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One More Month To Go Until … The Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code!

31 May 2019

One more month to go and it will be easier to build low rise medium density housing across NSW with the commencement of the Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code (‘The Code’). This Code is scheduled to commence 1 July 2019 for almost 50 councils after they were given an extra year to prepare and update their local environmental plans. 

The Code was actually announced in April last year and came in effect in Fairfield, Waverley, Ku-ring-gai, North Sydney and Blacktown July last year with 49 councils granted a year deferral until 1 July 2019 and Ryde granted two years deferral until 1 July 2020. To date, only ten complying development certificates have been issued under this Code and we are proud that one of the ten approvals is our five terrace houses project in Fairfield. This medium density development is currently under construction and when completed at the end of the year, it will contribute to ‘the missing middle’ housing in Fairfield. It will provide a more affordable housing option for families with good amenity and great access to open space, public transport and shops.


One of the ten approvals issued to date under the Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code is our five terrace houses project in Fairfield. Now under construction.

Under the Code, dual occupancies, manor houses and terraces can be fast tracked and approved as complying developments in as little as 20 days. Complying development is a form of development that is greatly streamlined from the usual development applications and allows a landowner to seek development consent from a private certifier within a matter of days instead of the local council which may take months. The consent is provided in the form of a Complying Development Certificate (CDC) instead of the usual Development Application (DA). The Code will require development to meet minimum lot size under the relevant council Local Environmental Plan (LEP):

  • for a dual occupancy, the minimum lot size must be consistent with the relevant council LEP. If the LEP does not specify a minimum lot size, then the Code applies a minimum lot size of 400m2
  • for manor houses, a minimum lot size of 600m2
  • for terraces, the size of the lot must be the minimum lot size to build multi-dwelling housing under the relevant council LEP. If the LEP does not specify a minimum lot size. Then the Code requires a minimum lot size of 600m2.

The Code helps housing affordability by providing smaller homes on smaller lots with all the amenity of a traditional freestanding home and increase housing diversity by providing a great alternative to apartments and freestanding homes. Medium density developments under the Code must be consistent with the design criteria that is set out in the Low Rise Medium Density Design Guide (‘The Design Guide’). The Design Guide aims to improve the design of medium density housing through addressing key elements of layout, landscaping, private open space, light, natural ventilation and privacy. The Code also includes a requirement to prepare a Design Verification Statement to verify the design of the development is consistent with the Design Guide, which must be prepared by a registered architect or an accredited building designer.

If you want to understand just how you may benefit from a more efficient and time saving approval process or to discuss a development opportunity under the Low Rise Medium Density Housing Code, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

For further information:
https://www.planning.nsw.gov.au/Policy-and-Legislation/Housing/Medium-Density-Housing
https://www.planningportal.nsw.gov.au/building-or-renovating/low-rise-medium-density-housing-codeP

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