controls entry into the building, especially during non-business/non-peak hours. Also explain how the building monitors activities in common areas. It is not necessary to include an entire policy manual on how this is handled.

Under the Training for Building Personnel section, what is appropriate for providing a list of qualifications for buildings staff?

Provide a list of any industry certifications such as RPA, FMA, CMCP, etc. as well as degrees held and/or continuing education or industry training programs that staff may have participated in. Any training or programs that staff has participated in that helps them do their job function better is appropriate for this section.