It has been almost 3 years now since the last R-Codes were released, and have they made some changes. As a result of election promises there has been a push to quickly increase housing density and an attempt made at speeding up the planning approvals process. Any applications still pending after 3pm on the 2nd of August 2013 will be determined under the new R-Codes.

The WAPC has produced a number of supporting documents which can be found on their site. Click here if you would like to view them or to download your copy of the new R-Codes.

First off- the good news is none of the calculation methods have changed (measurement of walls heights, setbacks, averaging etc).

Granny flats (or Fonzie flats) which currently must be occupied by a family member can now be rented out to anyone you like and have seen an increase in possible size from 60 to 70m2 (basically allowing for 3×1 houses). The lot size will still need to be 450m2 though.

Lot size requiring a DA has now moved from 350m2 to 260m2, so long as it meets the “Deemed to Comply” provisions. This is what I was hinting at in regards to speeding up the planning approvals process, effectively by taking the work away from the planners. Good stuff, though check to see if the Local Planning Scheme requires a DA.

Also notice the “AD” or “Acceptable Development” provisions have also been relabelled as “Deemed to Comply”. “Performance Criteria” are now known as “Design Principles”. When speaking to one of the authors of the R-Codes he spoke of planners not embracing the Performance Criteria approach and being too tangled up in the “AD” provision. Hopefully the change in name will emphasise the intentions and allow a more flexible approach to planning.

Parking requirements in medium density (R30+) zones have been relaxed, dependent upon the sites proximity to public transport. Basically if you’re near a busy bus route or train station you can get away with less car bays.

R20 and R60 codes received a reduction in the average lot size from 500m2 to 450m2 for R20 and 180m2 to 150m2 for R60 and R80’s average site area of 120m2 and minimum of 100m2.

DAPs (detailed area plans) will now be known as “Local Development Plans”. Planning approval will not be required for a compliant house in a DAP/LDP.

As with any changes to policy that may affect you I would definitely recommend grabbing a copy from the WAPC’s site and having a flick through (there is a link near the start of this article).

If you would like to discuss the impacts of these changes on your next development please get in touch and one of our planning specialists will be more than happy to assist.

Due to constantly evolving legislation the information provided within this blog may no longer be valid. The advice given on this site is general in nature and does not take into account your specific circumstances. Please email one of our building surveyors to check what is right for you.

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