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13th April 2017

The BADS are here!

The State Government has Gazetted Amendment VC136 today introducing the Better Apartment Design Standards (BADS) into planning schemes across Victoria. The BADS provide a state wide regulator influencing the design and amenity of apartment development. The key changes the Victorian Planning Provisions include:

  • Introduction of Clause 58 applicable to apartment development providing a series design objectives and standards to assess the internal amenity and site responsive design.
  • Amend Clause 55 to include the new requirements for apartment design assessment.
  • Amendment of Mixed Use, Township, Residential Growth and General Residential Zone to include the trigger for Clause 58 assessment.
  • Provide transitional provisions introduced into the zones excepting Clause 58 assessment for applications lodged prior to 13 April 2017, including permit amendment applications.

Since the draft BADS released in December 2016, we see these requirements introduced as Clause 58 into the scheme including a range of initiatives including urban context analysis, site layout, on-site amenity and facilities, detailed design and internal amenity design solutions.

The Scheme now categorises assessment of apartment development where less than or greater than 5 stories in a residential zone. An apartment up to 4 storeys will be assessed against Clause 55 plus some specific clauses of Clause 58 outlined in the relevant residential zone. Whereas apartment buildings of 5 or more stories or in a commercial zone will be assessed against the full 27 standards and objectives of Clause 58.

While most of the BADS document has been transferred into Clause 58, the main change is the restructure to provide a more cohesive order of objectives and the introduction of various standards such as residential policy, dwelling diversity, infrastructure, integration, safety, access and common property etc directly translated from Clause 55.

For transparency, the introduction of a definition for ‘Apartment’ is introduced within Clause 72 defining it as ‘a dwelling located above the ceiling level or below the floor level of another dwelling and is part of a building containing two or more dwellings.’

While the definition is clear that apartment development will be assessed under BADS, it is unclear whether a serviced apartment use triggers BADS assessment, a question asked of the Minister through the development of BADS.

It is important to note that where an overlay prescribes greater setbacks than BADS, the overlay takes precedent.

These changes have been incorporated into the planning system today. To read the Gazetted documents please click here 

The State Government has indicated a practice note will be made to provide guidance to interpret the objectives and standards of BADS.

ratio: now provide Urban Design services which can assist in apartment design and application in addition to our town planning services.

If you have any questions regarding BADS and how they might affect you, please do not hesitate to contact ratio: on 03 9429 3111 or via e-mail.

Colleen Peterson (Managing Director)

David Crowder (Director - Planning)

Sam D'Amico (Director - Planning)

William Bromhead (Director - Planning)

Robbie McKenzie (Senior Associate - Planning) 

Travis Finlayson (Senior Associate - Planning)

Simon Martin (Associate - Planning)

Alice Maloney (Associate - Planning)

Blanche Manuel (Associate - Planning)

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