Since our last newsletter in September, the State Government has reviewed and revised the Better Apartment Design Standards and released the finalised standards that will be incorporated in March 2017.

The standards still address the same issues as the draft version (such as building setbacks, room depths, solar access) however we have identified several notable changes which are outlined below:

  • The standards now apply to all apartment developments, not just developments of at least five storeys.
  • Building setbacks
    In the draft version of the standards, there were minimum setback distances that had to be met from both property boundaries and other buildings on a development site. This has now been reduced to simply seek that building setbacks are ‘appropriate’ for the context of the site and will not unreasonably impact the ability of adjoining properties to receive solar access or enjoy the existing levels of amenity they have.
  • Minimum room dimensions
    All apartments are now required to provide minimum sizes for bedrooms, living rooms and balconies. This is designed to ensure an appropriate level of internal amenity that is commensurate to the likely number of people who will occupy the apartment.
  • Habitable room windows
    The draft standards proposed that all habitable rooms have direct access to an external window with saddleback arrangements being considered to not meeting the standard. This has been modified so that bedrooms can now receive light from a ‘snorkel’ arrangement that was previously not allowed.
  • Light wells
    The draft standards proposed minimum dimensions and areas for light wells to maximise the amount of sunlight into an apartment. These requirements for light wells have been removed from the standards.

We believe that the final standards are more realistic and achievable. They provide greater flexibility to achieve the standards and will improve the quality of living for residents within apartments which is a positive outcome.

For any further information on the Better Apartment guidelines, please call Keen planning on 9596 9000.

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