The National Infrastructure Commission (NIC) is starting a recruitment drive for a new group that wants to ensure designers are at the top table when it comes to delivering projects within the UK.
The commission wants to make the case for design experts and shape how infrastructure is planned and delivered moving forward and is calling on professionals from varying backgrounds to submit their applications.
It follows recommendations in the UK’s first-ever National Infrastructure Assessment, which highlights the benefits of effective design. Embedding this into the culture of planning and delivering projects can lead to better outcomes for communities and improve quality of life.
The NIC say this approach can also help to break down siloes and use creativity across professional specialisms to offer more desirable solutions for the people that use infrastructure and support those overseeing projects to add social value, save money, reduce risk and deliver projects in an environmentally-friendly way.
Commissioner, professor Sadie Morgan, who will chair the group, said: “Putting design at the heart of projects has countless benefits, helping new infrastructure to enhance and enrich the lives of the communities it serves. That’s what our group is there to ensure – that designers have a seat at the table at every step in a project’s lifecycle. Whether it’s engineers, architects, designers or ecologists, we’re looking for people who are passionate about good design and have the commitment, energy and enthusiasm needed to be real champions for this cause across the world of infrastructure.”
Targets for the group will include:
- Championing design quality in the nation’s infrastructure;
- Undertaking research examining the added value that design can bring to infrastructure;
- Putting in place measures to support the introduction of board level design champions for major projects;
- Developing design principles for publication by the Commission; and
- Convening discussions between and publishing advice for projects’ design panel.
A key recommendation in the National Infrastructure Assessment published last summer was for all nationally-significant infrastructure projects to have a board-level design champion. While it also recommended that projects should use a design panel to maximise the value provided by the infrastructure.
Five professionals with relevant infrastructure and design expertise will be selected to become members of the group and they will meet four times a year.