Principles of Design Review

Ten principles of good design review

1. Independent. It is conducted by people who are separate from the scheme promoter and decision maker, and it protects against conflicts of interest.

2. Accountable. It records and explains its advice and is transparent about potential conflicts of interest.

3. Expert. It is conducted by suitably trained people who are experienced in design and know how to criticise constructively. Review is usually most respected where it is carried out by professional peers of the project designers, as their standing and expertise will be acknowledged.

4. Advisory. It does not make decisions. It acts as a source of impartial advice for decision makers.

5. Accessible. Its findings are clearly expressed in terms that decision makers can understand and use.

6. Proportionate. It is used on projects whose significance warrants the public investment of providing design review. Other methods of appraising design quality should be used for less significant projects.

7. Timely. It takes place as early as possible in the life of a design this saves most time and changes can be made at the least cost. If a planning application has already been made, it happens within the time frame for considering this, and is repeated when a further opinion is required.

8. Objective. It appraises schemes in the round according to reasoned, objective criteria rather than the stylistic tastes of individual panel members.

9. Focused on outcomes for people. It asks how a building or place can better meet the needs of the people using it, and of the public at large who are affected by it.

10. Focused on improving quality. It constructively seeks to improve the quality of architecture, urban design, landscape, highway design and town planning.

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