New rules to enforce better apartment quality and open space

apartment balconies stock image

Minimum apartment sizes, increased tree retention and new natural light requirements form part of new guidelines to ensure future infill and apartment developments are built to higher design standards.

WA Planning Minister Rita Saffioti released the first stage of Design WA – a set of guidelines for developers and local governments to follow, so good design is at the heart of all new community developments.

The new rules address developments that have previously resulted in poor outcomes for streetscapes, cramped interiors and a lack of green space.

Design WA includes clearly defined objectives about what future developments should consider, and includes it in the revised Residential Design Codes. Objectives include:

  • Appropriate scale to respect the local character and context;
  • Minimum apartment sizes based on floor space and number of rooms;
  • Safe, healthy environments with good natural light and ventilation;
  • Development that creates walkable neighbourhoods with high amenity;
  • Green space such as shady trees for outdoor spaces and mature tree retention; and
  • Development that enhances local neighbourhoods.

Stage one of Design WA focuses on design for the built environment (State Planning Policy 7.0), new residential design codes for apartments (State Planning Policy 7.3 Volume 2), and a design review guide.

The policies will come into effect on May 24, 2019 to ensure a smooth transition for local governments and built environment professionals including architects, developers, planners and urban designers.

The policies apply to all levels of planning and development, from large-scale structure planning and major public works to development applications and subdivision considerations.

Stages two and three of Design WA will focus on precinct planning and medium density development respectively.

Source: WA Government