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Better apartments for a better future?

Posted by Chloe Davidson on Oct 4, 2017 5:16:15 PM

The Victorian Government’s newest standards will influence apartment design for years to come.


The Government of Victoria formally introduced its Better Apartment Design Standards (BADS) in April 2017, providing the industry with anticipated policy guidelines that will influence the design and development of apartments throughout Victoria for years to come.

The BADS outline key areas for architects and developers to consider in an apartment’s design, including energy efficiency, daylight access, privacy, noise impact, and waste and water management, among other things.

The Standards were developed in order to improve the liveability and sustainability of apartments across Victoria, and were created in consultation with architects, planning and design specialists, the development industry, community members and councils.

If hypothetically applied to apartments built over the past six years, some estimates say the vast majority would fail to meet the Standards, suggesting that the scale of change involved in implementing BADS will be significant.

Combine that with the boom in apartment living – apartments now account for 33 percent of new residences under construction, compared with just five percent two decades ago – and it’s clear the BADS will change the face of housing in the state.

In doing so, there will be costs involved, of course, and the Urban Development Institute of Australia has pointed out the Standards could constrain innovation and limit the number of developable sites.

On the other hand, according to the Victorian chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects, the Standards don’t go far enough in addressing design excellence because they do not mandate the use of an architect or a design review process, which the Institute believes are critical for creating sustainable, enduring buildings.

But Victoria’s Minister for Planning Richard Wynne is confident the new standards provide clear rules for apartment liveability while allowing for innovation and design excellence. “They will enhance Victoria’s reputation as a great place to live and leave a legacy for all those who contributed to the new standards by ensuring apartment developments built today meet the long-term needs of Victorians,” he says.

The implementation of these standards is a step forward in ensuring that the homes of Victorians are liveable and led by quality design, now and into the future.

Chloe Davidson

By: Chloe Davidson

Topics: Capital Property Marketing,, Design