Design Excellence is a term that exists in statutory planning documents, most notably Local Environment Plans (LEPs) and State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs). It describes a variety of requirements intended to lift design quality. Design excellence provisions vary and range from the need to consider urban design themes, undertake a competitive design process and or undertake a specific form of design competition. However, there is currently no clear and overarching framework for design excellence processes in NSW.

GANSW is currently developing a design excellence framework for NSW, titled ‘Better Methods’. This framework is aimed at bringing together the numerous State and local design excellence initiatives under a single, clear NSW Government guideline on design excellence processes which integrates:

  1. Design Competitions: Government Architect’s Competitive Design Guidelines (previously the Director General’s Design Excellence Guidelines)
  2. Design Review: including a proposed NSW State Design Review Panel as well as existing local DRPs
  3. Design procurement: Government Architect’s Prequalification Scheme and procurement practice notes

It will be supported by a hierarchical suite of documents and guidelines including;

  • GANSW Guide to Design Competitions
  • GANSW Guide to being a smart client
  • GANSW Strategic Frameworks Manual
  • GANSW Guide to Master plans

Supporting documents and templates relating to Design Review will be published here, including Terms of Reference, panel member code of conduct, information for design teams and a program overview

‘Better Methods’ is due for release in draft form in late 2017. Workshops and feedback sessions seeking input to the final document will take place following the release of the draft with further updates available on this website.

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