How enabling works

CABE’s enabling work has aimed to change places for the better through face-to-face independent advice on projects, backed up with guidance and training.

Enabling is most effective at the point when a small, targeted engagement can make a huge difference to outcomes – to the quality of buildings and places. This will usually be at the start of the briefing and design process, before the appointment of a design team or a developer. It could also be through helping to set policy, processes and strategic direction for a place, project or programme of work. These approaches are complemented by support to public sector clients in developing their design management skills through training, bespoke workshops and best practice visits.

CABE’s advice has been provided either directly by our professional staff or through the allocation of enablers to work on a project, or both. This is often as part of a small team assembled for the project. Enablers have been selected according to their professional background, skills and experience, but they are also there to act as mentor and advisor to the client.

This is not a substitute for consultancy or in-house expertise: enablers help clients rather than actually undertaking tasks for them. Each enabling engagement should help the client use investment efficiently to deliver high quality outcomes. It should leave individuals and organisations better equipped to reap the rewards of good design and embed a design culture.

Enabling can take many forms and can work across the scales. Generally, it will be one or a combination of the following basic approaches: