Frederick Bremer School

Waltham Forest


Contractors bid to develop multiple schools as part of Building Schools for the Future, so it was essential that the Frederick Bremer school could communicate their needs to ensure the designs were fit for purpose.

“DQI allowed the schools to express difference which led to the refinement of the brief”
CABE enabler

DQI helps stakeholders understand what they want

The Design Quality Indicator (DQI) assessment allowed a detailed and structured discussion about requirements. It focused attention on key indicators beyond each individuals particular specialism and ‘forced the mind to focus on other things by making connections through the pulling together of different points of view” (educational advisor).

Above all, the Design Quality Indicator (DQI) assessment helped the school understand what they really wanted and built stakeholder confidence in demanding it.

“One of the main benefits of DQI is getting key people from the school in the same room at the same time, and then taking them through a process which requires them to consider their position on various things. In other words it makes them think about what makes their school special”
CABE enabler

DQI helps stakeholders communicate what they want

Individual contractors are not allowed to engage in direct contact with the school as part of the competitive process for Building Schools for the Future. The Design Quality Indicator (DQI) assessment offered a mechanism for schools to clearly and fairly communicate their detailed needs, wants and aspirations to designers:

  • the centrality of the library at the heart of the school, both symbolically and physically
  • the importance of seeing the industrial nature of the site as a learning opportunity rather than an obstacle
  • the need to try and integrate and relate the school to its local community context
  • the need to develop clear lines of sight throughout the school to prevent bullying, including the provision of anti-bullying toilets

The successful designs responded directly to the outputs from the briefing workshop.

DQI helps stakeholders get what they need

A second Design Quality Indicator (DQI) assessment was used as to evaluate bidders schemes. Stakeholders knew that they had a direct influence on decision making and were empowered to engage with the process.

“this substantive end-user engagement … which is not based on expert criteria that people would feel excluded from … raised feelings of awareness about the design, its restraints and ultimately helped end users to feel comfortable using the finished building”
Educational advisor

DQI helps local authorities get the best design quality

Waltham Forest embraced the Design Quality Indicator (DQI) assessments for briefing and evaluation of bids but failed to follow the process rigorously beyond that. Subsequent waves have used Design Quality Indicator (DQI) assessments consistently in the development of the design for new schools in the borough.