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30th August 2017

Release of the Apartment Design Guidelines

The Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne, has this week released new Apartment Design Guidelines that will apply to all apartment developments across Victoria.  The Guidelines will essentially operate as a companion document to the Better Apartment Design Standards approved earlier this year 

Key features of Amendment VC139 include:

  • Apartment Design Guidelines for Victoria (DELWP, 2017) have been inserted as a reference document under State Planning Policies
  • Urban Design Guidelines for Victoria (DELWP, 2017) which have also added as a reference document under the State Planning Policies.  These Guidelines effectively consolidate and replace previous guidelines, such as the Guidelines for Higher Density Residential Development, which are more than a decade old and have become redundant in recent times.

ratio: welcomes guidelines aimed at providing greater explanation of the apartment provisions of Clause 55.07 and Clause 58, as the interpretation of the standards will be key to promoting better consistency in decision making by Council’s and VCAT.

The Apartment Design Guidelines do not significantly change our current understanding of the Better Apartment Design Standards which have been operable since April 2017.  Some key points include:

  • Setbacks should be taken from the nearest edge of the building, whether it be a balcony or window (p12)
  • Lightwells should not be used as a primary light source to living rooms (1.11)
  • Indoor communal spaces should not be counted as part of the communal open space requirements (p21)
  • Borrowed light do not comply, and snorkel windows should only be applied to bedrooms not living rooms

Having the status of a reference document, the Guidelines would only have a limited role in decision making but will aid architects/ designers as other industry professionals to applying the apartment provisions effectively.

To view the Apartment Design Guidelines document click here

To view the Urban Design Guidelines document click here

Should you have any queries, please get in touch with Robbie McKenzie or your existing contact at ratio:

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apartment design standards