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Developing mechanisms to deliver quality

Select the right tools and techniques to help you stay focused on quality throughout the implementation phase. Be clear about what purpose they serve and how they will be operated and monitored.

Developing mechanisms to deliver quality is part of the masterplanning process.

While everyone involved in your project was probably happy to agree that any new development should be of a high quality, this commitment will be put to the test in the implementation phase. For example, market conditions may have changed between the outset of the process and when development is ready to start. The quality of what is delivered, and the vision captured in the adopted or approved plan, will therefore come under pressure over time.

To guard against this, clients can set out their aspirations for design quality at a number of levels:

  • strategic: development briefs, concept statements, design codes
  • site-specific: planning conditions and obligations, site-specific design briefs
  • generic: guidance on thematic issues such as conservation, character or tall buildings.

Whether any of these are needed depends on you identifying the level of control you need and whether the mechanisms that already exist will give this to you or not. For example, the planning framework puts into practice the vision, aims and objectives for a project and is the principal mechanism for ensuring quality. Beyond that, the implementation strategy, allied to the quality strategy, are tools for managing the relationship between delivery and mechanisms for protecting and promoting quality.

These mechanisms need clear design leadership and judgement on the client side to be effective. Additional mechanisms to deliver quality therefore have to be considered as a complement to, not a substitute for, the role of planning, community and stakeholder engagement and client leadership. If partners decide that further guidance is needed this should focus on working together and using local knowledge as a key resource. This will usually allow you to be more definite about what is needed for a site, and to be more prescriptive in setting design principles and specific objectives.

Before you continue, make sure that you read the following information about developing mechanisms to deliver quality:

How do I develop mechanisms to deliver quality?

  1. Review the control you have over design quality through planning
    You should review the leverage and control you may have over design quality through planning and establish any risks to quality and delivery.
  2. Review local design guidance
    Local design guides can be used to promote high standards and local distinctiveness, and to clarify how the planning authority will deal with the qualitative aspects of development proposals.
  3. Consider a quality charter
    Delivery partners can secure joint commitment to the quality of what is to be delivered, and generate public interest in development, through a quality charter.
  4. Prepare or commission site-specific guidance
    After exploring all other options, client teams can exert additional control over the quality and certainty of outcomes through a brief or guidance for particular sites.

Examples of developing mechanisms to deliver quality