How liveable is your investment?
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How liveable is your investment?

By Hannah Blackiston
How liveable is your investment?

The Victorian state government has released Better Apartments for Victorians — a set of standards aiming to improve on apartment liveability and sustainability. But one institute thinks they don’t go far enough.

“We are disappointed that this document is the best the government can deliver,” said Victorian chapter president of the Australian Institute of Architects, Vanessa Bird.

“While we welcome some of the liveability initiatives contained within the document, like room size, storage, noise, accessibility and natural ventilation, we don't believe they go far enough to protect the public interest,” said Ms Bird.

The standards will come into effect in March 2017 alongside an education and training program for council and private-sector planning, building and design practitioners and a design review process.

The standards cover many aspects of apartment building, including layout, windows and noise impacts, but Ms Bird doesn’t think it has gone anywhere near as far as it could towards making apartment dwelling more comfortable.

“Given the time and considerable expertise, advice and intelligence the industry has afforded government over two years in good faith. We had hoped for a more substantive outcome,” she said.

“These particular standards will not produce the change required to assist consumers and safeguard the long-term quality of the built environment, as it does not address design excellence, nor mandate design review for site specific responses. Nor does it seek to ensure that our communities are being designed by those best qualified to do so – architects,” said Ms Bird.

According to the Minister for Planning, Richard Wynne MP, the standards will “greatly improve the amenity and sustainability of apartments and enhance their liveability, for the benefit of future generations”.

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Hannah Blackiston

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