Architecture

Victorians call for minimum apartment standards

January 27, 2016

A public engagement survey has found that Victorians strongly support the implementation of a minimum standard for room sizes and daylight access for apartments.

Written by: Sara Kirby. Above image: The Purple Rose of Cairo in Melbourne by Architecture Architecture includes apartments at only 24 square metres. Photo by Tom Ross of Brilliant Creek.

A public engagement survey has found that Victorians strongly support the implementation of a minimum standard for room sizes and daylight access for apartments.

Following the release of the Better Apartments discussion paper last year, Planning Minister Richard Wynne engaged over 2,000 people in a follow-up survey, including community organisations, government and industry members, and individuals.

The survey focused on what amenities were most important to Victorians when it comes to apartment living, and examines the best way to improve the design of new apartment dwellings.

The most important amenity to respondents was the space within a home, with 76 percent of respondents agreeing that a standard should be set for minimum apartment sizes in Victoria. Specifically, a minimum standard for rooms was seen as highest priority, particularly for living rooms and bedrooms, with functional space available and the ability to fit the required furniture within each room.

With south-facing apartments getting little to no sun in their windows, 60 percent of respondents saw access to daylight as the most important amenity issue – the second most important amenity overall. Majority supported legal minimum standards for apartments’ daylight access. The implementation of this, along with minimum standards for the distance between buildings, window sizes, ceiling heights, and room depths would improve this amenity vastly, suggested the respondents.

An overwhelming 80 percent argued that natural light along with good ventilation is the single most essential amenity. Adequate ventilation combats stuffiness and helps to prevent mould in bathroom and laundry areas. Industry members suggested design approaches such as the utilisation of dual aspect apartment design and façade variations as methods to improve apartment ventilation in future dwellings.

Ease of access from floor to floor, landscaping, and views from the apartment windows/balcony were amenities that were of least concern to respondents.

The results of the Better Apartments discussion paper and survey will provide guidance for the development of guidelines for upcoming new apartments.

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