Spring Street releases long-awaited draft apartment design standards

Spring Street releases long-awaited draft apartment design standards
Alastair TaylorAugust 14, 2016

Planning Minister Richard Wynne has released the long-awaited Better Apartments draft design standards and with its release, the final round of public consultation has kicked off ahead of a scheduled December 2016 introduction timeframe.

The draft design standards set out "to address the specific apartment design and amenity issues raised through public consultation". They are broken down as follows:

  • Building setback
  • Light wells
  • Room depth
  • Windows
  • Storage
  • Noise impacts
  • Energy efficiency
  • Solar access to communal open space
  • Natural ventilation
  • Private open space
  • Communal open space
  • Landscaping
  • Accessibility
  • Dwelling entry and internal circulation
  • Waste
  • Water management

At a media conference held in a 1 bedroom, 48 square metre apartment in Lendlease's 888 Collins Street, the Minister was keen to emphasise the draft design standards are intended to focus on enabling good design.

The key areas that the community told us that need to be changed were to ensure that you actually get natural light into the building, that you get decent ventialiation into the building that you have sound attenuation in the building and that you have storage in the building as well.

And if you look at say, the apartment we're in now, a Lendlease apartment, you'll see that it doesn't have a minimum size like Sydney - which has 50 sqm for a 1 bedroom mandated - this is actually a 48 square metre apartment which I think achieves and in fact improves upon the standards that we are putting in place.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne

For the record, here's a floorplan of the apartment the media conference was held in.

Spring Street releases long-awaited draft apartment design standards
888 Collins Street, 1 bedroom: 48sqm internal, 6sqm external. Source: REA Group

When pressed about minimum apartment size standards, the Minister ruled them out.

We will not be mandating minumum sizes because we want to ensure that good design is a part of the solution to ensure that we get quality developments. This is about offering flexibility, and the opportunity for developers to respond to the guidelines that we are putting in place.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne

Another question from the media pack: "What's going to stop developers from going even smaller?"

The opportunity for is obviously there, but the market will drive these outcomes. When we came to government and I came to this ministry, many of the applications that were coming before me were in fact for 1 bedroom apartments, but the market has entirely shifted.

We've now got 1, 2, 3 and indeed 4 bedroom apartments and this of course is reflected in the fact now that the government is going to have to look [to build] a school in Docklands, because families are now taking up the opportunity of apartment-style living.

Planning Minister Richard Wynne

See the Better Apartments overview and Better Apartments Draft Design Standards on DELWP's website. The deadline for submissions is 5pm, September 19, 2016.

As always, Urban.com.au is also interested in community and industry comment. Use the comment section below or email the editors: editor@urban.Melbourne

Alastair Taylor

Alastair Taylor is a co-founder of Urban.com.au. Now a freelance writer, Alastair focuses on the intersection of public transport, public policy and related impacts on medium and high-density development.

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