Introduction to Design Statements
From July 2010 an assessment of design quality has become part of the business case approval process for all NHSScotland projects over the delegated value as described in the Scottish Capital Investment Manual (SCIM).
There are two complimentary areas of consideration in the design of healthcare buildings. These can broadly be described as healthcare specific design aspects and general good practice in design considering the human experience of being in and around buildings, sustainability and the effective and efficient use of resources directed towards achieving whole life value for money. These two aspects are assessed through the NHSScotland Design Assessment Process (NDAP), carried out by Health Facilities Scotland and Architecture + Design Scotland.
The general design standards are established in the Design Statement, which is produced by the Boards for each project prior to the submission of the Initial Agreement (IA). The Design Statement is a means of setting out the Board’s objectives for an individual project in a series of agreed statements of intent and then defining benchmarks for how the physical result of the project will help deliver those objectives. The third part of the Design Statement is a plan of action for how the objectives and benchmarks (as can be found in our database Pulse) established for the project will inform key decisions throughout the project. This statement is assessed prior to the conclusion of the IA stage by the NDAP to establish it is in line with policy expectations. At later stages the emerging design is then assessed against the requirements and standards in the Design Statement and related healthcare specific guidance primarily as part of the Board’s own self assessment, but also by the NDAP in order to provide advice to decision makers within the board, and the CIG, regarding the extent to which the project is on track to deliver on the standards established.
A full description of the process and requirements can be found in the supporting guidance to the SCIM. This also includes information about the healthcare specific design aspects of the process.
Three example design statements have been worked up based on real NHSScotland projects. They act both as an illustration of the likely form and content of such statements, but also as a demonstration of the standard of benchmark that is ‘deemed to satisfy’ policy. It should be noted however that these examples are not intended to be used as a rigid pro-forma, with each line of the table format being a required aspect to produce a ‘non-negotiable’ statement for. The number and nature of the non-negotiable statements for each user group will depend entirely on the project.
Example Acute Care Design Statement
Example Inpatient Design Statement
Example Primary Care Design Statement
For guidance on working with stakeholders to form the Design Statement, see Guidance on workshopping the non-negotiables. However, client teams are advised to contact Architecture and Design Scotland at the earliest possible stage to establish a dialogue regarding the Design Statement and, subject to other commitments, to get support in their development. Recent experience has shown that statements developed in-house by boards have demonstrated greater clarity and strategic intent than those outsourced to design consultants. Further, it is supposed that the statement should be, generally, produced prior to the appointment of the design and delivery team and the bidding teams assessed for their potential to deliver on the standards embodies in the statement. For further guidance on the role and repsonsibilities of the client team and wider stakeholder group in the design of healthcare faiclities, please see our reference guides Commisioning Healthcare Developments
In order to provide the above services timeously, project teams should notify HFS of the project at an early stage and keep them informed of the project programme and key dates. All services provided by HFS and A+DS in relation to the above are carried out free of charge to the Board.
A number of projects have now made their completed design statements public.