Victoria might mandate minimum size for new apartments

02 August 2022

More Victorians are expected to call apartments home as the state’s population steadily increases to a predicted 11.2 million people by the year 2056.
More Victorians are expected to call apartments home as the state’s population steadily increases to a predicted 11.2 million people by the year 2056.

Victoria could follow the lead of New South Wales, Western Australia and international cities including Auckland and Dublin by setting a minimum size for all new apartments built in the state.

A parliamentary inquiry has recommended the Government mandate a minimum size for new dwellings as part of a broader review of apartment design standards.

Tighter regulation was, however, contested by some witnesses who provided evidence to the Legislative Assembly Environment and Planning Committee at public hearings.

'While there were contrasting opinions on whether minimum apartment size should be mandated, there is evidence to suggest regulating a minimum size would support good design for new apartments throughout Victoria,' Committee Chair Sarah Connolly said.

'With a growing proportion of Victorians choosing to live in apartments, it is critical the liveability and amenity of these developments meets the expectations of all residents.'

Committee Chair Sarah Connolly

The inquiry found that COVID-19 highlighted the importance of ventilation and access to daylight.

As a result, the State Government is urged to investigate ways to improve ventilation and establish a clear and quantifiable definition of adequate daylight in apartments to maximise access to sunlight.

The Committee also made a number of recommendations which aim to address some of the key issues raised by stakeholders, including:

  • development of a statewide framework for design review panels
  • improved accessibility standards to allow for people with disabilities, older residents and families with children
  • establishment of a statewide approach to environmentally sustainable design
Members of the Committee inspected apartment complexes at Elwood, West Melbourne, Fairfield and Burwood East as part of the inquiry.

Overall, the report makes 35 recommendations and 66 findings arising from 58 submissions and three days of public hearings, involving 52 witnesses from 22 organisations.

'The Committee understands the time and effort required to produce detailed evidence and is grateful for the contributions it received,' Ms Connolly said.

'We thank the wide range of individuals, community and non-government organisations, industry groups, local government, and state government agencies who contributed to this inquiry.'

The State Government has six months to respond to the recommendations.

To read the full report go to the Committee’s website.

Watch video snapshots of evidence provided at public hearings on YouTube.