A NSW Government website

Design guidance

Good design of buildings and developments leads to increased social, environmental and economic benefits for our towns and cities.

Local Government Design Review Manual

In November 2022, the NSW Government has released the Local Government Design Review Panel Manual (PDF, 1 MB) to support a consistent approach to the way design review is conducted by local government.

Many councils across NSW have already established their own design review panels to assist assessment teams and achieve better outcomes for communities.

This manual provides clear guidance to councils, panel members, applicants and design teams on what is involved and expected during a local government design review panel process.

Developed with extensive feedback and consultation with local government, industry and communities, the manual supplements existing guidance to provide complementary and non-conflicting advice on best-practice procedures for all development. It is not intended to impact existing Apartment Design Guide processes.

Councils can contact the Government Architect NSW office to receive assistance setting up their design review panels by emailing [email protected]

For more information about design review in NSW, visit Government Architect NSW.

Design guidelines and competitions

Design competitions help prioritise good design and can bring the highest quality of thinking and originality to a project. The Department of Planning and Environment and Government Architect NSW have produced competition guidelines to support good design.

The department is undertaking a review and update of the current Director General’s Design Excellence Guidelines, 2011 (PDF, 125 KB).

In May 2018 the Draft Government Architect’s Design Excellence Competition Guidelines, 2018 were exhibited for public consultation, seeking feedback from key stakeholders including the department’s assessments teams, local government representatives, agencies and industry. The draft guidelines contain information on the objectives, processes and requirements for statutory design competitions. The department is currently considering feedback and engagement with targeted stakeholders to help finalise the guidelines.

For all information regarding Design Excellence Competition Guidelines, email [email protected]

Councils can contact the Government Architect’s office to receive assistance in setting up their design review panels by emailing [email protected]