Apartment Design Advisory Service (ADAS)

The Apartment Design Advisory Service (ADAS) is an advice service offered by the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) to assist inner city, suburban and regional councils, developers and building designers comply with the Better Apartments Design Standards.

The service, delivered via collaborative Workshops, aims to help make planning approvals easier and apartment buildings more liveable for Victorians. It is an opportunity to have a conversation about the design direction with experienced architects and/or designers. The design advisory team will advise on how to improve a design so it complies with the Better Apartments Design Standards.

The ADAS design advisory team has experience in designing apartment developments in Victoria, knowledge of the use of local planning schemes and the Standards, and experience coaching others to achieve good design outcomes.

How is a Workshop run?

The council planner will brief the ADAS team on the relevant planning scheme controls and any issues prior to the workshop.

On the day the planner will summarise these planning controls and the project designer should present a basic drawing of the urban context analysis and design response, aerial and site photos, and the sketch design drawings comprising a site plan, plans, elevations and sections (including floor and ceiling heights and a landscape concept).

The project designer should give a brief (10 minute) presentation on how the proposal responds to the 10 key elements of the Better Apartments Design Standards.

The ADAS design advisory team will then collaborate with the project designer on how to improve the development while maintaining its feasibility. Although the advice is non-statutory and completely voluntary, you can include the ADAS advice in your planning permit application.

Responding to the urban context

The Better Apartments Design Standards require that developments respond to their urban context. The Workshop environment focus’ on 10 key elements of the Standards that affect the early design direction of any project (drawn from CL.58).

1.    Create a place that fits in with the existing neighbourhood or future vision 58.02-1 urban context

2.    Provide a range of dwellings of different sizes and types 58.02-2 Dwelling diversity

3.    Connect existing streets, walkways and open spaces 58.02-5 Integration with the street

4.    Orient windows and outdoor areas to the north, protect windows to the west 58.03-1 Energy efficiency

5.    Provide a significant central open space, possibly green and north facing (for 40 or more dwellings) 58.03-2/3 Communal open space

6.    Accommodate mature trees, if trees are in the area plant more, and consider ways to reduce heat load 58.03-5 Landscaping

7.    Minimise the width of vehicle crossovers 58.03-6 Access

8.    Shape the building to protect daylight to the surrounding area and to provide daylight, privacy and outlook to new and existing dwellings 58.04-1 Building setback

9.    Design the building to protect residents from external and internal noise (such as, from lifts, vehicles and transport) 58.04-3 Noise impacts

10.  Make apartments liveable and functional for a diversity of households 58.05-1 Accessibility 58