What is design review?

Design review is the process of evaluating the design quality of a development proposal. It is carried out by a panel of suitably qualified and independent experts, who are experienced in offering objective and constructive design advice.

What is the purpose of a Design Review Panel (DRP)?

The main objective of a DRP is to provide independent expert advice on all design aspects of a development proposal to ensure high-quality design is achieved.

Design review, particularly when undertaken early, has multiple benefits for a range of stakeholders including the delivery of quality built outcomes, a reduction in time and cost through early identification of issues, and progressive certainty for design teams provided through collaborative resolution of planning and design issues.

Design review undertaken by suitably qualified and independent experts provides confidence and empowers decision-makers to better meet the needs of the community. Design review can also support local governments in their role as responsible authorities, helping them secure high-quality design.

A DRP usually seeks to facilitate high-quality urban design outcomes by providing expert advice and recommendations in a constructive and non-adversarial manner.

It performs an advisory function only and does not have delegated authority to determine applications, nor are the recommendations binding.

Does the Design Review Panel have decision-making authority?

A Design Review Panel performs an advisory function only and does not have delegated authority to determine applications, nor are the recommendations binding.

What are the benefits for the City from the design review process?

Local governments can benefit in a number of ways in the design review process including:

·  making clear that design quality is important, which will be an incentive for developers to engage good design expertise

·  gaining independent expert advice when evaluating proposals

·  providing a forum – prior to lodgement of a development application – where key local government representatives can participate in brokering collaborative solutions with the panel and proponents, enabling a smoother approvals phase following endorsement

·  gathering suggestions for changes in strategic policy based on best practice knowledge and common design issues faced by applicants

·  engaging in ‘precinct planning’, which has been identified as an important next step in the delivery of better design outcomes

·  enhancing investment interest in an area, as good developers target locations that are known to have a well-run Design Review Panel.

What are the benefits for the applicant from the design review process?

Applicants can benefit in a number of ways in the design review process including:

·  receiving expert independent advice on the design quality of their project

·  providing the flexibility needed to pursue improved outcomes

·  reducing risks and expense by identifying weaknesses within the design at the earliest possible opportunity, when changes are less costly

·  gaining a level of certainty with a proposal before investing in a detailed development application, reducing time delays and potential costs

·  potentially raising project ambitions and increasing the confidence of clients and designers to pursue quality design outcomes.

What are the benefits for decision-makers (The City, Council and Joint Development Assessment Panel) from the design review process?

Decision-makers can benefit in a number of ways in the design review process including:

·  gaining expert, independent advice on the design quality of a proposal

·  offering confidence to decision-makers when exercising discretion over planning requirements.

What are the benefits for the community from the design review process?

Communities can benefit in a number of ways in the design review process including:

·  gaining assurance that new developments will make a positive contribution to the public realm, adjacent development and the surrounding community

· developing confidence in urban infill development which will support the development and viability of neighbourhood centres.

What is the value in engaging early design review?

Design review panels that promote early design review have been shown to improve the design quality of built outcomes and also reduce project costs via shortened design development stages and expedited development application approvals.

Early design review offers the opportunity to increase the value and quality of a design proposal, before the cost of changes outweighs the benefits gained.

Do I need to be a City of Stirling resident or ratepayer to be a member of the Design Review Panel?

No, you do not need to be a City of Stirling resident or ratepayer to be a member. The City encourages nominations from all suitably qualified professionals who are generally available to satisfy the responsibilities of the position, as outlined in the Terms of Reference.