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Sheffield developer and designer panel

An example of planning how to deliver the project.

Sheffield developer and designer panel

New housing at Foxhill, Sheffield. Image by Artisan Holdings Ltd / Mecanoo Architects.

Establishing framework panels for a development programme

Sheffield City Council has used panels of pre-qualified development and design partners to help plan, design and deliver a range of sites across the city. This has helped in giving a firm, clear and consistent approach to quality. It has also allowed for partners to be appointed to individual projects more quickly and easily than a conventional two-stage tender would allow.

Sheffield’s developer panel operated during a period between 2005 and 2008 when there was sustained activity through the housing market renewal programme. It consisted of three sub-panels, appropriate to different scales of development, with 16 developer and RSL partners appointed in total. Once established, the panel members competed for each site against a market brief, which could include design, regeneration and other considerations as well as tenure type and mix. This was a good way of balancing efficiency of process with maintaining a competitive edge between panel members.

To regulate and streamline the process, Sheffield compiled a developer manual to make clear the design quality standards and best practice required for all sites. The manual is a ‘live’ document that acts as a record of best and evolving practice. Once developers begin work, the council monitors and evaluates performance on individual sites, particularly as they relate to meeting design quality and energy efficiency standards. Although the panel no longer operates, the manual is still relevant to all sites put out to open-market tender by Sheffield City Council.

Operating in parallel with the developer panel and developer manual has been Sheffield’s designer panel: a list of pre-qualified design consultants. The council uses them either for appointing design teams to directly-funded council projects in HMR areas or as an approved list from which developers can select for residential developments. The panel is refreshed regularly. All consultants have a two-year framework contract – once this expires, they have to re-apply.

Sheffield City Council’s website explains more about its site redevelopment programme.

CABE’s briefing paper, Agreeing a procurement strategy has further information on the operation of the Sheffield developer panel and developer manual.