After more than a decade, on 17 July 2015 the NSW Department of Planning and Environment issued amendments to the State Environmental Planning Policy No.65 – Design Quality of Residential Apartment Development (SEPP 65). Amongst the most considerable changes was the overhauling of the old Residential Flat Design Code. The old code has been superseded by the new Apartment Design Guideline to meet the unprecedented growth of medium density housing developments across the state.

The new Apartment Design Guideline explains how the new SEPP 65 design principles are applied to the design of new apartments. This guide includes new objectives, design criteria and design guidance which prevails over local councils’ DCPs (for the areas covered). Of particular note is Section 4Q – Universal Design, which makes a distinction between Universal design and Adaptable Housing (AS4299:1995) and includes:

  • Objective 4Q-1: Universal design features are included in apartment design to promote flexible housing for all community members.

Design Guidance: Developments achieve a benchmark of 20% of the total apartments incorporating the LHA’s Livable Housing Guideline 2015’s Silver Level universal design features.

  • Objective 4Q-2: A variety of apartments with adaptable designs are provided.

Design Guidance: Adaptable housing should be provided in accordance with the relevant council policy.

Clarification should be sought from project planner on the approach to be adopted in light of these recent changes and MGAC be advised accordingly.

Posted by David Choe