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15th August 2016

Apartment Standards Released

The highly anticipated draft apartment design code has been released by the Government for public consumption.  Titled ‘Better Apartments Draft Design Standards, the document proposes a range of standards and objectives to implement a consistent approach to the design and amenity of apartments in Victoria.

The proposed standards will take a performance based approach to determine compliance with the intended design outcomes.  For example, objectives, standards and decision guidelines will be used in a similar fashion to the operation of ResCode.

The key features and ‘game changer’ elements of the standards are highlighted as follows:

  • No minimum apartment sizes (although a number of the standards will invariably require larger apartments than what is currently permissible);
  • More restrictive building setbacks from side and rear boundaries, such as a minimum of 6 metres for buildings up to 13.5 metres in height – refer Image right;
  • Room depth to ceiling height ratios depending on the orientation of the apartment, with south facing apartments being more onerous;
  • No borrowed light or no saddleback bedrooms – refer image far right;
  • Lightwells to habitable rooms must to achieve significantly larger size and dimensional requirements;
  • An adaptable bedroom with minimum dimensions of 3m x 3.4m (excluding BIR’s) for almost all dwellings.

Importantly, transitional provisions are proposed that will ensure the new standards will not apply to existing permit applications, as well as a minimum 3 months notice before the new standards come into force.

Whilst the proposed standards are targeted at enhancing the quality and liveability of apartments, ratio: anticipates there will be significant ramifications to apartment building floor plates that, in turn, would impact on apartment yield on most typical development sites.  This will likely have an impact on dwelling affordability unless there is a commensurate drop in land values.

Moving forward ratio: will be examining the implications of the new design standards in great depth, and we plan to release additional information in the coming weeks.

Submissions on the draft standards are due by 19 September 2016, with the final standards to be introduced in December 2016. 

Should you require any assistance please get in touch with your existing contact at ratio: or Robbie McKenzie, Senior Associate on 03 9429 3111.

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