The NSW Government is using codification to encourage housing supply in Sydney. The codification is designed to override local housing design, volume and location controls, where these are perceived to obstruct higher residential density. The codification replaces local design rules with statewide standards, and merit assessment by council with approval by accredited third parties.

Codification began in earnest in 2008 with the introduction of State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt & Complying Development) 2008 which related to single dwellings only. The following year, State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) 2009 introduced a code for secondary dwellings. In late 2015, the NSW Government proposed expanding codification to low rise medium density development of up to ten dwellings. At the time of writing this policy proposal is still under consideration.

The vast majority of debate on housing codification in Sydney has been concerned with design outcomes and local amenity. But what does codification mean for the volume and location of housing in Sydney? How many extra dwellings could be realised through the codes and where could they be located? Are the current and proposed policy settings likely to help the NSW Government meet its housing targets? Do those settings reflect the residential densities intended by land use zoning?

This project begins with a review of the literature on discretionary planning, urban consolidation and housing supply and demand in Sydney. The objectives of the current housing codes are derived from the many government reviews and policy initiatives in this area since 2000. The project then explores the outcomes from codification for secondary dwellings in Sydney since the introduction of the codes, especially the surge in secondary dwellings and private certification. Finally, the housing volume and location outcomes possible under current and proposed rules for minimum lot size, zoning and environmental exclusions are modelled across Sydney, if no additional zoning, permissibility or exemption criteria were imposed via a new codification policy. 

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