23/07/2008 - 22:00

Apartment design guidelines to be overhauled

23/07/2008 - 22:00

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Design guidelines for high-density housing in Western Australia are in the process of being overhauled by the state government, with a new residential design code in the pipeline and a review of the R-codes scheme due to commence.

Apartment design guidelines to be overhauled

Design guidelines for high-density housing in Western Australia are in the process of being overhauled by the state government, with a new residential design code in the pipeline and a review of the R-codes scheme due to commence.

The Department for Planning and Infrastructure has advertised for a consultant to draft a new design code, which would govern all multi-unit housing developments including group dwellings, units and apartments.

It follows the introduction of a similar initiative by the New South Wales government.

Rather than focus on dwelling densities, the code will contain guidelines for built form - including floor space ratio, coverage, height, building separation and design.

According to the department, the current R-codes system has failed to deliver a high quality or diverse product in some areas, while several of the state's urban regeneration projects have used a form-based model.

Planning Institute of Australia WA president Mat Selby said he believed the code would be beneficial for residential design.

"I think anything that ultimately achieves a better result on the ground, and isn't locked into a formula-based approach, we'd be supportive of," Mr Selby told WA Business News.

However, Mr Selby said high-density design faced some resistance at the local government level, which could pose a challenge for adopting the code.

"I think the planning fraternity is well-equipped, but it's dealing with the political aspect of the issue that is difficult," he said.

The new code forms part of the government's Network City strategy, which emphasises the need for collaboration between local and state governments.

To this end, the WA Planning Commission is due to release its density targets for local government councils in the near future.

Applications for the DPI design code tender closed last month, with the final report scheduled to be presented to the WAPC in July next year.

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