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Low Rise Housing Diversity Code Applies Across all Local Government Areas in NSW from 1 July 2020

Low Rise Housing Diversity Code Applies Across all Local Government Areas in NSW from 1 July 2020

The NSW Government has committed to delivering more diverse housing to meet the needs of a growing and changing population. It is also committed to promoting more ‘missing middle’ development, such as low-rise dual occupancies, manor houses and terraces as complying development in 2018.

A number of council’s were given an extension at the time this was introduced as they were opposed to some content and raised concerns.  An Independent Review of the Code in 2019 identified strong support for more housing diversity.

Following the review, on 1 July 2020, the Low-Rise Medium Density Housing Code was renamed the Low-Rise Housing Diversity Code to reflect the diverse housing choices it provides. The Code now applies in all local government areas in NSW.

The Low-Rise Housing Diversity Design encourages a diverse range of housing to be built in NSW providing better housing choice and affordability with quality design, which are 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.

The Low-Rise Housing Diversity Code promotes faster housing approvals saving homeowners both time and money. Low medium density housing currently provides little design guidance. However, this new code has a set out design criteria which has been developed with the help of councils, community and industry members to guarantee great design outcomes as well as a consistent approach when developing medium density housing. The Code and the accompanying Design Guide ensure that amenity, privacy and design is considered and incorporated into developments standards, as well as ensuring a consistent approach to good design. To help maintain local character of neighbourhoods the Code sets a two-storey height limit.

A fast-track approval pathway

A fast-track approval pathway

Complying Development is a fast-track approval pathway if the application complies with all of the relevant requirements of the SEPP it can be approved by an accredited certifier without lengthy delays often experienced with development applications.

This means that a fast-tracked planning and construction approval can be obtained for this type of development through a private building certifier such as Buildcert Certification, avoiding the need to be approved through Council.

Housing types under the Code

Housing types under the Code

The following are the housing types under the Code:

  • Dual occupancy which means two dwellings on one lot of land that are attached to each other but does not include a secondary dwelling.
  • Manor House which means a residential flat building containing 3 or 4 dwellings, where:  each dwelling is attached to another dwelling by a common wall or floor, and at least 1 dwelling is partially or wholly located above another dwelling, and the building contains no more than 2 storeys (excluding any basement).
  • Multi dwelling housing (terraces) which means three or more attached dwellings on one lot of land where: Each dwelling has access at ground level; No part of a dwelling is above any part of any other dwelling, and dwellings face, and are generally aligned along, one or more public roads.

The proposed design also needs to be endorsed as compliant with the Code by a NSW Registered Architect, or a building designer accredited by the Building Designers Association of Australia.

Dual occupancies, manor houses and terraces built as complying development are only permitted in R1, R2, R3 and RU5 zones where the specific type of housing is already a permissible use under the specific council’s Local Environmental Plan (LEP).

Should you have a project with the potential to be approved as Complying Development under this Code, more detailed information is available through the following link –

Please don’t hesitate to contact Buildcert Certification if you have a project you’d like to move forward with.

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