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Low Rise Housing Diversity Code - NSW

HIA assists members in understand the Low Rise Housing Diversity Code, previously called the Low Rise Density Housing Code

This information sheet has been prepared to assist HIA members in understanding the Low Rise Housing Diversity Code, previously called the Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code.

Purpose of the Code

The Code is included in the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008  (the SEPP) as Part 3B, and permits some new one and two storey medium density homes to be approved as complying development within 20 days. Approval is by the council or an accredited certifier.

The Code aims to streamline the approvals process and reduce costs for applicants, potentially saving up to $15,000 when compared to the costs of a development application. It also provides more housing choice for consumers, which may lead to improvements in housing affordability.

Housing types under the Code

The Code allows for three housing types as complying development:

  • dual occupancies (side by side, either attached or detached)
  • manor houses and dual occupancies (one above the other)
  • multi dwelling houses (terraces)

Dual occupancies are two dwellings on one lot and can be attached or detached.

A manor house is a building containing 3-4 dwellings on one lot of land and can be up to two-storeys in height (excluding any basement). Each dwelling is attached by a common wall or floor with at least one dwelling fully or partially located above another dwelling.

Multi dwelling housing (terraces) comprises three or more dwellings on one lot. Each dwelling fronts a public road and there are no other dwellings located above or below.

How the Code will work

Development under this Code is generally permissible in R1, R2, R3 and RU5 zones where councils already allow it under their Local Environmental Plan (LEP). However, some exclusions do apply, including state or locally listed heritage items and heritage conservation areas; land reserved for public purposes and environmentally sensitive areas.

Lot sizes and Development Standards

The development must meet the minimum lot size requirements as follows:

  • Dual occupancy – the size of the lot being developed must meet the minimum lot size required to build a dual occupancy under the relevant council’s LEP. If the LEP does not specify a minimum lot size, the Code applies a minimum 400m2 lot size.
  • Manor houses – a minimum 600m2 lot size requirement applies.
  • Terraces - the size of the lot being developed must meet the minimum lot size required to build multi dwelling housing under the relevant council’s LEP. If the LEP does not specify a minimum lot size, the Code applies a minimum 600m2 lot size.

The Code sets the development standards (controls) for each low rise medium density housing type.

Low Rise Medium Density Design Guide for Complying Development

The Low Rise Housing Diversity Design Guide for Complying Development, prepared by the NSW Government, provides planning and design standards for dual occupancies, manor houses and terraces.

The Code includes a requirement for a Design Verification Statement, demonstrating good design outcomes, to accompany a CDC application. The Design Verification Statement will be prepared by a qualified designer (registered architect) or building designer accredited with the Building Designers Association of Australia. Download a copy of the Design Verification Statement Template.

To find out more, contact HIA’s Planning and Environment team.

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