A NSW Government website

Apartment Design Guide

The Apartment Design Guide provides consistent planning and design standards for apartments across the state.

It provides design criteria and general guidance about how development proposals can achieve the 9 design quality principles identified in Schedule 9 of State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing) 2021 (Housing SEPP). On 14 December 2023, the provisions of the former State Environmental Planning Policy No 65 - Design Quality of Residential Apartment Development (SEPP 65) were transferred to the Housing SEPP.

Apartment case studies

To guide consent authorities and industry with great examples of liveable and sustainable housing outcomes, 11 case studies showcasing high-quality NSW apartment buildings have been prepared, referencing the relevant aspects of the Apartment Design Guide.

The intent of these case studies is to highlight creative site planning and design solutions for achieving good residential amenity in response to different site constraints. The case studies discuss certain building elements that demonstrate outcomes found to be consistent with the objectives of Chapter 4 of the Housing SEPP and the applicable design guidance at the time of the development assessment.

While these case studies illustrate examples of shop top housing and residential flat buildings, they may also provide useful guidance for other residential developments to which Chapter 4 of the Housing SEPP applies, such as build-to-rent housing and seniors housing.

Some case studies discuss instances where strict consistency with the design criteria of the Apartment Design Guide was not possible, but through site planning and specific design responses, the development was able to demonstrate satisfaction of the objectives of the criteria.

Proposed developments are assessed by the relevant assessment authority on a case-by-case basis and determined in accordance with the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979. Proponents should undertake early pre-lodgement discussions with the relevant assessment authority so that complex issues like site constraints and variations to development standards can be addressed early in the planning process, providing greater efficiency and assessment certainty.

Construction quality or consistency of the built outcome with approved designs has not been reviewed or considered in the development of these case studies.

The case studies provide information that may assist in developing design responses to particular site constraints but do not guarantee that any particular design element will be supported by the relevant consent authority.

Residential Flat Design Code

The Residential Flat Design Code (PDF, 7.6 MB) preceded the Apartment Design Guide and applied to apartment building applications lodged prior to 19 June 2015.