In March 2017 the Victorian Government introduced it’s Better Apartment Design Standards. The standards were developed via an extensive process of consultation with the public architects, planning and design practitioners, technical experts, the development industry, councils and state government agencies. Prior to introducing the final standards the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP) and the Office of the Victoria Government Architect (OVGA) commissioned SGS to undertake an economic appraisal of the reforms.
SGS assembled a multi-disciplinary team that included Hayball (architects), WT Partnership (quantity surveyors) and Secret Agent (property advisory). The cost benefit analysis found that the initiative had a benefit cost ratio of 1.5:1 and would deliver net benefits of $2.0 billion to Victorians. The main costs were conduction costs and a loss of development capacity. While the main benefits included better amenity and health/productivity benefits.
Following the release of the design standards, Secret Agent undertook a review of apartments built in Melbourne during the last six years, comparing them with the Better Apartment Design Standards. The report found that only 0.3% of apartments sampled met the minimum requirements across the seven standards assessed.