Melbourne has been a popular choice for apartment developer in recent years, but they may soon have to reconsider future projects as the Victorian government takes the next step in updating minimum design standards.
The Victorian government started the process of updating minimum design standards for apartments in May 2015 and this week released its proposed new standards for public consultation.
The proposed minimum standards are aimed at improving the quality and liveability of apartments in the state and were partly developed in response to the number of sub-standard apartments that have sprung up in Melbourne in recent years.
“Twenty years ago, apartments represented just 5% of all new dwellings constructed in Victoria.
Today they account for more than 33,” Victorian Minister for Planning Richard Wynne
“We are plugging a hole in the planning rules which allowed dog boxes to be built because we want future apartments to be constructed for long-term living,” Wynne said.
Perhaps the most major change included in the proposal is that all bedrooms, kitchens, living rooms, dining rooms and studies must have windows that are visible from all points of the room.
All new apartments would also be required to feature six to 10 cubic metres of additional storage space, while the minimum roof height has been raised to 2.7 metres.
The new standards are also aimed at increasing cross-ventilation in apartment towers and improving noise minimisation measures.
“Victoria needs liveable, affordable housing options to support our growing population, we’re pushing for new homes which are well-designed and accommodate different household types,” Wynne said.
Many had expected the Victoria to follow the path set the by their New South Wales counterparts and introduce minimum sizes for apartments, but in a statement the Victorian government said they had decided against minimum sizes in an attempt to “promote design innovation and encourage developers to provide a mix of apartment styles in developments.”
That decision has been criticised by the Victorian chapter of the Australian Institute of Architects, who has said minimum sizes are in the public interest.
“We welcome the latest version of the Better Apartments Draft Design Standards and some of the liveability initiatives contained within it, but we don’t believe they go far enough to protect the public interest,” chapter president Sue Bird said.
“We are disappointed that no guidelines or recommendations have been included in relation to apartment sizes,” Bird said.
“It’s clear that change is required. Minimum sizes protect the public from the worst of the worst while the design review process enables innovation and flexibility.”