Below I use four photos to illustrate the paradox in quality assurance, namely that regulation is both an obstacle and a solution.
The top two photos are of the facade and interior of the same building: the DZ Bank in Pariser Platz, Berlin, designed by world-renowned architect, Frank Gehry. The strict city design codes around eave height and 'punctuation of fenestration' (i.e. rhythm of windows) mean that the city centre is uniform and ordered, arguably bringing up the overall quality, but it also means that the delightful outputs of creative mavericks like Gehry are hidden away from public view; a great loss to the city.
On the bottom left is Hanham Hall, a Code 6 ("zero carbon") development in between Bristol and Bath, which is almost as delightful as the original artists' impressions, but was funded by around a 1/3 of total capital cost through the public purse. On the right is a faceless aberration in a new housing estate in north Bristol.
Together these illustrate to me the need for flexibility for people with the experience, talent and drive to create exemplars, and regulation for those who can't or won't. In the current UK context, where red-tape is being cut left and right, this means quality of individuals is more important than ever, starting with the landlord and its procurement mechanisms - see below blog - but also the expertise available.