New rules to enforce better apartment quality and open space

25 February 2019

Minimum apartment sizes, increased tree retention and new natural light requirements form part of new guidelines to ensure future infill and apartment developments are built to higher design standards.

Planning Minister Rita Saffioti today released the first stage of Design WA - a set of guidelines for developers and local governments to follow, so good design is at the heart of all new community developments.

The new rules address developments that have previously resulted in poor outcomes for streetscapes, cramped interiors and a lack of green space.

Design WA includes clearly defined objectives about what future developments should consider, and includes it in the revised Residential Design Codes. Objectives include:

Stage one of Design WA focuses on design for the built environment (State Planning Policy 7.0), new residential design codes for apartments (State Planning Policy 7.3 Volume 2), and a design review guide.

The policies will come into effect on May 24, 2019 to ensure a smooth transition for local governments and built environment professionals including architects, developers, planners and urban designers.

The policies apply to all levels of planning and development, from large-scale structure planning and major public works to development applications and subdivision considerations.

Stages two and three of Design WA will focus on precinct planning and medium density development respectively. For more information, visit

Comments attributed to Planning Minister Rita Saffioti:

"Design WA addresses community concerns around higher density developments and infill throughout Perth.

"By raising the bar for the quality of developments around Perth, I believe we will see a wider acceptance of apartment living and infill developments which improve neighbourhoods when done well.

"Good design is not just about appearance, taste and style - it improves the urban environment, benefits local communities and leaves a positive legacy for future generations.

"This policy is about learning from some of the mistakes from the past and moving forward to create more sustainable, vibrant, attractive and healthy neighbourhoods - a key component of METRONET.

"In conjunction with METRONET, Design WA provides the platform to accommodate a growing population, close to new and existing public transport infrastructure and good design will be central to meeting community needs and expectations now and into the future.

"This addresses many of the issues that concern communities including walkable neighbourhoods, retaining street trees, providing green open spaces, ensuring new apartment blocks fit in with their surroundings, parking and privacy concerns.

"Importantly, Design WA provides reassurance that any future development has undergone rigorous scrutiny to ensure the best possible outcomes."

Comments attributed to Parliamentary Secretary for the Minister for Planning John Carey MLA:

"In short, Design WA is about ensuring density is done well.

"The reforms are about creating more liveable apartment buildings for those choosing to reside in density - and ensuring better designed buildings for the communities where they are built.

"It also critically sets new benchmarks across local government.

"While some local governments have led the way with their excellent apartment design rules, others have had significant gaps in their local planning policies - and as a result, some local governments have delivered poor apartment building outcomes in their communities.

"Design WA resolve this challenge by ensuring consistent design benchmarks for developments in all local governments. This is welcome news also for developers by ensuring a more consistent approach across the sector."

For more information, visit




Source:  Western Australia Government -

Contact: Minister's office - 6552 5500

External Links:  For more information, visit

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