• Design WA guidelines to raise the bar for apartment buildings

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    The WA Government has released the first stage of Design WA, a set of guidelines for developers and local government to follow aimed at ensuring apartments are built to a higher standard.

    Stage one of Design WA focuses on design for the built environment (State Planning Policy 7.0), new residential design codes for apartments (State Planning Policy 7.3 Volume 2), and a design review guide.

    Planning Minister Rita Saffioti said Design WA would address community concerns around higher density developments and infill throughout Perth.

    "By raising the bar for the quality of developments around Perth, I believe we will see a wider acceptance of apartment living and infill developments which improve neighbourhoods when done well.

    "Good design is not just about appearance, taste and style - it improves the urban environment, benefits local communities and leaves a positive legacy for future generations.

    "This policy is about learning from some of the mistakes from the past and moving forward to create more sustainable, vibrant, attractive and healthy neighbourhoods - a key component of METRONET,” Ms Saffioti said.

    Design WA’s objectives for what future developments should consider include:
    • Appropriate scale to respect the local character and context;
    • Minimum apartment sizes based on floor space and number of rooms;
    • Safe, healthy environments with good natural light and ventilation;
    • Development that creates walkable neighbourhoods with high amenity;
    • Green space such as shady trees for outdoor spaces and mature tree retention; and
    • Development that enhances local neighbourhoods.

    Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister for Planning, John Carey, said Design WA is about ensuring density is done well.

    "The reforms are about creating more liveable apartment buildings for those choosing to reside in density - and ensuring better designed buildings for the communities where they are built.

    "It also critically sets new benchmarks across local government. While some local governments have led the way with their excellent apartment design rules, others have had significant gaps in their local planning policies - and as a result, some local governments have delivered poor apartment building outcomes in their communities.

    "Design WA has resolved this challenge by ensuring consistent design benchmarks for developments in all local governments. This is welcome news also for developers by ensuring a more consistent approach across the sector,” Mr Carey said.

    Stage one of Design WA will come into effect on 24 May 2019. Stage two and three are underway and will focus on precinct design and medium density. 

    For more information about Design WA, visit www.dplh.wa.gov.au/designwa.