Design statements are a valuable tool for the applicant/client, the designer and council for the following reasons:
- They encourage and support quality design outcomes including avoidance of environmental impacts and costs;
- They are an effective communication tool; and
- They assist in streamlining the design and resource consent process.
Site responsive development can also add value by capitalising on on-site features, such as views and water bodies. A well designed and integrated development will create a high level of on and off site amenity, which typically achieves a higher economic value.
As a tool, a design statement communicates the rationale and implications of the design decisions made, which assists the council and other interested parties who may be reviewing the development proposal. When submitted as part of a resource consent application, it provides applicants with certainty regarding the information and analysis required.
The specific benefits to a developer/applicant and their design team of a well-considered design statement will be to speed up the resource consent process, and contribute to good communication and understanding between the applicant, council and the community. This is because the design statement should identify issues and potential constraints prior to commissioning a design that may prove controversial. It will maximise long term value for the development, and enable a cost effective, culturally and environmentally responsive design.
In assessing a resource consent application, the council will consider whether the proposal has identified and responded to the unique characteristics of the site, and the future planned character as identified in the Proposed Auckland Unitary Plan. This can be evidenced by the design approach and process the applicant and their team has taken. Providing all this information in a single design statement reduces the need for the council to seek further information , as the rationale as to why design decisions have been made is clearly presented. Design statements also introduce a form of ‘self-check’ or ‘quality control’ to the design process. In preparing a design statement any inadequacies of the proposed development will become apparent, enabling applicants to make changes or improvements before submitting a resource consent application.