Potential Changes to the Residential Design Codes

In October 2016 the Department of Planning released ‘Volume 2 of State Planning Policy No. 3.7 - Residential Design Codes - Guidance for Multiple-Dwelling and Mixed-Use Developments’ (Apartment Design Policy) for public comment.

This document relates to expected minimum standards for apartment design and is part of the ‘Design WA’ suite of documents, an initiative by the State Government to try to improve development standards.  The Apartment Design Policy itself focuses on design guidance for apartments and mixed-use developments, with the policy’s intention being to replace Part 6 of the current Residential Design Codes (R-Codes).

From a developer prospective, the Apartment Design Policy includes important changes to plot ratio and heights in each R-Coding, with set maximums for the discretion to vary plot ratio and height when certain defined criteria are not.  The present form of the R-Codes do not adequately provide guidance on what ‘bonuses’ or caps to discretion are appropriate, whereas the Apartment Design Policy provides provisions for ‘incentive’-based’ development standards, where flexibility can be applied to primary controls if certain planning criteria are met – those scenarios include exemplary design outcomes when assessed against the policy’s design principles, or in circumstances that the proposed development will not significantly impact on the amenity of the surrounding area.

Comments can be made on the Apartment Design Policy and other aspects of Design WA before 5pm on Tuesday 20 December 2016. This can be done either through an online feedback form or in writing to the Western Australian Planning Commission, Attention: Design WA, 140 William Street, PERTH WA 6000.

If you have any questions on the potential changes to the R-Codes and how they may affect your development, please contact Craig Wallace on (08) 9288 6828.

Disclaimer – the information contained in this publication does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. You should seek legal advice in relation to any particular matter you may have before relying or acting on this information. The Lavan team are here to assist.