NEW Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code

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[ Approx. reading time: 3 minutes ]

Master Builders Association Industry News

On the 6 July 2018, the NSW Government’s fast track complying development process will be extended to include a new Code for low rise medium density housing.

The new Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code (the new Code) will allow one and two storey dual occupancies, manor houses and terraces to receive fast track approval where medium density development is already permitted under a council’s local environmental plan, and where the proposed development complies with the new Code and supporting Medium Density Design Guide.

Compliance with the new Code and the supporting Design Guidelines will mean that it will be possible to get approval for a development by either a council or an accredited certifier within twenty days

Housing types under the Code

The new Code allows for one and two storey medium density homes to fit into existing streetscapes and neighbourhoods. The housing types under the new Code are allocated to three types:

  1. Dual occupancies, described as two dwellings on the one lot, either attached (side by side or one above the other) or detached
  2. Manor houses, described as buildings with 3-4 dwellings on the one lot. Each dwelling is attached by a common wall or floor and at least one dwelling is partially located above another dwelling
  3. Multi-dwelling housing, in other words terraces are described as three or more dwellings on the one lot. Each dwelling fronts a public road and there are no 0ther dwellings located above or below.

Design guide

The new Code is supported by design criteria that is set out in the Low Rise Medium Density Design Guide. The Design Guide is integral under the new Code to ensure consistency and good design outcomes for medium density housing a complying development in NSW. The Design Guide addresses the key elements of layout, landscaping, private open space, light, natural ventilation and privacy.

An amendment has been made to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Regulation 2000 to provide ‘verification’ to ensure the design is consistent with the Design Code and the design has been prepared by a qualified or accredited designer.

Design Verification

The new Code includes the requirement for a Design Verification Statement. The Design Verification Statement must be prepared by a registered architect or building designer who is accredited with the Building Designers Association of Australia, and who will verify that they have either designed or directed the design of the development, and verify the design of the development is consistent with the design criteria contained in the Design Guide

Where will the new Code apply?

The new Code will be allowed where medium density development is already allowed under a councils Local Environmental Plan (LEP) and in R1, R2, R3 and RU5 zones.
Typically with existing exempt and complying development policy, development under the new Code will be excluded in:

  • State or locally listed heritage items and heritage and conservation areas
  • Land reserved for public use
  • Environmentally sensitive areas.

The new Code will require development to meet minimum lot size under the relevant council LEP:

  • for a dual occupancy, the minimum lot size must be consistent with the relevant council LEP. If the LEP does not specify a minimum lot size, then the new Code applies a minimum lot size of 400m2
  • for manor houses, a minimum lot size of 600m2
  • for terraces, the size of the lot must be the minimum lot size to build multi-dwelling housing under the relevant council LEP. If the LEP does not specify a minimum lot size. Then the new Code requires a minimum lot size of 600m2.


Source: Master Builders Association

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