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PPG_Blog_Oct_image 1_new standards for apartment developments

With Melbourne’s population predicted to increase from 4.6 million today to 8 million by 2051, pressure is mounting on the world’s most liveable city to accommodate increased demand for housing.

According to the Victoria State Government, “Apartments provide our growing population with affordable and diverse housing options, and the high number of apartment buildings being constructed, indicates that they are a popular alternative to conventional detached houses in terms of cost and lifestyle.”

However, the state government says Victoria has little design guidance in place when it comes to development of apartment blocks, especially when compared to other Australian states and jurisdictions.

To address this gap, the state government release the Better Apartments – A Discussion Paper to start a statewide consultation with the community, local government and industry about internal apartment amenity and potential future design standards.

Nearly 1700 survey responses and about 150 submissions were received on the discussion paper. Community survey participants ranked the key issues affecting apartment amenity by most to least important – identifying daylight, space, natural ventilation and noise as the top issues.

A summary of the outcomes of the public consultation was released at the end of 2015 and this has now led to the latest publication – a draft of the government’s proposed apartment standards – Better Apartments – Draft Design Standards. There was further public consultation from August to September this year and the final Design Standards will be introduced in Victoria in December this year.

According to the state government, The Better Apartments draft design standards will address a popular concern that many apartment developments are just “dog boxes”. They will ensure:

  1. New apartments are well-designed
  2. The needs of a range of households (including the elderly, people with disabilities, and families with children) are met
  3. There is greater transparency and consultancy for both the community and development industry
  4. The effects of climate change are mitigated and environmental impacts are minimised
  5. Melbourne’s identity, productivity, liveability and attractiveness as a place to live, work, visit and invest in is maintained and enhanced.

The proposed introduction of these standards comes as new data from the Victorian Building Authority shows that building permits in the 2015-2016 financial year exceeded $31 billion for the first time.

Apartment building approvals in Victoria rose by 23.7% and house building approvals were up by 12.5%.

To find out more about the new apartment design standards, please visit the Victorian state government website.

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