ResCode is a residential design code introduced by the Bracks (ALP) government, in Victoria, Australia in 2001.

ResCode applies to the construction or extension of one or more houses on a lot, and to the subdivision of land in residential zones. It covers buildings up to three storeys in height - taller buildings are covered by different policies.

ResCode introduced new standards for houses and subdivisions, in particular:

  • Basic Amenity standards that apply to all dwellings – building height, setbacks, overlooking, overshadowing, access to daylight and private open space.
  • A Mandatory Neighbourhood Character standard as the starting point for considering all applications for a planning permit for residential development.
  • Mandatory Neighbourhood and Site Description and Design Response requirements for all housing and subdivision permit applications.
  • Greater certainty in decision-making about applications through decision guidelines.
  • New Environmental standards including a four-star energy rating for multi-unit housing, a permeability standard to reduce stormwater run-off and a standard to protect solar access to north-facing windows of existing buildings.
  • New tools for making the standard provisions locally responsive, including a schedule to the residential zones and a Neighbourhood Character Overlay.

ResCode brings all the standards for housing together into 2 documents:
The Planning Scheme and the Building Regulations.

All new housing will be required to meet a set of standards:

  • New single houses that require only a building permit must meet 14 basic standards from the Building Regulations.
  • New single houses that require a planning permit must meet these 14 basic standards, plus 6 additional standards that address neighbourhood character, siting and design, energy efficiency and other issues. These standards are in Clause 54 of the Planning Scheme.
  • All proposals of more than one house must meet these 14 basic standards, plus 20 additional standards that address neighbourhood character, siting and design, energy efficiency, parking and other issues related to multi-unit development. These standards are in Clause 55 of the Planning Scheme.

Planning Permit:
A planning permit is always needed when building more than one dwelling on a block. The planning permit will be assessed against the ResCode standards. The application process must include a Neighbourhood and Site Description and Design Response.

Neighbourhood and Site Description:
Is an analysis of a site and its surroundings that must be submitted with a planning permit application. Council must approve this before considering the permit application.

Design Response:
Is a document that shows how the proposed design responds to the constraints and opportunities identified in the Neighbourhood and Site Description. The Design Response also forms the basis for considering neighbourhood character related standards.

The Design Response must include correctly proportioned street elevations or photographs showing the development in the context of adjacent buildings. The applicant can show this information using a plan, photographs or other techniques that meet the objectives of the clauses.

Neighbourhood Character Overlay (NCO):
The NCO describes the features of a site and the neighbourhood, and provides an appropriate design response. It includes a range of controls that can be used to retain an existing character or achieve a preferred character in a special area.

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