New Standards to Improve Apartment Development Design

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.


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


To address this gap, the state government release 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.


After a draft of the new standards and period of public consultation, the final Design Standards was introduced in December 2016. 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 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 is good news for both owner occupiers and tenants, and comes as new data from the Victorian Building Authority shows that apartment building permits in the 2015-2016 financial year exceeded $31 billion for the first time.


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