The Ten Principles of Design Review

In 2009 Design Council CABE published the ten principles of design review, which were developed and refined over a decade of practical experience in delivering design review at national level.  These ten principles provide the national quality assurance standard for design review and underpin the work of the eight regional design review panels in England.  Urban Vision’s design review service operates according to CABE’s ten principles, and in fact enhances the ten principles by ensuring that every single case that is reviewed is the subject of a site visit.

The ten principles of design review are supported by the Royal Institute of British Architects, the Royal Town Planning Institute and the Landscape Institute.

Further information on design review and the 10 principles can be found in the CABE report Design Review: Principles and practice (2009).  To downlod a copy of the report click on the image below.

The ten principles confirm that good design review is:

1   Independent – it is conducted by people who are not connected with the scheme promoter or the decision-maker, so the advice is impartial and free from conflicts of interest.

2   Accountable – design review advice is set out and explained in a written report, which is issued to all parties simultaneously.  Any past involvements by Panel members with the promoters of the scheme are openly declared and recorded. 

3    Expert – it is carried out by people who are professionally trained and qualified in one or more built environment disciplines, have significant experience in practice, and can provide constructive advice on a peer-to-peer basis.

4    Advisory – design review does not make decisions, but provides advice and recommendations on how development proposals can be improved.

5    Accessible – design review advice is expressed in straightforward terms that non-professionals can understand and use.

6    Proportionate – design review is used on projects which are significant enough to warrant independent appraisal by a group of professional peers.  Different types of design review can be used for proposals with different levels of complexity and scale.

7    Timely – it takes place at an early stage in the design process, so the proposal can be influenced before a great deal of time has been spent working on it.  Early design review means it costs less to make changes.  Sometimes a second review can help refine a developing design concept.

8    Objective – design review involves an unbiased appraisal of a scheme based on facts, evidence and reasoned criteria, not personal taste or opinions about style or appearance. 

9    Focused on outcomes for people – it asks how this building or place can better meet the needs of the people using it and of everyone who is affected by it.

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



Return to the Design Review Overview page here.

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