Effective apartment design standards are fundamental in ensuring that apartments are liveable and meet the standards of all residents. With a growing proportion of Victorians choosing to live in apartments, it is critical that apartment design standards improve the liveability and amenity of apartments and apartment developments. Victoria is projected to reach a population of 11.2 million by 2056 with an average increase of 1.5% annually. Meanwhile, Greater Melbourne is projected to grow by approximately 4 million and Victoria’s regions are expected to grow by just over 700,000 in the same period.

While this report acknowledges that not enough time has passed to fully assess the impact of the Better Apartments Design Standards, an early insight shows they may have contributed to improved design across Victoria. Notwithstanding, given the current pipeline of residential development in Victoria, it is important that early assessments are made to improve outcomes in the future.

Key recommendations:

  • the provision of a minimum size for new apartments in Victoria
  • a clear and quantifiable definition of adequate daylight in apartments and guidance to maximise sunlight access
  • increased guidance around improved communal spaces in apartment developments
  • an investigation into ways to improve ventilation in apartments and apartment developments
  • consideration of the development of a state‑wide framework for design review panels
  • incorporating sustainability into the development and design aspects of Victoria’s apartment planning system
  • establishment of a state‑wide approach to environmentally sustainable design
  • expanding design guidelines to include a broader definition of accessibility.
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