Materials, maintenance and management

Goal: A place that works well for everyone and will continue to work well in the future.

p135. The way the building and the space between buildings will be used once the development is completed must form a critical part of the evaluation of a proposed design. This is to ensure that buildings and spaces are used appropriately, that they do not break down, the materials and landscaping do not fail and that potential issues through the use of a management or maintenance programme can be resolved by ensuring that the quality of the development as planned is protected.

p136. Good design is only successful if it is built to last. Spaces and buildings that are difficult or expensive to maintain will not achieve good, long-lasting quality in their design. Proper consideration must be given at the design stage to the effects of ageing, weather and climate conditions, normal wear and tear on buildings, streets and spaces, and landscape. Inadequate maintenance can lead to an environment just as poor as one that is badly designed in the first place. You should design for easy maintenance.

p137. Designing for easy maintenance takes creativity and careful thought. It is not acceptable to use a cheap material, such as tarmac, just because it is easy to replace. Equally, think carefully about how a particular material such as paving will be replaced, should it need to be. Developers/applicants may be expected to make financial contributions to maintenance as necessary.

Figure 63

  Figure 55: Use local materials in either a traditional or contemporary way

Hard wearing and long-lasting buff block paving (Thame)
Robust weather resistant knapped flint (Wallingford)
Provide a choice and variety of materials which should be inspired by the contextual analysis
Ensure good specifications and quality finishes

The new development should ensure:

    1. the choice of materials and detailing for the streets/spaces and buildings are inspired by the contextual analysis and local vernacular;
    2. the visual impact of materials especially roof and brick colour. Visually recessive colours are encouraged in areas visible to the wider countryside;
    3. it presents visual interest, created by attractive detailing, high quality materials, depth and relief, shadow lines and fenestration. Changes to texture and colour should be encouraged to complement the façade articulation across the envelope of the building, not just individual elevations;
    4. materials used are proven to be sustainable, robust and weather well. Explore case studies/examples of where these materials have been used elsewhere to support your choice, including carbon credentials;
    5. it provides an accompanying palette of materials for streets and spaces to complement building materials. These should be easy to maintain;
    6. the approach to maintenance is clearly set out and identifies who is responsible for all the various parts of the scheme. The list of responsibilities is likely to include the following: buildings, trees and soft landscaping, streets and open spaces, public art and sustainable drainage systems;
    7. hard surface materials are appropriate for their intended purpose and technical requirements;
    8. there is sufficient space to allow landscaping and planting to establish and thrive;
    9. enough space has been provided so that existing trees will not be damaged and to avoid pressure from future residents to remove them in the future.

Note: All design principles are applicable to all scales of development unless otherwise specified; *minor applications, **major applications