10 Principles of Design Review

"For design review to succeed it must offer consistently high standards in the quality of the advice it offers. It must also follow a robust and defensible process. The Design Review Panel therefore operates on the following ten principles. Good Design Review is ..." 

1.0  Independent -


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


2.0  Expert -


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


3.0  Multidisciplinary -


Good design review combines different perspectives of architects, urban designers, planners, landscape architects, engineers, chartered surveyors, ecologists and other specialists.


4.0  Accountable -


The Review Panel should demonstrably be for public benefit, and this is enshrined in its terms of reference.


5.0  Transparent -


The Panel records and explains its advice, and is transparent about potential conflicts of interest. Some reviews will be held in private, especially when a scheme is at an early pre-application stage.  However, the panel’s remit, membership, governance processes, and funding should always be public.

6.0  Proportionate -


It is undertaken on projects whose significance warrants investment in providing design review at local or national level as appropriate. Other methods of appraising design quality should be used for less significant projects.


7.0  Timely -


It should take place as early as possible in the life of a design; this saves time, and it costs less to make changes at an early stage. If a planning application has already been made,  the design review process should occur during the consideration of the planning application. It is repeated when a further opinion is required.


8.0  Advisory -


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


9.0  Objective -


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


10.0  Understandable -


It's findings are clearly expressed in terms that all parties can understand and use.