Victorian Design Review Panel



The Victorian Design Review Panel (VDRP) provides independent and authoritative advice to government and statutory decision makers across Victoria about the design of significant development proposals.

The VDRP consists of highly experienced built environment professionals, who provide expert design review of significant projects at key stages of the design and development process. Architects, urban designers, landscape architects and planners, as well as specialists in sustainability, accessibility, health, place making and masterplanning, contribute to the VDRP. Biographies of the members can be found here:

The VDRP offers a structured process of review, which involves extensive briefing and the formalisation of advice back to the proponent from the OVGA. A dedicated team in the OVGA works with project proponents to guide them through the process.

The VDRP reviews projects that are significant because of their site, context or complexity, or because they will be establishing a precedent for new development in a place. The VDRP can review all scales of development from masterplans, major infrastructure, buildings, streets and public spaces. The suitability of projects will be at the OVGA's discretion.

Design review by the VDRP is undertaken in a confidential environment, except when a planning application has been lodged and the project is therefore in the public domain.

State and Local Government can access the VDRP. Find out more in this Fact Sheet, which details the application process. Access the application form here.

Success to date

The Victorian Design Review Panel (VDRP) commenced reviewing significant State Government funded projects in April 2012. Since that time, the VDRP has met monthly and undertaken almost 200 design review sessions. The VDRP has reviewed approximately $16.8 billion of projects to date. Over 1,400 people, including Client Departments, Responsible Authorities and design teams have been engaged in the design review process. A summary document of key achievements from the first two years can be downloaded here.

Projects have included major transport interchanges and transport infrastructure projects including level crossing removals, major housing projects, hospitals, parks, aquatic centres, cultural and sports buildings, commercial headquarters, and town centre masterplans.

An Evaluation report of the pilot phase of the VDRP was completed by SGS Economics and Planning in December 2013- the Executive Summary can be viewed here.

Current status

The VDRP has operated as a fee-for-service model since July 1 2014, at the direction of the Department for Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure. This follows a successful pilot period where the cost of running the Panel was covered by government. The fee-for-service status of the Panel is reflected in Plan Melbourne:

Expand the Victorian Design Review Panel process to include, where appropriate, voluntary, fee-for-service reviews of:
- significant state-government and state-funded projects
- significant projects affecting places on the Victorian Heritage Register
- significant projects referred by local government.

The OVGA has developed a strategy to cost recover through establishing strategic partnerships with Government departments, agencies and local authorities.

Individual projects can access the Design Review Panel for a small per project fee. State and Local Government can request a design review by the OVGA, who will then advise the best model of review based on the nature of the project.

Lessons Learned

The Design Review: Lessons Learned series seeks to capture and share common issues of particular project types which are seen through the VDRP, as part of their design advisory role. These papers offer a short summary of issues for project teams and clients to consider as they brief and develop designs for these complex projects.

  • Lessons Learned: Schools was released in August 2014 and can be downloaded here.
  • Lessons Learned: Level Crossing Removals was released in October 2014 and can be downloaded here.

Future editions on recreation centres, design of town centres, urban regeneration and building in sensitive environments will be released in 2016.

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