You will need to learn from the work of others, draft your statement, create SMART objectives and agree your vision.
Future investment and refurbishment work should be part of your overall vision.
1. Learn from the work of others
If you need to know how best to set out your vision statement, talk with other clients, designers, project managers, contractors and users from similar projects. You can learn from their experiences by asking them about:
- their initial hopes and fears
- how successful the outcome was and why
- what does not work, particularly from the users’ point of view
- their experience of procurement routes and teams
- how easy their buildings are to manage and maintain
- what they would do differently
- how design and construction teams worked on the project
- the cost per square metre, space per person/user, of comparable buildings.
A vision statement isn’t an off-the-shelf product. It needs to be specific to your project. To help build your own vision statement look at:
- vision statements from other projects
- similar recent buildings and sites
- CABE’s online case studies of completed projects and good processes
- interesting projects you come across during business trips or on holiday
- the location you intend/hope to build in and any plans for its future.
2. Draft your vision statement
Your vision statement should set out:
- your values: for example, ‘we believe in making access to our services as straightforward as possible’
- your objectives: for example, ‘the aim of our refurbishment is to halve the carbon emissions of the building, while improving staff retention through improving the quality of the facility’
- your strategy: for example, ‘to phase the work over three summers to allow the fundraising to be carried out, while remaining operational’
- your context: for example, if the project was a library, ‘the project aims to deliver improvement in young people’s attendance in libraries as required by government policy’.
You can use these headings to form the structure of your vision statement. You may also want to consider adding information to illustrate your vision,
such as ‘a day in the life’ of your building, or ‘what the service will look like in 2030’.
Keep your statement succinct, brief, clear and simple. Set out what you need to say, but keep it brief enough to be understood easily by readers.
3. Create SMART objectives
Avoid using generalities that could be said about any project. You can achieve this by making sure that your vision statement contains objectives that are ‘SMART’: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound.
- Specific: your objectives should specify exactly what you want to achieve
- Measurable: you should be able to measure whether or not your project is meeting the objectives
- Achievable: you should set objectives that are achievable and attainable
- Realistic: you should be able to realistically achieve the objectives with the resources and time available
- Timetabled: you should set out by when you want to achieve the set objectives.
Having SMART objectives will help you to evaluate the progress and performance of the project.
The brief can be useful in ensuring people understand your vision.
4. Agree your vision statement
Your vision statement should be agreed at the highest level within your organisation.
Soon, you are likely to need to rally organisations or key stakeholders (such as a key local residents group or funders) around your vision, so it is vital that everyone in your organisation has agreed the vision before you communicate your vision to wider stakeholders.
Allow sufficient time at the board meeting, or equivalent, so that the vision is formally agreed and signed off in the records of your organisation.
Develop a strategy to communicate the vision to all who will have dealings with the project within your organisation, and spell out the benefits of a shared vision.
Try to ensure buy-in to the statement from as many people as possible, both inside and outside your organisation. But remember that the statement is owned by you. It sets out what you want as the client.
Avoid terms like ‘flagship building’, or ‘iconic statement’ – use meaningful descriptions, of what the vision is and why.