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New apartment design standards for Victoria

19 December 2016

The Victorian State Government has released the final version of its long awaited Better Apartments Design Standards – new apartment design standards for Victoria.

Application of the new standards

The new design standards will apply to all apartment buildings in Victoria.

Apartment buildings up to four storeys in a residential zone will continue to be assessed against the existing Clause 55 standards as well as the new design standards.

The new standards comprise a set of Objectives, Standards and Decision guidelines addressing a range of internal amenity and sustainability considerations.

Importantly, the new design standards are performance based and will be applied in the same manner as the existing Clause 55 standards ie. whilst meeting the objectives is mandatory, alternative design solutions to the standards can be considered if, having regard to the decision guidelines, the objectives are still met.

What are the key changes?

The final design standards have been simplified in their drafting and in some respects watered down from the previous draft design standards, including the version released in August 2016.  Most notably:

The new design standards also address noise impacts, accessibility, landscaping and sustainability issues largely in the same manner previously foreshadowed in the drafts standards.

Implementation of the new standards

The new standards will not be implemented into the Victoria Planning Provisions until March 2017, but as with the previous drafts, they are nevertheless likely to (informally) receive attention in the assessment of permit applications until then.

Importantly, transitional arrangements will be included in the new provisions which will ensure that permit applications lodged prior to the introduction of the new standards will be assessed under the existing provisions.

Any questions?

We have experience in advising and acting for developers on apartment project approvals across Melbourne so please contact us on 9853 5000 if you have any questions.

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