This paper begins by examining how economic models have developed over time to define the boundaries of cost and value in building. How value is variously described in other fields is compared, and the technique of value management as a good design tool is analysed. Wider methods such as Building Rating which look beyond direct capital expenditure and begin to explore how social, political and environmental issues might be brought into the evaluation of good design are reviewed. The need for change emerges conclusively in the present decade’s group of authoritative reports. The paper concludes with a summary of face to face interviews with contributors to the research including three views from mainland Europe, and ends with three case studies exploring how client perceptions of good design appear in practice.