planning rules in NSW have freed up design options for multi
residential units in NSW to help improve housing affordability and
In the Sydney area 6 local councils (Waverley, The Hills, Botany
Bay, Rockdale, Campbelltown and Strathfield) retained and preferred
their own particular rules about the minimum size of apartments in
multi residential developments. As a result it wasn't unusual
to find apartment buildings located over the road from each other
(but in different Local Council zones) having to comply with
different design parameters.
From 19 June 2015 all local government councils were required to
apply the new planning rules to development applications. And these
guidelines set a new recommended size for internal areas of units.
For example, if you wanted to build a unit block in the Botany Bay
area then, under Council's rules, its preferred minimum size of
a studio was 60 m2. Today, under the new planning regime, the
recommended size for a studio in Botany Bay area is 35m2
– that's a reduction in the minimum size by 42%.
To help developers and designers with development approval
process the State government prepared an
Apartment Design Guide (ADG) that outlines the requirements for
new unit developments.
For DA's lodged after 19 June 2015 the recommended internal
size of residential units in NSW are:
We compared the recommended size requirements in the new guide
against the size limits in 6 Councils which have retained local
apartment size controls to find out which of these would feel the
greatest impact from these changes.
Developments in Botany Bay will see the greatest impact with the
limit for apartment sizes, on average, reduced by more than one
The biggest changes in recommended apartment size limits are for
development in The Hills where less than 30 units are proposed (1
and 3-bedroom units reduced by 33%, 2-bedroom units reduced by
36%)and in Botany Bay Council (for example, studio apartments
reduced by 42% to 35m2).
The only increase in minimum size among these councils is for
development of some 4 bedroom apartments in The Hills Council and
in Waverley Council. Under the new rules the internal area of these
apartments now needs to be bigger by 7m2 and
OLD = Old Rule (minimum size m2)
NEW = Change in minimum size allowable from
The Hills (< 30 units)
The Hills (> 30 units)
ADG REPLACES RFDC
Previously the Residential Flat Design Code, now repealed,
applied its own set of recommended sizes outlined in the table
above. The ADG has still reduced significantly those sizes creating
greater disparity between the State guidelines and Local Council
DEVELOPERS ALREADY TAKING ADVANTAGE OF CHANGES
The new controls apply to development applications lodged after
19 June 2015 and Developers are already utilising the less
restrictive recommended apartment sizes.
For example, several developments for residential flat buildings
lodged with The Hills Shire Council contain apartment sizes that
prior to the commencement of the ADG would have been in breach of
the council's controls and the RFDC. These include Wakefield
Ashurst Developments' 224 unit proposal at 5 Withers Road,
Kellyville; and the proposed 21 unit residential flat building at
11B Boundary Road, Carlingford. Council must not refuse an
application because of internal area size where the internal area
is larger than that recommended in new guidelines.
Clearly the new guidelines provide additional certainty for
developers in relation to apartment sizes that would not have
existed under the old codes or in council areas that maintained
their own apartment size control.
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.
To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.
Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.
Warranties can be risk-shifting mechanisms when the party giving the warranty is not the party at fault for the defect.
Some comments from our readers… “The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable” “I often find critical information not available elsewhere” “As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).