Another week, another change to the Victorian Planning Provisions. On 13 April 2017, the Minister for Planning gazetted Amendment VC136 to the Victorian Planning Provisions. This amendment introduces a new clause 58 to all planning schemes for Apartment Developments, as well as makes changes to existing provisions to reflect the new assessment tool for apartments.

A snapshot of the changes is as follows:

  • Clause 55 will continue to apply to applications which propose the construction or extension of two or more dwellings on a lot under five storeys and residential buildings. A new clause 55.07 has also been introduced and applies to the assessment of apartment developments under five storeys.
  • Clause 58 is a new provision which applies to an application to construct or extend an apartment development of five or more storeys and any apartment development which is located in any of the following zones:
    • Commercial 1 Zone
    • Special Use Zone
    • Comprehensive Development Zone
    • Capital City Zone
    • Docklands Zone
    • Priority Development Zone
    • Activity Centre Zone
  • “Apartment” is defined at clause 72 as: a dwelling located above the ceiling level or below the floor level of another dwelling and is part of a building containing two or more dwellings.
  • Clause 52.35 – Urban Context Report and Design Response for Residential Development of Five or More Storeys has been deleted, and many of its requirements included in clause 58.01.
  • Transitional provisions have been included. These transitional provisions can be found in each zone and vary slightly for each zone. Broadly they provide:
    • Exemptions for applications lodged before the gazettal date of VC136.
    • Exemptions for amendments of a permit under section 72 of the Act, if the original permit was lodged before the gazettal of VC136.

Clause 55 – what has changed?

Previously, an application to construct two or more dwellings on a lot required an assessment against clause 55. Consequent upon Amendment VC136, there has been a change to what aspects of clause 55 apply to particular applications. VC136 has also introduced clause 55.07 (Apartment Developments) to clause 55.

Type of Application Applicable provisions
Applications to construct or extend a dwelling (i.e. not apartment) or residential building All of clause 55, save for clause 55.07-1 to clause 55.07-15 (Apartment Developments).
To construct or extent an apartment building (less than 5 storeys) or construct or extend a dwelling forming part of an apartment development All of clause 55, save for: Clause 55.03-5-clause 55.03-6 (Permeability and Energy Efficiency) Clause 55.04-8 (Noise Impacts) Clause 55.05-1 (Accessibility) Clause 55.05-2 (Dwelling Entry) Clause 55.05-6 (Storage)

Clause 58 – the new provision

To date there has been much discussion about what aspects of the guidelines are in – and what aspects are out. Early publications released by department as part of its consultation contemplated the inclusion of minimum standards relating to separation between buildings, light courts and apartment sizes themselves. Not dissimilar to Rescode, the clause 58 Apartment Developments consists of a series of objectives, standards and decision guidelines. Developments must met the objective and should meet the standard. Clause 58 has included provisions which deal with matters such as:

  • Communal Open Space.
  • Landscaping.
  • Minimum room sizes, depths, private open space, storage and accessibility requirements.

These standards specify requirements such as:

Standard D6 – Energy Efficiency specifies that developments should not exceed maximum NatHERS annual cooling loads.

Standard D7 – Communal open space specifies that Developments with 40 or more dwellings should provide a minimum area of communal open space of 2.5 square metres per dwelling or 250 square metres, whichever is lesser. Standard D8 also specifies minimum sunlight requirements for communal open space.

Standard D10 – Landscaping specifies minimum deep soil and canopy tree requirements:

Site area Deep soil areas Minimum tree provision
750-1000sqm 5% of site area (minimum dimension of 3 metres) 1 small tree (6-8 metres) per 30 square metres of deep soil
1001 - 1500 square metres 7.5% of site area (minimum dimension of 3 metres) 1 medium tree (8-12 metres) per 50 square metres of deep soil or 1 large tree per 90 square metres of deep soil
1501 - 2500 square metres 10% of site area (minimum dimension of 6 metres) 1 large tree (at least 12 metres) per 90 square metres of deep soil or 2 medium trees per 90 square metres of deep soil
>2500 square metres 15% of site area (minimum dimension of 6 metres) 1 large tree (at least 12 metres) per 90 square metres of deep soil or 2 medium trees per 90 square metres of deep soil

Standard D24 – Functional layout specifies minimum room dimensions:

Bedroom type Minimum width Minimum depth
Main bedroom 3 metres 3.4 metres
All other bedrooms 3 metres 3 metres
Dwelling type Minimum width Minimum area
Studio and 1 bedroom dwelling 3.3 metres 10 sqm
2 or more bedroom dwelling 3.6 metres 12 sqm

Standard D25 – Room depth. More particularly this standard states:

  • Single aspect habitable rooms should not exceed a room depth of 2.5 times the ceiling height. The depth of a single aspect, open plan, habitable room may be increased to 9 metres if all the following requirements are met:
    • The room combines the living area, dining area and kitchen.
    • The kitchen is located furthest from the window.
    • The ceiling height is at least 2.7 metres measured from finished floor level to finished ceiling level.

This excludes where services are provided above the kitchen. The room depth should be measured from the external surface of the habitable room window to the rear wall of the room.

The above is only a snapshot of the changes that have occurred. If you have any questions regarding Amendment VC136 or the changes it introduces please do not hesitate to speak to any member of our Planning Team.