The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code (MDHC) has been deferred again

The introduction of the new Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code in July 2018 aimed to provide more liveable and affordable housing arrangements for growing families and empty nesters within existing neighbourhoods and streetscapes. It has currently been implemented across 82 council areas in NSW and there are plans for the remaining 45 to adopt …

17 November, 2021

The introduction of the new Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code in July 2018 aimed to provide more liveable and affordable housing arrangements for growing families and empty nesters within existing neighbourhoods and streetscapes. It has currently been implemented across 82 council areas in NSW and there are plans for the remaining 45 to adopt the new code on July 1 2020, allowing additional time to complete strategic planning.

Councils with a temporary deferral from the Code include:

  • Bathurst Regional
  • Bayside
  • Bellingen
  • Blue Mountains
  • Burwood
  • Byron
  • Camden
  • City of Campbelltown
  • City of Canada Bay
  • Canterbury-Bankstown
  • Central Coast
  • City of Coffs Harbour
  • Cumberland
  • Georges River
  • City of Hawkesbury
  • Hilltops
  • Hornsby
  • Hunter’s Hill
  • Inner West
  • Kiama
  • City of Liverpool
  • Mid–Coast
  • Mid–Western Regional
  • Moree Plains
  • Mosman
  • Northern Beaches
  • City of Parramatta
  • Penrith City
  • City of Randwick
  • City of Ryde
  • City of Shellharbour
  • City of Shoalhaven
  • Snowy Monaro
  • Strathfield
  • Sutherland Shire
  • City of Sydney
  • Tamworth Regional
  • The Hills Shire
  • Tweed
  • Upper Lachlan Shire
  • City of Willoughby
  • Wingecarribee Shire
  • Wollondilly
  • City of Wollongong
  • Woollahra
  • Yass Valley

What do these changes mean for the deferred councils?

At present, dual occupancy, manor house and terrace developments must be approved by local council and are subject to community objection. From July 1 2020, complying development will be simplified. Either council or an accredited certifier will be able to approve a development within a fast-tracked 20 day period, and with no consideration given to neighbourhood objection. Minimum lot sizes and frontages will be reduced to promote more efficient design without disrupting local character, and as such, will contribute positively to the affordability and liveability of medium density housing. These lot sizes must be consistent with the council’s Local Environmental Plan. If unspecified, the following applies:

  • Dual Occupancies – 400 square metres
  • Manor Houses – 600 square metres
  • Terraces – 600 square metres

What do these changes mean for architects and designers?

To support the new Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code, new design criteria have been set out in the Low Rise Medium Density Design Guide. It considers layout, landscaping, open space, light, natural ventilation and privacy. To ensure these changes are adhered to, a Design Verification Statement must be issued by a qualified or accredited designer. The goal is to incorporate all the amenities of a freestanding home or apartment within a two-storey building height limit and condensed space.

The new code will continue to exclude heritage items, conservation areas, public land and environmentally sensitive areas, however is still expected to accommodate a large population and diverse number of lifestyles and needs. You can read more about the Code here.

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