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Residential Design Codes

The Residential Design Codes (R-Codes) is a state planning policy that applies to all residential development in Western Australia. The codes set out design provisions for residential developments based on the development type, density and zoning.

Zoning and R-Coding

Residential zoned lots are designated an “R-Code” based on the development density permitted in the area. The R-Code is reflected in the size of the lots and can range from low density housing to high density apartments. For example, areas zoned R17.5 or R20 are suitable for low density housing with lot sizes averaging upwards of 450 square metres, whereas R60 and R80 areas are suitable for apartments or other high density developments with lot sizes averaging 150 square metres or less.

Deemed-to-comply and design principles

The codes set criteria specific to each R-Code, including provisions for boundary setbacks, open space and outdoor living areas. The design principles outline the intent of each section, while the deemed-to-comply provisions set standards that are considered to satisfy the design principles. A proposal that meets the deemed-to-comply provisions is considered compliant and does not require development approval. If the deemed-to-comply provisions cannot be met, variations may be considered if compliant with the design principles and the City’s local planning policies.

NOTE: A building that does not require development approval will still require a building permit. Refer to the Related Links below for more information.

Varying the R-Codes

Where a proposal does not meet the deemed-to-comply provisions, a person may apply for development approval to vary the codes. Variations are assessed against the City’s Local Planning Policy 1.1.1 – Residential Development and other polices which set out variations approved by Council that are considered to satisfy the design principles of the codes. Applications that do not meet the provisions of a policy will generally not be approved.

For more information about development approval for single houses and minor structure, including how to make an application, refer to the Related Links below.

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