The State Government's policy to provide alternative housing
options has resulted in significant changes coming into effect, as
of 2 August 2013, regarding the R Codes and Ancillary
A New Objective and Definition
Firstly, the objective has changed: previously, the R Codes
referred to only one stated objective which applied generally to
all special purpose dwellings, including aged or dependant
Now there is a specific objective, aimed at ancillary dwellings
"to provide ancillary accommodation which is independent
or semi independent to residents of the single
Secondly, the definition is different: it is no longer referred
to as ancillary accommodation. It is now an ancillary
dwelling, defined as "a self contained dwelling
on the same lot as a single house which may be attached to,
integrated with or detached from the single house."
Methods of Assessment
Previously, the R Codes referred to "Acceptable
Development" provisions. These were objective criteria
upon which development applications were measured. The term has now
been replaced with "Deemed to Comply"provisions.
Essentially they function, and are applied, in much the same
The old alternative to Acceptable Development assessment was
known as "Performance Criteria" which were
subjective criteria requiring decision-makers to exercise judgment
based on the individual characteristics of any given application.
This expression has now gone and is replaced with the expression
"Design Principles". Again, they function and
are applied in much the same way.
Acceptable Development (old) v Deemed to Comply provisions
The previous requirement that the occupant or occupants be
members of the family from the main dwelling has been removed.
The maximum "plot ratio area" has also increased from
60 square metres to 70 square metres.
Previously, one (1) additional car space was required. This has
now changed to allow either one additional car space or no extra
car spaces if the ancillary dwelling is within 800 metres of a
train station on a high frequency rail route measured in a
straight line from the pedestrian entry to the train station
platform to any part of a lot or 250 metres of a
high frequency bus route measured in a straight line from
along any part of the route to any part of the lot.
Under the old R Codes, Table 1 "Open Space
Requirements" needed to be met. Now the Ancillary Dwelling
must comply with all other R Code provisions as they would apply to
single houses but with the exception of:
site area requirements
street surveillance requirements
outdoor living areas
Performance Criteria (old) v Design Principles (new)
The Design Principles are contained in one sentence as
"Ancillary dwellings for people who live either
independently or semi independently to the residents of the
single house sharing some site
facilities and services and without compromising the amenity of
The driving force behind these changes comes from the State
Government's need to provide more accommodation and more
housing flexibility in the coming years to help cope with
Perth's growing population.
Principally, these changes will allow larger single residential
lots to be further developed where they cannot otherwise be
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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