2017 saw the introduction of minimum garden area requirements for multi-unit developments located in many residential areas within Melbourne and Victoria . This has seen in a general sense multi-unit development having a greater “vertical” rather than “horizontal” emphasis.

Warning (Shop talk explanation) – What do I mean by vertical emphasis? Well what it means is that prior to the introduction of the mandatory garden area requirements development typically had a higher building coverage along the ground floor which allowed for the upper floor to be recessed or smaller than the ground floor. However, the new requirements have generally resulted in the upper floors being more similar in size to the ground floors.

Also, as an unintended consequence of the new garden area requirements, from my own anecdotal observations has seen designers forced to economize on the size of the ground floor areas which results in double storey dwellings having to locate all bedrooms on the first floor. With an ageing population policy makers will need to evaluate and monitor the medium to long-term repercussions of these new requirements on our ageing population and with people who have limited mobility.