Design review guidance updated and improved

Design review guidance updated and improved

The publication of the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF) in 2012 re-iterated and reinforced the role of design review in ensuring high standards of design. The new guidance clearly sets out the updated 10 principles that underpin the independent and effective delivery of the process, as well as providing authoritative advice for design review panels of all types, to help them operate in a consistent way and to uphold the quality of the independent, expert advice that they provide.  

The new guidance represents a cross-sector, industry-led effort to condense and update core guidance in light of both the NPPF and Taylor Review, setting a precedent for a focus on the key principles necessary to deliver on the ambition set out within the NPPF.  

LI president Sue Illman says the updated design review guidance will help ensure the development of places that are socially, environmentally and economically sustainable: ‘In helping to underpin the principles of the NPPF, it is not focused exclusively on buildings but on the wider public realm and landscape; and acknowledges that good design cannot be separated from good planning.’

The 10 updated principles, she adds ‘will help panels provide consistent advice, which will help new schemes deliver the highest standards of design – which means better places for people.’ 

Key changes incorporated in the new design review guidance, in addition to the 10 updated principles include the removal of the old principle 9, which focused on ‘outcomes for people’, and principle 10, which addressed ‘improving quality’. These have been replaced with ‘multidisciplinary’ and ‘transparent’.

The document has been restructured to include the principles that should constitute core planning guidance on design review, with clear, concise and accessible advice on how to deliver them. The role of design review in the planning system has been updated in light of the NPPF and the importance of design review arrangements at a local and national level. You can download a copy here.

The RIBA is running a cross-industry CPD course this year based around the Design Review, Principles and Practice document. The event will provide an insight into what a design review panel is looking for from the perspective of the reviewer. It introduces the principles of design review and techniques for those who wish to sit on a design review panel, either as a panel member or as the chair. The one-day session RIBA Design Review CPD takes place at various venues across the country, from this month. For more details visit  


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