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The Victorian and NSW governments have announced new standards for apartment buildings, as both look to create greener buildings for residents.
The Victorian government said it will fulfil a key election promise announcing an increase in green spaces while eliminating balconies for apartments above 40 metres.
Minister for Planning Richard Wynne has announced new planning rules to make sure new apartment designs are attractive, built from durable materials and don’t exacerbate windy conditions for the street and public spaces.
As part of the new standards, the government is also looking to eliminate underused, windswept balconies on buildings taller than 40 metres, instead creating more usable spaces inside apartments like winter gardens.
“People are spending more time in their homes and are using their apartments as places of work. Having green space and communal areas is vital to the physical and mental health and wellbeing of apartment residents,” Mr Wynne said.
Under the new standard, developments with more than 10 dwellings will have to provide communal space and buildings with 40 or more dwellings should provide a minimum of 2.5 square metres of communal open space per dwelling, or at least 250 square metres for a building of 100 apartments or more.
Developments should also provide “adequate private open space for the reasonable recreation and service needs of residents”.
“As Victoria continues to grow, these standards will be crucial to ensure that our suburbs, towns and urban areas have high-density living that is designed well, with liveability and wellbeing at the heart of its design,” Mr Wynne said.
Another change is that apartment buildings of more than five storeys will need to consider wind impacts to avoid wind tunnelling and to ensure comfortable wind conditions in public areas.
Meanwhile, the NSW government’s newly proposed Design and Place State Environmental Planning Policy (SEPP) said the NSW government will create more beautiful buildings, better public spaces and greener suburbs.
Minister for Planning and Public Spaces Rob Stokes said the proposal represents a rare opportunity to reshape the look and feel of precincts around the state.
“The proposed policy helps shift our thinking away from only designing beautiful buildings to designing beautiful neighbourhoods,” he says.
“Under the proposal, new developments will now have to show how they respond and contribute to the surrounding area. We want to create places that have beauty and character, that are green, liveable and bring people together with access to open space and active transport connections.”
Mr Stokes said this new policy will benefit both the general as well as developers themselves.
“This policy will allow for innovation and creativity by giving designers and planners the ability to think outside the box so that good design isn’t stifled by prescriptive one-size-fits-all regulations.
“It will also set expectations for developers early on, providing more consistency, clarity and certainty, which will help speed up the planning processes for good development.”
The Department of Planning, Industry and Environment engaged with industry peak bodies on the development of the policy from July to October 2020, and further collaboration across government and with councils, industry and community stakeholders is currently underway.