New State Government design regulations are a step in the right direction to ensure that Melbourne’s apartments are more liveable, according to architect’s advisory service, Archicentre Australia.

The regulations are aimed at improving the image of so-called ‘dog boxes’ by establishing minimum bedroom, living room and balcony sizes, a ceiling limit of at least 2.7 metres, inclusion of at least eight cubic metres of storage space, small gardens for ground floor apartments, and effective cross ventilation for at least 40 per cent of the apartments in a development.

Archicentre Australia director Peter Georgiev said the regulations would help lift design standards for apartments and help make apartment living more comfortable. “They will make apartments more resident-friendly and help remove some of the problems which led to many being termed dog boxes.

“It is ludicrous that some of the apartments being built today in Melbourne have bedrooms too small for even a double bed and without 1960’s standards for natural light.”

The regulations specify that bedrooms must have a minimum floor size of between 9 and 10.4 square metres – living rooms must be at least 10 square metres for small units and 12 square metres for larger apartments, while balconies and small gardens for ground floor apartments should be incorporated in new developments.

It is also specified that items on balconies, such as air conditioning units, cannot be included in external area measurements.

“The new laws are a step in the right direction,” Peter Georgiev said, “but the government must do more to ensure that the city of today is comfortable for the next generation.

“Architects need to be part of this solution as they are best suited and have necessary design acumen to provide amenity and flexibility for apartment living.

“Unlike many European countries where the public is protected by laws that require buildings to be designed by architects, this is not the case in Australia, making the efforts of its architects all the more important as purveyors of independent and informed design and construction advice.”

Peter Georgiev said Archicentre frequently advised consumers on the shortcomings of multi-unit developments and volume built products. “The fact that we need these regulations shows that there are problems with the system but more is needed to ensure we have quality apartments with the designs taking into account the site size, slope, aspect, location, energy efficiency and other important urban design factors.”

This media release has been written and distributed by:

Archicentre Australia

Peter Georgiev, Director,

Level 1, 9 Strathalbyn Street, Kew East, VICTORIA, 3102

Phone: 1300 13 45 13 | 03 9859 9950