Abstract:The development and update of healthcare premises planning information, technical guidance and tools in health care are controversial and have tended to engender a lot of debate. This is because many interrelated issues are involved, for example, stewardship (whether public or private), regulation (extent of compliance and associated penalties for non-compliance), rationale (whether prescription or performance based), quality, responsibilities and costs of development and updates to keep this information relevant and responsive to changing healthcare practice and technology. In recent years, there have also been many concerns over the ever-increasing amount of advice on best practice standards in the planning and design of healthcare facilities due to burgeoning safety legislation, raising expectations for quality and safety improvements and demands for effectiveness and to achieve value for money. The introduction of new procurement routes such as private finance initiative, public-private partnerships over and above the traditional one has added complexity. A summative rather than a comprehensive review of the healthcare planning information, healthcare facility briefing systems and tools provides an appropriate basis to evaluate some of the issues identified above. The review also answers the question of need for technical guidance and tools in healthcare over and above the planning regulation and building control applied to other types of the built environment. Traditional focus of building control has, in recent times, seen expanded state interventions in health and safety, including prevention of fire risk in buildings to application of rules, regulations and standards relating to the form and performance of buildings and the built environment. This has been necessary not only in order for building design to respond to increased threats to health and safety posed by terrorism and climate change but also to address sociopsychological and cultural issues related to place-making and sustainable urban living. As a result, there has been a proliferation of state-centred legal forms of regulation, formations and a plethora of rules, standards and governance practices as well as requirements by insurance companies to identify, prevent and contain risk (Imrie and Street 2011). © The Author(s) 2014.