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Balancing your assessment

What happens when you find a scheme is good in some ways but bad in others? This happens all the time as designers look to meet potentially competing objectives.

For example, we used to think cul de sacs were successful because they offered a lot of security – nobody went into them who was not going to one of the buildings they served, everyone could see who was coming and going and so on. BUT, the safety in the middle of the cul de sac was at the expense of dead and unsafe areas around its outside.

Click here to access our lesson on Balancing your assessment

Building control regulation

In 1666 a small shop in Pudding Lane, London caught fire and so began The Great Fire of London. The fire spread very quickly through the tightly packed timber buildings.

In 1667, in the aftermath of the fire, the first legislation to control building construction was born, requiring all buildings to incorporate fire resistance.

Click here to access our lesson on Building control regulation

Building for Life

Building for Life provides assessment criteria in the form of a series of questions. These questions relate to big housing schemes only and are grouped into four sets (each containing five questions):
  • environment and community
  • character
  • streets, parking and pedestrianisation
  • design and construction
Building for Life is a partnership between several national agencies. It is led by CABE and the Home Builders Federation.

Click here to access our lesson on Building for Life


Car parking design

In CABE’s housing audits of recently built housing estates, car parking and the affect it has on the environment is the number one gripe of most residents. This is not really surprising - parking takes a lot of space and we want it to be safe, convenient, reliable and available.

At the same time a large part of national policy aimed at reducing car use and carbon emissions has looked to restrict car parking in order to reduce car use; while national sustainable development policies have called for higher densities which tend not to allow space for a lot of parking.

Click here to access our lesson on Design principles for streets


Cities, towns, neighbourhoods, villages, streets - these are the places where people live and work and have their own sense of place and history. Venice, London, New York, Shanghai all have 'personalities' - a feeling that makes residents and visitors alike understand the place and how it operates. Smaller towns, neighbourhoods, individual streets and even single buildings can have their own character and personality too.

Click here to access our lesson on Recognising the qualities of good places

Commissioning design work

CABE’s publication ‘Creating Excellent Buildings, A guide for clients’ sets out 10 key principles which will help clients to achieve an excellent outcome:

  • strong client leadership
  • enough time at the right time
  • learn from other projects
  • develop a clear brief
  • realistic financial commitment
  • adopt integrated processes
  • find the right people for the job
  • respond to context
  • commit to sustainability
  • sign off all key stages

Click here to access our lesson on Commissioning design work

Computer-generated 3D block model

Computer-generated 3D block model should be provide:
  • existing context either through aerial photograph, Ordnance Survey base map, or 3D block model
  • computer-generated block model accurately montaged onto base
  • building massing and storey heights, rather than detailed architecture
  • overview of indicative proposals
  • indicative landscaping scheme
  • clearly defined areas of proposed and existing (when applicable)

Click here to access our lesson on Artistic images

Computer-generated 3D detailed model

Computer-generated 3D detailed model should be provide:
  • detailed proposals
  • architectural style, detail and materials
  • hard and soft landscaping
  • water bodies
  • street furniture and lighting
  • shadows
  • reflections
  • people to have sense of scale
  • promotes the vision

Click here to access our lesson on Artistic images

Continuity and enclosure

People should be able to 'read' a space easily, to know which spaces are public and open to all and which places are private. This applies as much to those using a space in passing as to those who live, work and play in places.
  • Continuity means the retention of street frontages, shops, houses and so on without large gaps or obtrusive 'out of place' buildings.
  • Enclosure means just what it says - enclosing places so that their use can be easily understood.
The layout of a place is critical to achieving continuity and enclosure, but this quality is also affected by scale, landscaping and appearance.

Click here to access our lesson on Recognising the qualities of good places


Councillors have a broad range of duties and responsibilities, which partly depend upon their specific roles within the council’s constitution. Councillors are collectively the ultimate policy-makers, and carry out a number of strategic and corporate management functions.

Click here to access our lesson on Who's responsible for good design?

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