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Better Apartments

Better Apartment Design Standards released

The State Government released the final version of its Better Apartment Design Standards (BADS) on Saturday, providing the industry with the much-awaited policy guidelines that will influence the design of apartment development throughout Melbourne for years to come. The final document is noticeably different to the draft Guidelines exhibited earlier this year. Many of the prescriptive requirements are gone, which will be a relief to some...

VPELA seminar – is a better apartment better if you can’t afford it?

Last week Collie staff members attended a VPELA seminar that focused on the Better Apartments Draft Design Standards that were released recently by the Minister for Planning. Four guest speakers with different areas of expertise and from a range of companies including David Lock Associates, Ark Resources, MAA Architects and Grocon shared their thoughts on the draft design standards. In relation to side and rear setbacks, a standard requires...

Calculating the cost of the new Better Apartments Draft Design guidelines

The proposed apartment standards will add $62,500 to the construction cost of each apartment. The attached document below illustrates our calculations for each of the standards. The cost of each standard is calculated by multiplying the construction rate with the increased area of each item. None of the standards are for free. They all come at a cost. The yield of each site will also decrease by 20% to 40% as a result, with the impact on...

Better Apartments - a step forward?

Victoria’s draft new apartment design standards are out for consultation. The first thing to say is that they have adopted a ResCode-style format—the intention is that they will form part of the Particular Provisions, and have objectives that must be met and discretionary standards. In other words, if you meet the standard, you pass. But if you want to put forward an alternative design response, you can. This continues Victoria’s preference for...

Spring Street releases long-awaited draft apartment design standards

Planning Minister Richard Wynne has released the long-awaited Better Apartments draft design standards and with its release, the final round of public consultation has kicked off ahead of a scheduled December 2016 introduction timeframe. The draft design standards set out "to address the specific apartment design and amenity issues raised through public consultation". They are broken down as follows: Building setback Light wells Room depth...

Why we shouldn’t have a minimum size for Melbourne apartments

For many months, there’s been an active debate between Melbourne’s apartment owners, tenants and builders about the need to regulate a minimum size for our apartments. One-bed apartments in Sydney must be at least 50m2, however more than three-quarters of new one-bed apartments being built in Victoria are equal or smaller than this. So do we need new legislation to protect our state from a legacy of un-liveable dog boxes, or could we actually be...

Better apartments for the future

By 2051 the number of households in greater Melbourne is projected to almost double from 1.59 million in 2011 to 3.11 million. We face a huge challenge to ensure there is sufficient housing to meet the needs of future households. Apartments are an important part of the housing mix. Since 2009, Melbourne has experienced successive years of record apartment approvals and development. For the first time there are more apartments being built than...

UDIA Forum - Apartment Design and Affordable Housing

Guidelines and standards for apartment design are being debated rigorously in the planning industry with the release in May by the State Government of the Better Apartments discussion paper. A panel of four industry experts engaged in a lively debate at a UDIA forum on July 9th. Christine Wyatt, Deputy Secretary of DELWP, introduced the topic and gave a brief overview of the process thus far. She encouraged everyone to get involved in the...

Victoria's Push for Better Apartments (Part 2)

Victoria is currently undergoing a substantial consultation process targeted at improving the design quality of apartments being built across the state. Part 1 of this post discussed the main aspects of the Better Apartments discussion paper released by the state government. Part 2 of this discussion will focus on why the state government should step in to guide the future development of apartments. Many commentators on this subject are fiercely...

Victoria's Push for Better Apartments (Part 1)

In May, Victorian Planning Minister Richard Wynne released the government’s discussion paper entitled Better Apartments . This document is the next stage of the process that began under the previous government looking at how to improve the design quality of Victoria’s apartment dwellings. The Office of the Victorian Government Architect (OVGA) has been concerned for some time about the poor quality of amenity offered in new apartment...

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Development & Planning

Monday, February 20, 2017 - 07:00
After years of inactivity and stalled projects, Pentridge's rebirth is gathering momentum, headlined by a proposed all-silver tower put forward by Shayher Group and Cox Architecture. After Shayher Group's announcement last year that TFE Hotels was secured as operator of an onsite Adina Apartment Hotel complex , the intended redevelopment has since been lodged with planning authorities, with the expected outcome a new 18 storey tower.

Policy, Culture & Opinion

Tuesday, January 17, 2017 - 00:00
On 2 January 2017, it was reported that several popular eateries and bars in Footscray had been vandalised, including the perennially successful 8 Bit Burgers on Droop Street, and Up In Smoke on Hopkins Street. 8 Bit had the warm new year's welcome gift of 14 smashed windows and the words “F**k off hipster scum” spray-painted on their entrance.

Visual Melbourne

Wednesday, August 31, 2016 - 17:00
Melbourne’s architectural landscape is a wonderful juxtaposition of modern and Victorian architecture. Although the CBD has been peppered with many skyscrapers, its historical structures have won Melbourne the title of “Australia’s most European city”.

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Transport & Design

Monday, February 20, 2017 - 12:00
The Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, this morning announced the preferred design option for removing level crossings in Cheltenham and Mentone would include sinking the rail lines under existing road grades and rebuilding both stations in respective trenches. The level crossings on Frankston line to go are Park Road and Charman Road in Cheltenham and Balcombe Road in Mentone.

Sustainability & Environment

Tuesday, November 29, 2016 - 12:00
Timber mid-rise buildings are becoming the preferred choice for many stakeholders in Melbourne, due to a combination of factors, including cost-effectiveness, liveability, ease and efficiency of construction. Within the recent National Construction Code change, Deemed-To-Satisfy provisions allow mid-rise timber construction for buildings up to 25 metres “effective height” (typically, eight storeys).