SEPP 65 update

Steve Kennedy , 15 May 2015

The NSW Government has provided clarity on SEPP 65 – confirming that the minimum apartment sizes in the 'Rules of Thumb' stated in the Residential Flat Design Code will remain the appropriate standard.

A recent Land and Environment Court decision by Justice Sheehan, in a case in Botany, had opened the door for councils to depart from the RFDC recommendations and require larger apartment size minimums. However, the NSW Planning Minister, Rob Stokes, has confirmed that the existing standards in the rule of thumb will remain.

The Minister’s Press Release (issued 15 May) states:

Planning Minister Rob Stokes today confirmed that the NSW Government will retain minimum apartment sizes to provide clarity for the community, councils and industry.This decision will support good design, housing affordability and supply throughout NSW.The minimum apartment sizes for studios, one, two and three bedroom apartments will be:

  • Studios 35m2
  • 1 bedroom apartments 50m2
  • 2 bedroom apartments 70m2
  • 3 bedroom apartments 90m2

A new Apartment Design Guide will make it clear that these minimum internal areas include only one bathroom, with additional bathrooms increasing the minimum apartment size by 5m2 each. A fourth bedroom and further additional bedrooms increase the minimum apartment size by 12m2 each.

Mr Stokes said this decision is consistent with approaches in other global cities like London and New York.

“This decision will provide much needed clarity for homebuyers, the property industry and councils. It will help deliver high quality apartments and help increase housing supply,” Mr Stokes said.“If there is market demand, clearly apartments can be bigger than the minimum size.”

The NSW Government’s review of the planning policy governing the design of quality residential development is almost complete and will be released shortly.

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