April 12, 2021

Updates to the Better Apartment Design Standards

To facilitate our ever-growing urban centres, the increasing demand for apartment living and the need for healthy liveable urban places, the new state planning Better Apartments Design Standards released in February by DELWP focuses improvements on the external amenity of apartment buildings and their surrounding neighbourhoods.

The new standards address four key policy aims:

  • Provision of communal green space and improved landscaping;
  • Use of high-quality building facades;
  • Protection of streets from wind impacts; and
  • Creation of attractive and engaging street frontages.

Changes to the existing Green Space standard will see more apartments providing green space and the prioritisation of tree provision such as canopy cover in proportion to site, as well as soil requirements for all sites.

Revised Street Interface standards seek to create activated and engaging street frontages that prioritise pedestrians and cyclists. Increased consideration for car park entries and the concealment of services is required.

Two new standards have been introduced:

External walls & materials requires good quality external materials, and a more consistent approach to Wind Impacts aims to deliver a safer and more pleasant experience within the public realm.

Along with the updated standards, the 2021 Apartment Design Guidelines [for Victoria] details specific siting and building arrangement design responses that incorporate setbacks, open spaces, building and solar access, entry and circulation guidance.

There is an initial period of transition until the standards are implemented into the Planning Scheme later in 2021.

Image source: Better Apartments – Industry and Council Fact Sheet, The State of Victoria Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning 2021