The complex procurement process entailed by the private finance initiative (PFI) means that clients need new capacities to manage their relationships with bidders and to assess project proposals if the desired level of design quality is to be achieved. To assist local authorities in their client role, a new Architectural Design Quality Evaluation Tool was developed. The aim was to improve the quality of design in residential sheltered housing, procured through the PFI. The tool was developed for and applied to a programme that will see the replacement of a local authority's entire sheltered housing stock. The tool has two functions: (1) to inform the client's assessment process and assist with the selection of the preferred bidding consortium through a series of stages in the PFI process; and (2) to improve the quality of all the submitted designs through an iterative process. Although several existing mechanisms are available for evaluating the performance attributes of buildings, few also tackle the less tangible amenity attributes, which are vital to the feeling of home. The new tool emphasizes the amenity attributes without neglecting performance.