The NSW Government promotes better apartment design across NSW through the State Environmental Planning Policy No 65 – Design Quality of Residential Apartment Development (SEPP 65).
This policy aims to deliver better living environments for residents choosing this form of housing, and to enhance our streetscapes and our neighbourhoods across the state.
It does this by establishing a consistent approach to the design of apartments and the way they are assessed by councils.
The Apartment Design Guide explains how to apply SEPP 65’s design principles to the design of new apartments.
SEPP 65 and the Apartment Design Guide apply to:
- residential flat buildings
- mixed use development with a residential component
- shop top housing
- that are three of more storeys and have four or more dwelling; and
- where the building is a new apartment building, substantial redevelopment or refurbishment of an existing building, or conversion of an existing building.
Unless a local environmental plan states otherwise, SEPP 65 does not apply to a boarding house or a serviced apartment.
SEPP 65 design review panels
SEPP 65 allows councils to appoint design review panels, which can advise on whether an apartment development meets the design principles and, if not, make recommendations on compliance and alternatives.
Design review panels will conduct site visits and examine how the proposed developments will relate to the streetscape and the neighbourhood.
More information on the role and functions of the design review panels can be found in the Apartment Design Guide – Part 5 (PDF, 401 KB). Further advice on how to establish, manage and participate in a design review panel convened by a local council can be found in the Local Government Design Review Panel Manual. This manual also clarifies the relationship of design review to assessment generally and to planning panels in particular.
For more information, please call 1300 305 695.
- Better apartment design – Frequently asked questions [PDF, 108.17 KB]
- Overview of the amendments to SEPP 65 [PDF, 2.48 MB]
- Overview of the Apartment Design Guide [PDF, 2.57 MB]
- Car parking requirements in SEPP 65 [PDF, 75.16 KB]
- Solar access requirements in SEPP 65 [PDF, 39.75 KB]
- Environmental Planning and Assessment Amendment (Residential Apartment Development) Regulation 2015 [PDF, 179.38 KB]
- Design Quality of Residential Apartment Development – SEPP 65 [PDF, 71.23 KB]
- Planning circular – Using the Apartment Design Guide – 29 June 2017 [PDF, 442.94 KB]
Page last updated: 08/03/2023