Western Australia

Draft apartment design policy released by WA Government

NATURAL light, ventilation and green spaces are key aspects of the draft apartment design policy which will help guide construction of well-designed apartments in Western Australia, the State Government has announced.

Planning Minister Donna Faragher last week released the draft policy, which is now out for public comment, as part of Design WA, an initiative to elevate the role of design in delivering quality places and spaces.

Design WA - Draft State Planning Policy 7 - Design of the Built Environment

"As we adapt to living in areas of greater density, good design will have a positive influence on our suburbs, making our buildings more liveable, sustainable and efficient," Ms Faragher said.

"The draft policy for apartment design goes further than the appearance of a building; it guides how internal spaces function which is essential when designing sustainable, liveable homes.

"The correct orientation of a building and the placement of windows not only have health benefits, they also have the potential to reduce the cost of heating, cooling and lighting. Good design can also help protect the value of apartments into the future.

"Through Design WA, we are proposing changes that will offer greater flexibility for developments to respond to local neighbourhoods and to innovate. They will also provide a consistent benchmark for local government and help remove local design policies that are no longer needed."

About 380,000 of the new homes needed to accommodate a population of 3.5 million by 2050 will be delivered through appropriate infill, particularly near activity centres and public transport.

The Minister said demographics in WA were changing and people were thinking about the benefits of apartment living as an alternative housing option.

"While there are some very good examples of well-designed apartments, there are some trends in the market that are not ideal," she said.

"What we build now will be with us for many years, so we must get it right. I encourage everyone to have their say on this very important discussion."

Ms Faragher said design review at the local government level was critical to properly apply the new apartment policy, and a draft Design Review Guide had also been released.

"More than half of metropolitan local governments have panels or are establishing one, with many providing valuable local expertise to planning staff and proponents," she said.

"The wider introduction will ensure expert advice is provided early in the development process."

More information is available from the Department of Planning website at <http://www.planning.wa.gov.au/DesignWA>.

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