Design Quality Framework


The Design Quality Framework is an ambitious project to provide both the information and processes needed to improve design within the city. Our aims and objectives are:

  • Improving design quality by providing clear guidance, benchmarks and design quality expectations.

  • Accelerating the planning process by providing clear and consistent guidance on processes, submission requirements and support available. Also encouraging applicants and designers to engage in pre-application discussions.

  • Overcoming communication barriers between communities and professionals by describing core design principles in a simple, accessible way.

    Download the overview guide here


What the Design Quality Framework does?

  • Reflects national, regional and local policy.

  • Lays out design and planning processes and submission requirements.

  • Sets ambitions and expectations for design quality.

  • Establishes thresholds for design quality.

  • Provides strong guidance for design quality from feasibility stage through to post-occupancy.

  • Describes the appraisal criteria for the various stages of the planning process.

Sets a framework for improving:

  • Place quality.

  • The quality of life, health and wellbeing of users, consumers and the general public.

  • Existing assets, especially those with heritage value.

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What it cannot do

  • Ignore adopted plans, frameworks and other legislation.

  • Limit design freedom and innovation.

  • Assume compromises in quality can be achieved on the basis of financial viability or economic gains.

  • Appraise design quality on the basis of stylistic preferences.

  • Be applied retrospectively to planning permissions granted prior to the launch of the relevant DQF document.