How can the quality of urban development projects be improved? BMA has at its disposal a number of tools to support clients throughout the entire process, from the project definition right up until the delivery.

Competitions, research by design, design reviews and project meetings are the main tools used to assist and encourage clients, providing the best possible support for improving the quality of their projects.


The organisation of competitions is the principal tool used by BMA. Competitions offer an open, healthy and transparent way of awarding architectural, urban and public space contracts with a focus is on delivering high-quality projects.

Both public and private clients benefit from support that ensures the competition procedure runs as effectively and smoothly as possible.



The technique of drawing lies at the heart of research by design. This process, which has been part of BMA’s toolkit since 2016, is designed to be implemented at the earliest possible stage of a project in order to make a targeted contribution to the project quality. Whether the aim is to define the right questions, to clarify the urban planning framework of a competition, or to improve and optimise projects through imagining alternative proposals, research by design employs the medium of architecture to feed into the discussion through the use of drawings, sketches and images.

This method makes it possible to focus on the actual spatial impact of a project (volume, models, programme, etc.), taking the context into account, with the aim of achieving the highest possible level of quality in collaboration with all the stakeholders involved.


The earlier discussions about the quality of a project begin, the greater their impact will be. After all, asking for advice the day before submitting a permit application will not allow for any kind of useful discussion about the project. It is for this reason that the CoBAT (Code Bruxellois de l’Aménagement du Territoire – Brussels Town and Country Planning Code) aims to encourage project promoters to engage in discussion about architectural quality at an early stage.

Since September 2019, the CoBAT decree has stipulated, in article 11/1, that a request for a design review must be submitted to BMA for all permit applications involving projects with a floor area greater than 5,000 m². This review must be appended to the permit application.

In addition to this official design review, applicants may also request, on their own initative, a discussion about the quality of the project through the organisation of a Project Meeting.  Project Meetings, which were created by BMA in 2015, have replaced the previous Chambre de qualité (Quality Chamber). Their aim is to stimulate the quality of projects, to transparently and efficiently streamline communication, to organise a professional dialogue between the architects/clients and the contractor, and to coordinate the opinions of the different authorities most closely involved in assessing quality. In this way, precious time can be saved thanks to pre-emptive consultation and a well-coordinated approach.


How to request a BMA design review within the context of a permit application

For projects with a floor area greater than 5,000 m² (in the sense of the PRAS), planning permit applications must include a design review from BMA.

To apply, applicants must submit a request by email containing all information necessary to allow the project to be adequately assessed. The design review request must therefore include:

  • The permit application form;
  • An explanatory note describing the project;
  • All project drawings;
  • Any relevant photographs.

The request and all necessary documents should be sent to avis-advies@bma.brussels