A new Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code (the Code) and Low Rise Medium Density Design Guide (the Design Guide) have been introduced to encourage more low rise medium density housing to be built in NSW to provide better housing choice and affordability with improved quality design.

The Code allows one and two storey medium density homes which provide all the amenity of a traditional freestanding home in a well-designed and compact form. It provides a great alternative to apartments and freestanding homes, and fits into existing streets and neighbourhoods. It helps housing affordability by providing smaller homes on smaller lots that still provide all the amenities of a single dwelling and can accommodate a wide variety of lifestyles and needs, including growing families or empty nesters.

Two-storey building height limits are designed to ensure the size and scale of complying development is low rise and will easily fit into established streetscapes.

Many councils commenced the implementation of the Code on 6 July 2018. For councils that have requested additional time, a deferral has been granted by the Minister for Planning and Housing until 1 July 2019. More information is available here.

A strip diagram showing low rise medium density housing types – detached dual occupancy, attached dual occupancy, a manor house and terraces.

 

Complying Development is a fast-track approval pathway for straight forward residential, commercial and industrial development. If the application complies with all of the relevant requirements in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 (the State Policy), it can be approved by a council or an accredited certifier within 20 days.

Benefits of the new Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code

A diagram of the benefits of the Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code. The Code encourages good quality design, increases housing choice, improves housing affordability and increases housing supply.

Medium density housing can provide a more affordable housing option for families. The Kesharis' terrace house in Penrith allows them an affordable home with good amenity and great access to open space, public transport and shops.

Housing types under the new Code

Development Types

How the new Code will work

The new Code is included in the State Policy and permits new development types to be approved as complying development including dual occupancies, manor houses and terraces.

Low rise medium density housing as complying development will only be permitted in R1, R2, R3 and RU5 zones where councils already allow it under their Local Environmental Plan (LEP).

Exclusions for where complying development cannot be carried out under the State Policy will continue to apply. For example, complying development cannot be carried out in:

  • state or locally listed heritage items and heritage conservation areas

  • land reserved for public purposes

  • environmentally sensitive areas and areas excluded by Councils based on local circumstances.

For more information, check the State Policy.

Key features

The Code establishes the controls for each development type in the form of development standards that a proposal for low rise medium density housing must meet to be assessed as complying development.

The development must meet the minimum lot size requirements under the relevant council LEP

  • for a dual occupancy, the size of the lot being developed must meet the minimum lot size requirement to build a dual occupancy under the relevant council LEP. If the LEP does not specify a minimum lot size, then the Code applies a minimum 400m2 lot size

  • for manor houses, a minimum 600m2 lot size requirement applies

  • for terraces, the size of the lot being developed must meet the minimum lot size requirements to build multi dwelling housing under the relevant council LEP. If the LEP does not specify a minimum lot size, then the Code applies a minimum 600m2 lot size.

Using the new Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code

A graphic showing the steps for using the Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code.

Summary of new development standards

Easy-to-use summary tables of the new development standards have been created for industry professionals, including council planners, certifiers, building designers and architects.

Low Rise Medium Density Design Guide for Development Applications

The Department has prepared a Low Rise Medium Density Design Guide for Development Applications (Design Guide for DAs) to assist councils when assessing manor houses and terraces as a DA until they develop their Development Control Plans.

The Design Guide for DAs provides councils with best practice controls and design standards to ensure developments are well designed and will fit into the local character of the area.

It was developed with councils, industry and the community to ensure good design outcomes and a consistent approach to medium density housing as complying development is applied across NSW.

The Code includes a requirement to prepare a Design Verification Statement to ensure and promote good design outcomes. The Design Verification Statement must be prepared by a qualified designer (registered architect) or building designer accredited with the Building Designers Association of Australia.

The Department publicly exhibited a draft Medium Density Design Guide and Explanation of Intended Effects for a proposed new Medium Density Housing Code from 12 October 2016 to 23 December 2016. To promote and test the design criteria in the draft Low Rise Medium Density Design Guide and proposed new Code, the Government Architect’s Office ran a design competition. The outcomes of the Design Competition, together with feedback from councils, industry and community, were used to shape and refine the final Code and Design Guide.

An image of the cover of the Low Rise Medium Density Design Guide.

Where to go for more information

An education program will be rolled out across NSW to assist the community and stakeholders to learn more about the new Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code and Low Rise Medium Density Design Guide.

This includes a series of information sessions and stakeholder workshops. Online learning modules will also be launched soon, to assist people to learn more about each of the new Code.

For more information, you can contact us on codes@planning.nsw.gov.au or call the Service NSW Codes Hotline on 13 77 88.

 

Terms and conditions

This document sets out the terms and conditions of use for the NSW planning portal.

Index

  1. General Conditions
  2. Disclaimer
  3. Planning information, maps and spatial datasets
  4. Privacy Statement
  5. Copyright
  6. Feedback

1.0 General Conditions

About the NSW planning portal

The NSW Planning Portal is an initiative of the New South Wales Government and has been designed to provide public access to a range of planning services and information including documents or other information in the NSW planning database established under the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (the EP&A Act).

The NSW planning database is an electronic repository of spatial datasets or other maps that are adopted or incorporated by way of reference by environmental planning instruments, plans or other documents or information relating to the administration of the EP&A Act that are required to be published on the NSW Planning Portal by the regulations or by the Secretary of the Department of Planning and Environment (the Secretary).

The NSW planning database is to be compiled and maintained as determined by the Secretary. The Secretary may certify the form of such documents or other information on the NSW Planning Portal is correct. At this stage, no content on the NSW Planning Portal has been certified by the Secretary.

Access and use of the NSW planning portal

The NSW Government grants you a non-exclusive, non-transferable licence to access and use the NSW Planning Portal in accordance with these terms and conditions of use.

Agreement to these terms and conditions of use

These terms and conditions of use (as amended from time-to-time) govern the use of the NSW Planning Portal. By clicking the 'I Agree' button you understand and agree to these terms and conditions of use.

New or revised terms and conditions of use

The Department may change these terms and conditions of use at any time, and may do so without giving you any prior notice.

Internet charges

You are responsible for any internet connection fees that You incur.

Service availability

It is impossible for the Department to ensure that the services are provided to you at all times or at any specific times or will be able to operate at all times error-free. The provision of services is influenced by availability of related computer systems. The NSW Government makes no warranties in regard to the availability of services but all reasonable efforts will be made to provide the best possible service to you. Notices regarding planned system outages will be made available on the NSW Planning Portal's home page.

Governing law

Your access to and use of the NSW planning portal is governed by the law of New South Wales and the Commonwealth and you agree to submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts in that State and the Commonwealth.

2.0 Disclaimer

The NSW Government will be in no way liable for any loss, damage or injury arising as a result of your use or reliance on the NSW planning portal, nor will it be liable for any indirect or consequential punitive or special damages or loss of profit.

The NSW Government will be in no way liable for any loss, damage or injury arising as a result of, or in part by, its negligent acts or omissions in procuring, compiling, collecting, interpreting, reporting, communicating or delivering any information through the NSW Planning Portal.

Links to other websites

Links have been provided on the NSW Planning Portal in line with the Department of Planning and Environment's desire to promote a free exchange of information. The Department does not necessarily endorse or support the views, opinions, standards or information that appear at the linked sites or in material authored by third parties and published on the NSW Planning Portal. You should be aware that the providers of linked sites will often have their own protocols and standards in relation to their sites and the information which appears on them. We urge you to familiarise yourself with any such protocols and standards. Similarly, you should also not interpret the absence of a link to any other site as a criticism or comment by the Department on the provider of content of that other site.

You should bear in mind that some of the material that appears on the linked sites may possibly cause offence or upset to some people. The Department regrets, but cannot take responsibility for, any such offence or upset caused.

In the event that you are offended or upset by the material which appears on this site and/or any linked site, you are entitled to lodge a complaint with the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) who will then investigate the complaint and take such action as it thinks fit. If you would like to know more about the ACMA's role in regulating Australian internet content, you can visit its website at http://www.acma.gov.au .

3.0 Planning information, maps and spatial datasets

Until such time as content on the NSW Planning Portal is certified, the documents and information available on the NSW Planning Portal should be treated as being for reference only and you should exercise your own skill and care with respect to the use of the material.

Spatial datasets

The map viewer on the NSW Planning Portal provides access to spatial datasets for certain planning maps incorporated by reference in environmental planning instruments made under the EP&A Act. PDF versions of the official maps adopted when the instruments are made are available from a map link index from the relevant environmental planning instrument on the NSW legislation website.

The spatial datasets on the NSW Planning Portal are updated as new PDF maps are published. You should be aware that there may be delays between when the official PDF maps are published on the NSW legislation website and when the spatial datasets are updated on the NSW Planning Portal.

The Department of Planning and Environment tries to update the spatial datasets within 2 weeks of any changes to the official PDF maps.

The NSW Planning Portal only shows the current In Force spatial datasets. Historical versions of the maps are available from a map link index from the relevant environmental planning instrument on the NSW legislation website.

The spatial datasets for certain State environmental planning policies has been derived from the wording of the text of the instrument.

Copies of development control plans and contributions plans

The NSW Planning Portal provides public access to copies of development control plans and contributions plans. Councils are required to provide copies of development control plans to the Secretary within 28 days of making the plan. Councils are also required to provide the Minister with a copy of a contributions plan, as soon as practicable after it is approved by the council.

The Department tries to update the development control plans and the contributions plans within 2 weeks of receiving copies of the plans from councils.

4.0 Privacy statement

Personal information

The NSW planning portal is provided and maintained by the Department of Planning and Environment. The Department is subject to the requirements of the Privacy and Personal Information Protection Act 1998 (the PPIP Act). Under that Act You have a right to access and change personal information that we hold. For further information please see the Department's privacy statement.

Site Visit Data

To help the Department improve its website and provide better services to its users, the Department makes a record of your visit and logs the following information:

  • the IP (Internet Protocol) address of the machine which has accessed it;
  • Your top-level domain name (for example .com, .gov, .au, .uk etc.);
  • the date and time of your visit to the site;
  • the pages visited; and
  • cookies are used on the NSW Planning Portal to collect and store information.

Exceptions to the Rule

The Department will not collect, use and disclose personal information other than stated as above except for the purpose of investigating:

  • unauthorised attempts to access files that are not published on the NSW Planning Portal;
  • unauthorised tampering or interference with files published on the NSW Planning Portal;
  • unauthorised attempts to index the contents of the NSW Planning Portal by other sites;
  • attempts to intercept messages or any data of other users of the NSW Planning Portal;
  • communications which are defamatory, abusive, vilify individuals or groups or which give rise to a suspicion that an offence is being committed;
  • attempts to otherwise compromise the security of the web server, breach the laws of the State of New South Wales or Commonwealth of Australia, or interfere with the enjoyment of the NSW planning portal by other users; and
  • any other circumstances permitted under the PPIP Act.

Consistent with the NSW Government's Open Data Policy the Department of Planning and Environment encourages the availability, dissemination and exchange of public information. Unless otherwise stated, material on the NSW planning portal where copyright vests in the Crown in right of the State of NSW is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia License.

Attribution should be: 'NSW Crown Copyright – Department of Planning and Environment'

The licence does not apply to:

  • Any material authored by third parties and published on the on the NSW planning portal.
  • Any material hosted on a different site.
  • The State arms or any emblem, symbol or trademark used by any agency of the State of NSW (except where such material is reproduced as an incidental part of using material under the general licence and otherwise in compliance with these terms and conditions of use).

To obtain permission to use copyright material other than as permitted by the Creative Commons Attribution Licence please contact:

Director, Community & Stakeholder Engagement Branch
Department of Planning and Environment
GPO Box 39 Sydney New South Wales 2001

Fax: (02) 9228 6555

Email: information@planning.nsw.gov.au

You may publish the material to another website, however if you publish an entire document or publication, we prefer you to make a direct link to the NSW planning portal to ensure that the latest version is always displayed.

6.0 Feedback

Help make the NSW Planning Portal even better by letting the Department know of any quality and usability issues you encounter by clicking the 'Feedback' button and sending through a response.

We may also request additional feedback from You through email, web questionnaires or other feedback mechanisms. By agreeing to these terms and conditions of use, You agree that We may contact You from time to time about the services provided through the portal.