Design Review

Design Review

MADE's design review service helps developers, architects and local authorities, speed up planning, save money and create high quality places. Design Review provides independent, objective, expert feedback on the design of proposed developments. The service works though a panel of experienced professionals (architects, urban designers, engineers, transport planners, sustainability experts, landscape architects). View the panel's profiles here. The panel meets regularly to consider schemes that will have a significant impact on their area. They visit the site, study the designs, listen to a presentation from the developers and their architects, discuss the proposals and give feedback. This is followed by a report which summarises the panel’s views.

Design Review Submission Form.docx

Design Review

For developers design review is an opportunity to save time and money and speed your proposals through planning by getting design issues resolved early. Increasingly, and in response to the National Planning Policy Framework, local planning authorities are relying on design review and requiring that schemes come to MADE.  In many cases the design review panel will make suggestions which will cut costs.  In fact we often propose that schemes are made simpler or that better design will allow for a higher volume of development.  Within the context of a significant development project, the design review fees represent a small investment which can bring significant returns.  Talk to MADE about how design review can help you.  For major schemes we can agree a process of support with design review at its heart.  This type of arrangement has in some instances taken six months off the lead time of a scheme.

For local authorities design review provides an opportunity to make your planning service more efficient and effective and improve the quality of schemes coming forward in your area. For local authorities it is normally a free service, as the developer pays. It is best at the pre-application stage. The design review report provides and authoritative view on the quality of development proposals and an indication of what needs to be improved to meet the quality required for planning approval.  Attending design review provides a valuable CPD opportunity for development control, regeneration and highways officers and elected members. The National Planning Policy Framework requires local planning authorities to have local design review arrangments in place.  Make sure that your policies and procedures respond to the NPPF by explaining how you will use design review. This can be done through policy, as part of the verification checklist, or through a simple statement on your website.

For architects and other scheme designers design review is an opportunity to improve your plans drawing on some of the best design brains in the region and beyond.  Design review provides an informed critique from a panel with a range of professional disciplines.  We often find ourselves lending support to architects who are putting forward innovative and creative proposals.  Design review will help to raise your client’s aspirations.  Building the cost of design review into your fees will significantly improve the quality of service you provide.

For all parties design review can be a valuable conversation. The panel quite often come up with innovative suggestions which help to find a way forward where design differences seem intractable.  If you had to pay the panel members individually at their normal rates the expert advice you receive from the design review panel would cost many times more. 

We prefer to see proposals as early as possible in the design and planning process, so that our feedback can be easily incorporated into revised designs. So it is best if schemes are reviewed at a pre-planning-application stage, but design review can also be used during the planning process. Where schemes are viewed at a pre-application stage the deliberations of the panel can be kept confidential.

As a member of the Design Network, MADE is part of an England-wide design review service which is committed to continuously improving our service to be more useful and relevant to developers, designers and planners. MADE also supports the development of high quality, independent local design review services in the West Midlands.

The usual fee for bringing a scheme for a single Design Review is £2,250(+VAT).  For larger schemes we are can negotiate a package of support including more than one design review. For smaller schemes, such as single private houses, the fee can be reduced provided the review takes place as part of a regular panel meeting.

Regular design review panel meetings are generally scheduled for the 3rd Thursday of every month. However if your need for a review does not fit into that schedule just give us a call and we will do our best to accommodate you.

MADE's design review service does not receive any public subsidy.

If you have a scheme which you think could benefit from review by some of the best design brains in Britain get in touch and we will pencil it in for a review. If you are unsure about whether a scheme is suitable for design review or have any other queries, please contact Meredith Evans by email or call 0121 348 7980.

We will then require you to complete this submission form before we can confirm that your scheme is booked in for design review.

Design Review Submission Form.docx

These guidelines will help you get the most from the MADE design review service:

MADE DESIGN REVIEW - Guidance note.pdf