Victorian Design Review Panel


Victorian Design Review Panel

The Victorian Design Review Panel (VDRP) provides independent, expert advice on significant projects.

The panel

VDRP panellist are experienced professional specialists in the built environment. The VDRP includes Architects, Urban Designers, Landscape Architects and Planners. The panel also includes specialists in sustainability, accessibility, health, public art and design competitions. The skill set of the panel is tailored to the type of project in each design review. Biographies of the members can be found here:

A structured and fair process

The VDRP offers a structured process of design review. This involves a thorough briefing and the formalisation of advice in a report. A dedicated VDRP secretariat guides project teams through the process. From time to time the process and type of design review is adapted to suit project needs. For complex, ongoing projects a design quality team (DQT) may provide continuity of advice.

What projects can be reviewed?

The VDRP reviews projects that are significant in some way. This may be because of the site, context, complexity, or because the project establishes a precedent for a type of development. The VDRP can review projects at different scales of development, including strategies, masterplans, buildings, major infrastructure, streets and public spaces. Design review has most impact early in the design process. The suitability of projects is at the OVGA's discretion. 

Design review is a confidential process, except for planning applications, when the advice becomes part of a public record.

Who can use the VDRP? 

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


History and success to date

The Victorian Design Review Panel commenced in April 2012, and has undertaken over 300 design review sessions so far. The VDRP has reviewed approximately $27.7 billion of projects and over 3,000 people have particpated in the design review process. 

Reviewed projects include key civic buildings, urban renewal area strategies, major transport infrastructure projects, housing renewal projects, hospitals, parks, cultural and sports buildings, commercial headquarters, and town centre masterplans.

We evaluate the impact of the VDRP process periodically. Our stakeholders say:

         The VDRP is a valuable resource. It improves design processes and outcomes, and the aspiration for high quality design.

SGS Economics and Planning completed an evaluation of the pilot phase of the VDRP in December 2013. See the Executive Summary here.

Lessons Learned 

The 'Lessons Learned' series captures common issues in projects seen through the VDRP. These papers advocate and inform similiar projects. Past lessons include: 

  • Lessons Learned: Schools - August 2014 - can be read here.
  • Lessons Learned: Level Crossing Removals - October 2014 - can be read here.

Future Lessons Learned editions are in development.


Victorian Design Review Panel

receive news and updates