The Forum Exeter, Devon

An RIBA south west award wining building at Exeter University in Devon; The Forum. This building benefited from design review during the design and pre-planning stage

Design Review Panel Training 2018

Design Review Panel training session carried out in Taunton and the Somerset County Cricket Ground in November 2018. The event was extremely well attended by local authority representatives, house builders and design team members

Exeter Quay by Jonathan Braddick

Photograph of Exeter Quay taken by Architect and Design Review Panel Manager Jonathan Braddick. The Design Review Panel holds regular design review panel sessions at Exeter City Council

Design Review Panel Training 2018

Design Review Panel training event 2018. Jonathan Tricker, Highways Engineer, Urban Designer & Director at Phil Jones Associates, gave a talk entitled: ‘Highway Design in Placemaking’

Steiner School Exeter

The design review Panel was engaged by Willmott Dixon during the pre-application design stage of the project to help them prepare a design that would be acceptable to the local authority

Design Review Panel Site Visit Poole

Photograph from a 2018 design review panel site visit carried out in Dorset in 2018. A full sit down design review panel was subsequently held in the Poole Borough Council Offices

North Grays Farm Para 79 House

External visualization for a NPPF paragraph 55 (now 79) house that was presented to the design review panel. This project has subsequently gone on to achieve planning permission and is now built on site

Design Review Panel Training 2017

Design Review Panel training session carried out in Exeter, Devon in December 2017. The event was extremely well attended by local authority representatives, house builders and design team members

Para 79 House by Hawkes Architecture

Para 79 House in Dover Kent by Hawkes Architecture

Rockfish Exeter Quay

A small but sensitive project in Exeter Quay; The Rockfish Restaurant has been designed by Grainge Architects who engaged with The Design Review Panel during the design & pre -application planning stage

Pegasus Life Project Sidmouth Devon

Pegasus Life secured planning permission through public inquiry for a Sarah Wigglesworth Architects scheme for a C2 assisted living community at The Knowle, Sidmouth, Devon. The Design Review Panel (www.designreviewpanel.co.uk) were instructed by East Devon District Council (EDDC) to provide multidisciplinary, expert, independent and impartial guidance and feedback to the local authority, applicant and design team during the pre-application design stage.

Plymouth Hoe

Photograph of Plymouth Hoe, Devon. The Design Review Panel holds regular design review panel sessions at Plymouth City Council

Design Review Panel Training 2017

Design Review Panel training session carried out in Exeter, Devon in December 2017. The event was extremely well attended and incorporated a mock design review panel session and design workshop

Master of Design Administration (MDA) – a new programme that aims to equip you with the expertise ne


The Design Review Panel is delighted to share the below written by Professor Sarah Lupton, explaining the new Master of Design Administration (MDA) programme being launched by The Welsh School of Architecture this October [2019]. Please contact Professor Sarah Lupton at lupton@cardiff.ac.uk for more details.

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It is generally recognised that the huge increase in the range and complexity of methods of procuring buildings, with the design process increasingly split across a wide range of different bodies, leads to fragmentation in design decision making. This in turn can result in lack of clarity in who is responsible for which aspects of design, confusion of liability issues, and failure to achieve initial project objectives.


Professor Sarah Lupton teaching on the Welsh School of Architecture new Master of Design Administration (MDA) Course

A key challenge facing the industry is the successful integration and management of the design process, which can run from project inception through to handover and post occupancy feedback. This challenge applies both to the demand side, i.e. to clients seeking to establish accountable and efficient procurement arrangements, and to the supply side, i.e. firms working with clients to provide design services and/or combined design and construction packages that deliver optimal design solutions.


Essential to meet this challenge is the use of innovative processes for the identification, communication and realisation of design intent. These processes must be supported by clear contractual frameworks that accurately reflect the participants’ independent and shared responsibilities for achieving the design requirements in practice.

The Master of Design Administration (MDA) has been developed to meet the growing need for experts in design management, both within client bodies, consultancies, and within contractors and specialist sub-contractor firms.



The course focuses on developing the advanced knowledge and skills required to successfully manage the developing design process, including the identification and articulation of client requirements, completion of feasibility studies and establishment of measurable project objectives, the formation and management of the project team, including the use of interlocking contracts and design responsibility matrixes, the integration of contractor and specialist design input, collaborative working, dispute avoidance and resolution, and the successful delivery and handover of the project. It examines these issues in the context of both the UK and international procurement.

The course is intended for those in full time employment, with qualifications and experience in a relevant field. By bringing those with current relevant experience together, it allows for shared experience and a forum for debating and analysing the collective experience of students from a range of disciplines, both client side and supply side.

The MDA is delivered using ‘blended learning’ (a mixture of distance learning and short on-site courses). Regular on-line seminars and tutorials ensure that students are kept up to date with the latest developments in the field.

Although new, the MDA has been developed from an existing degree that has been running very successfully for over twelve years. It receives excellent feedback and has been commended by RIBA over successive visits, with students submitting the best adjudicator award receiving a prize form the Society of Construction Law. We have taken the best elements of the existing degree and combined them with several new features to create an exciting and unique programme.


Short Course Photograph on the The Welsh School of Architecture Master of Design Administration (MDA) programme

This programme is led by Professor Sarah Lupton, a personal chair at the Welsh School of Architecture and a partner in Lupton Stellakis Architects. She is dual qualified as an architect and as a lawyer. She lectures widely on subjects relating to construction law and is the author of many books, including ‘Design Liability in the Construction Industry’, a series on standard form building contracts, and is co-author (with Manos Stellakis, who also teaches on the course) of ‘Which Contract?, of a series of books on the use of performance specification, and of a series on legislative controls.


The Welsh School of Architecture welcomes applications for its The Master of Design Administration (MDA) programme, starting this October [2019]. Anyone interested should contact Professor Sarah Lupton at lupton@cardiff.ac.uk. She would be happy to receive queries direct, and to discuss the course over the phone. More information can be found at:

https://www.cardiff.ac.uk/architecture/courses/postgraduate-taught/master-of-design-administration