Town Planning Considerations in Western Australia for Successful Built Form Projects Taylor Burrell Barnett

Town Planning Considerations for Successful Built-Form


Samantha Thompson
Managing Director

27 Jan 2024

In this article, we cover the essential town planning insights for private developers undertaking built-form projects like apartment or townhouse developments in Western Australia. This includes some insights on how to navigate through regulations, zoning, local planning policies, design guidelines, and more.

Undertaking a built-form project, such as apartment complexes or townhouse subdivisions, in Western Australia presents an exciting opportunity for private developers. The State government is currently focused on addressing population growth by promoting intensification within inner city areas equipped with existing infrastructure. However, successfully navigating the intricate landscape of town planning is essential to ensure the success of your project. This article is designed to provide you with invaluable insights into planning considerations that will guide you through the process, ensuring compliance, efficiency, and harmonious integration with the local community.

Understanding Zoning Regulations

Zoning regulations lay the foundation for any built-form project. It's crucial to be well-versed in the zoning requirements to determine the allowable land uses and density for your development. Familiarise yourself with local planning schemes and zoning maps to ascertain whether your intended project aligns with the designated zoning for the area. For example, R40 zoning signifies a higher-density residential area. The minimum lot size for R40 zoning can vary based on the specific location and local planning scheme. It's advisable to consult the relevant local council for precise information.

Residential Design Codes ("R-Codes") Volume 2 – Apartments serves as a guiding beacon for developers engaged in apartment projects. It provides comprehensive guidance on design principles, spatial arrangements, amenities, and environmental considerations. Developers should pay keen attention to factors such as building height, setbacks, open space provisions, and communal amenities outlined in this volume.

For private developers, comprehending R-Codes is akin to deciphering the roadmap to successful urban development in Western Australia. It is critical to work with a town planning firm that understand the R-Codes and implications on your project. You can learn more about the R-Codes in WA here

Development Approval Process

The development approval process is a pivotal step in bringing your project to life. This involves submitting comprehensive plans and documents to the local planning authority. Engaging early with the local council and seeking pre-application advice from experienced town planners can streamline the process and help you understand any potential challenges or modifications required.

Design Guidelines and Urban Character

Many areas in Western Australia have specific design guidelines aimed at preserving the local urban character. These guidelines encompass architectural styles, building heights, setbacks, and landscaping requirements. Adhering to these guidelines not only ensures your project's acceptance by the community but also contributes to the overall aesthetics of the region.

Infrastructure and Services

Infrastructure and services, such as water supply, sewage, electricity, and transportation, play a critical role in the feasibility of your project. Adequate provision for these services must be integrated into your design and planning. Collaborating with utility providers is essential to avoid last-minute hurdles.

Environmental Impact

Environmental considerations are paramount in today's construction landscape. Conduct thorough assessments of the environmental impact of your project, including considerations for sustainability, water management, and energy efficiency. Demonstrating a commitment to eco-friendly practices can improve your project's reputation and marketability.

Community Engagement

Fostering positive community engagement can significantly influence the success of your built-form project. Engaging with the local community and involving local residents early in the planning phase can help mitigate opposition and address concerns. This collaborative approach can lead to design improvements and a smoother approval process.

Traffic and Parking

Traffic congestion and parking availability are common concerns with built-form projects. A comprehensive traffic impact assessment should be conducted to evaluate potential issues. Adequate parking provisions should be incorporated into your design to ensure convenience for both residents and the existing local community.

Legal and Financial Considerations

Navigating legal aspects, such as land titles, ownership transfers, and contracts, requires careful attention. Consulting legal experts specializing in property development can help you navigate the legal intricacies. Additionally, create a realistic financial plan that considers all costs, including permits, construction, and unforeseen contingencies.

Embarking on a built form project in Western Australia necessitates a thorough understanding of the town planning considerations unique to the locality. By mastering zoning regulations, embracing design guidelines, valuing community input, and addressing infrastructure needs, private developers can ensure the success of their apartment or townhouse projects. Engaging with experts, from town planners to legal advisors, will enhance the likelihood of a smooth and prosperous development journey.

Engaging early with the local council and seeking pre-application advice from experienced town planners can streamline the process and help you understand any potential challenges or modifications required.

Learn more about the services the TBB team can assist with here