State Design Review Panel

The State Design Review Panel, chaired by the Government Architect, comprises a diverse pool of specialists with expertise in the built environment.
Last updated: 13 March 2023

The Panel functions as a committee of the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) and was formally established on 3 April 2019 in accordance with the Planning and Development Act 2005 (Schedule 2, clause 1). It is administered by the Design Review Support Team within the Design and Built Environment directorate, Department of Planning Lands and Heritage.

About the State Design Review Panel

The State Design Review Panel is a multi-disciplinary panel of highly-experienced built environment professionals from industry and government that provides independent advice on the design quality of major development proposals.

Chaired by the Government Architect, the design review Panel provides advice to government agencies, proponents and decision-makers, including the WAPC.

Projects eligible for review by the State Design Review Panel include significant or strategic public works, infrastructure projects and other major development proposals.

Meet the Panel Members

The State Design Review Panel comprises a diverse pool of 75 specialists with expertise in the built environment.  

Panel members are appointed for a two-year term, from a range of disciplines including architecture, landscape architecture, urban design, planning, heritage, sustainability, public art, engineering, and Aboriginal cultural heritage and engagement. 

The term of current appointments ends on 30 June 2024.

Terms of Reference

The State Design Review Panel Terms of Reference can be found here.

Project eligibility

Projects eligible for review by the State Design Review Panel include significant or strategic public works, infrastructure projects and other major development proposals. Statutory decision-makers may also refer significant private sector projects for consideration by the Panel.

The Government Architect and the WAPC Chairman   will determine which projects are accepted for review. Consideration will be given to the following factors when determining whether a referral to the State Design Review Panel is approved:

  • State or Regional Significance: The project is of significance to the State or a particular region
  • Location: the project is located in an area that has particular importance and/or sensitivity, whether this be historic, environmental, or relating to a particular character or use
  • Prominence: the project is situated on a prominent site, with high levels of public visibility and/or political sensitivity
  • Complexity: there are complex challenges to overcome that require a sophisticated design response
  • Precedence: the project establishes a precedent for a type of development within an area.

The Panel may consider requests from Ministers, the WAPC, the Heritage Council of WA and other government agencies.

A request for State Design Review Panel review can be made by completing the Design Review Request Form. The request will be assessed against the eligibility criteria. The Government Architect and the WAPC Chairman will have discretion in respect of approving which projects are accepted for review.

Design Review Request Form

About design review

Design review is the process of independently evaluating the design quality of a built environment proposal.

Design review is undertaken by a multi-disciplinary group of built environment professionals with experience in offering objective and constructive design advice. 

Design review provides independent expert analysis and informed assessment of proposals, guided by a set of performance-based design principles. It offers feedback and observations that will lead to the improvement of proposals, but does not seek to directly redesign them.

Engaging in design review improves the design quality of projects and can expedite the planning process, leading to the quicker delivery of high-quality buildings and places that provide a wide range of benefits to occupants, neighbours and the broader community. A performance-based approach provides the flexibility required for complex proposals. Run collaboratively, and with projects in the hands of skilled designers, design review often results in a more efficient approvals process.

For design review to be effective, it should be:

  • Independent
  • Expert 
  • Multi-disciplinary 
  • Accountable 
  • Transparent 
  • Proportionate 
  • Timely 
  • Advisory 
  • Objective 
  • Accessible. 

More information about design review is available in the Western Australian Planning Commission (WAPC) Design Review Guide   and in the following video.

For more information on the State Design Review Panel, email 

At what stage of a project should design review occur?

Design review should begin well before a development application is submitted.

It is strongly recommended the initial design review occurs as early in the design process as possible (i.e. during the concept design stage) to ensure the proponent can apply the advice offered at a stage where the design is flexible enough to incorporate change without impacting on time and cost constraints.

Early design review offers the opportunity to increase the value and quality of a design proposal before the cost of changes outweighs the benefits gained. A well-run design review process that promotes early design review can improve the design quality of built outcomes and reduce project costs. It also helps identify risks early; provide support for design concepts prior to investment in detailed design; and expedite development application approvals following panel endorsement. 

Benefits of design review

For the wider community

Design review offers independent expert advice and is undertaken in the public interest. Benefits to the community include assurance that new developments will make a positive contribution to the public realm, adjacent development and the surrounding context.  It can also assist in developing community confidence in urban infill development that will support the development and viability of neighbourhood centres.

For design teams

A design review can confirm the validity of design approaches early, before detailed design occurs. The team can receive constructive, independent advice including recommendations for change early on in the project, when it is most likely to be useful and more easily implemented – that is, before too many project variables are set. The project team can also receive support for good design and innovative proposals.

For developers

Developers receive expert independent advice on the design quality of their project, providing the flexibility needed to pursue improved outcomes. Design review can reduce risks and the cost of delays in the planning process that can result from inadequate design quality in a project. Review can identify the weaknesses within the design at the earliest opportunity, when changes are less costly. Design review increases the confidence of clients and designers to pursue innovative solutions.

For local governments

Design review enables local government to ensure that developers and design teams prioritise design quality and are encouraged to produce high-quality buildings and public spaces that meet local objectives and are of benefit to their communities. Design review helps local government recognise outstanding and innovative design, supports them in resisting poor design, and gives them a practical means of understanding where improvements need to be made.

For State government decision makers

Decision makers (within State government agencies, Development Assessment Panels and others) can benefit from design review by gaining expert, independent advice on the design quality of a proposal. Design review will also enable the recognition of good design outcomes and, when advising on the exercising of discretion, the appropriate weight that might be applied to outstanding or innovative solutions that benefit the area. It will also provide confidence in resisting poor design that fails to take the opportunities available for improving the character and quality of an area and the way it functions.

Training and support

The State Design Review Panel Support Team are able to provide information and training sessions for local government design review panel members and planning staff.

The team can also provide information to assist local government authorities establish their own design review panels and conduct panel inductions in line with the WAPC Design Review Guide.

For more information on the State Design Review Panel, email