Is it better or worse for developer with the new Apartment Design Guide?

The new Apartment Design Guide (ADG) and the revised SEPP 65 were officially launched on 17 July, 2015. Review of these planning guides is long overdue since the release of the original SEPP 65 and Residential Flat Design Code (RFDC) 13 years ago in 2002. The new guide is aimed to provide more clarity to both council and architects as well as developers with updated design quality principles to respond to contemporary issues . It also strengthen the requirements around design review panels to ensure quality development is proposed and built.

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One of the key measures with this new guide is to add car parking to the non discretionary development standards. This means that there are now 3 matters covered by clause 30A of SEPP 65, where council has no ground to refuse an application if it meets the minimum requirements of CEILING HEIGHT, APARTMENT SIZE and CARPARKING.

Other Key changes to SEPP 65 including

  • SEPP 65 now applies to shop top housing and mixed use developments for new built as well as major renovation projects
  • Council’s DCP does not have effect in the following aspects of residential unit proposal. The minimum requirement set in Apartment Design Guide prevails
    • visual privacy
    • solar and daylight access
    • common circulation and spaces
    • apartment size and layout
    • ceiling heights
    • private open space and balconies
    • natural ventilation
    • storage
  • the ‘design quality principles’ have been rationalised and updated.  The new nine principles are as follows:
    • context and neighbourhood character
    • built form and scale
    • density
    • sustainability
    • landscape
    • amenity
    • safety
    • housing diversity and social interaction
    • aesthetics

It is quite clear that the new guide will minimize confusion when it comes to discrepancy with local council’s DCP by setting minimum standard for the whole state.

But how does this new clarity affect developer’s return in terms of MIN APARTMENT, BALCONY & STORAGE SIZES? Here are the numerical comparison:

Minimum internal apartment size
 Old SEPP 65 & RFDCNew SEPP 65 & ADG
Studio 38.5 m235 m2
1 bedroom (cross through) 50 m250 m2
     Single aspect63.4 m2
     Loft62 m2
   Affordable50 m2
2 bedroom (cross through)89 m270 m2
   Cross over90 m2
   Corner89 m2
   Affordable70 m2
3 bedroom 124 m290 m2
   Affordable95 m2
Minimum balcony size
 Old SEPP 65 & RFDCNew SEPP 65 & ADG
Studio 6 m24 m2
1 bedroom (cross through) 8 m28 m2 (2m min depth)
     Single aspect10 m2
     Loft9.4 m2
2 bedroom (cross through)21 m210 m2 (2m min depth)
   Cross over16 m2
   Corner11 m2
3 bedroom 24 m212 m2 (2.4m min depth)
Storage facility
 Old SEPP 65 & RFDCNew SEPP 65 & ADG
Studio 6 m34 m3
1 bedroom 6 m36 m3
2 bedroom 8 m38 m3
3 bedroom 10 m310 m3

Based on the above, the new SEPP 65 and ADG in fact has less requirement compares to the old version.

To view the new guide, click here.

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