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Future Homes is a program applicable across Victoria.

To be eligible for Future Homes your site must meet the following requirements:

  • the land is in a General Residential Zone, and any part of the land is:
    • within 800 metres of a passenger train station; or
    • within 800 metres of an identified activity centre in Metropolitan Melbourne; or
    • within 800 metres of an identified activity centre outside Metropolitan Melbourne (as designated in Clause 53.24)
  • does not require a permit under the following overlays:
    • heritage
    • neighbourhood character
  • does not have a restriction registered on Title that prevents the development of an apartment of this type, scale, form or material.

Future Homes does not mandate a minimum lot size. The designs have been created for two standard General Residential Zone lots, which is typically 1200sqm. The designs are adaptable, but if your total site area is below 900sqm it is unlikely that it will be suitable for a Future Homes design.

Use the interactive Future Homes map to see eligible lots in all of Victoria.

Future Homes Potential Lots Map

Once you have confirmed the site is eligible, there are mandatory planning requirements to be considered.

Building Future Homes adaptation guide

The adaptation guide supports:

  • applicants to adapt their purchased design to suit their site
  • DTP, including OVGA, to provide advice to the applicant and to assess a proposal after referral
  • anyone interested in Future Homes who wants to understand the designs, process, and purpose.

The guide ensures an adapted design fulfils the intent and ambitions of Future Homes – delivering apartments that are great homes, great neighbours and great for the environment.

It has been created to:

  • ensure designers deliver on the Future Homes objectives and principles
  • help decision makers to understand the acceptable approaches, outcomes and variations for a Future Homes design
  • provide best practice approaches to suburban apartment design
  • give clarity and confidence about what a Future Homes design might look like and what it can achieve.

Please note: the adaptation guide is a live document, and updates will be occurring. It is currently in the process of being updated, any documents linked here will be the most current document.

The guide has 3 parts:

Building Future Homes part 1 - Objectives and principles for apartment design (PDF 1.3 MB)

Part 1 contains a range of principles, mandatory requirements, performance targets and design considerations which all adaptations will meet in order to be successful.

Objective A Future Homes development…
Responsive to need is designed to respond to the needs of its residents
Liveable has desirable homes with high quality interior amenity, social spaces, natural light and a good outlook
Good neighbours respects neighbours’ amenity and enriches the street and surrounding public realm
Enduring has apartments that are of a high quality built standard, accepted by the community, adaptable to change, resilient, safe and family friendly
Sustainable demonstrates how apartment living can exceed current sustainability requirements and be zero carbon ready
Adaptable is adaptable and replicable on typical suburban lots in Victoria, meeting or exceeding planning, policy and environmental objectives
Viable responds appropriately to market expectations, regulation and construction viability
Affordable designs makes great design available to more people

Building Future Homes part 2 - Adaptation guide (PDF 7.1 MB)

Part 2 has 4 sections, one for each of the Future Homes design options.

Part 2 sets out:

  • general adaptation guidance for the designs
  • specific approaches to adapting a design for a particular site, context or market
  • how a designer can manage common design challenges.

The guidance provided is not exhaustive, and other ideas may be appropriate depending on a development’s particular circumstances.

Building Future Homes part 3 - Appendices (PDF 7.5 MB)

The appendices include technical information, compliance assumptions and opportunities to enhance and exceed the mandatory requirements.

There are 8 appendices:

  • Appendix 1: Structure
  • Appendix 2: Fire safety
  • Appendix 3: Landscape
  • Appendix 4: Waste
  • Appendix 5: Services and equipment
  • Appendix 6: Environmentally sustainable design
  • Appendix 7: Construction cost and guidance
  • Appendix 8: Accessibility.

Future Homes planning approval

A streamlined planning process has been created for all Future Homes adaptations. When you purchase a Future Homes design you will automatically be given access to this new process.

After you have confirmed the site is eligible and selected a design, there are 4 phases in the planning approval process:

Select and exemplar design

Phase 1: Design adaption and initiation meeting

  • Timing determined by applicant

Phase 2: Referrals: DTP and authorities

  • 21 business days

Amendments as required

  • Timing determined by applicant

Phase 3: Council lodgements and community notice

  • 18-21 statutory days anticipated

Phase 4: Delegated decision

  • 14 – 21 business days anticipated

(Timeframes provided are indicative)

Phase 1: Project initiation

The applicant determines the timing of this phase.

In this phase, the applicant:

  • selects a design, manages due diligence and pays for use
  • adapts the design to their site
  • attends a ‘design direction review meeting’ with us and the Office of the Victorian Government Architect (OVGA) – council is also invited.

Phase 2: Referrals

The timing of this phase is approximately 21 business days.

In this phase the applicant submits a pre-application referral to us and other authorities as required, for example Melbourne Water and Transport for Victoria. We recommend referrals to Melbourne Water and Transport for Victoria be undertaken first, before referrals to DTP, as referrals to Melbourne Water and Transport for Victoria  may change the planning and layout of the design selected.

We will:

  • assess the adaptation against the Building Future Homes adaptation guide and the Future Homes provision at Clause 53.24, as well as any overlays that may affect the property
  • coordinate feedback from OVGA and council on the adaptation
  • provide consolidated comments to the applicant
  • hold a referral meeting with the applicant, OVGA and council to resolve any outstanding matters.

The applicant will then submit revised plans, if required. We will review the revised plans and issue formal referral advice that will accompany the planning permit application.

If the site is within a flood related overlay additional time may be required for Melbourne Water to respond.

Phase 3: Application lodgement

The timing of this phase is anticipated to be between 18-21  statutory days.

In this phase, the applicant submits the adapted design and supporting material, including our referral advice, to the relevant council as the responsible authority.

All major planning and design matters will have already been resolved in Phase 2.

Once the application is lodged, council will:

  • conduct usual planning application checks
  • issue formal notification to adjoining owners and occupiers.

In the notification letter council will identify that submissions received can only be considered against the requirements of the Future Homes provision and that third party appeal rights are not applicable.

However, if the site is covered by an overlay, third party appeal rights are applicable in relation to those overlays only.

Phase 4: Decision

The timing of this phase is anticipated to be between 14-20 statutory days.

In this phase, council will:

  • undertake formal assessment against the Future Homes provision at clause 53.24 including the mandatory provisions
  • undertake formal assessment against any applicable overlays that affect the site
  • consider any eligible submissions received
  • issue a decision under delegation from council’s chief executive officer.

The Future Homes provision at clause 53.24 does not include third party appeal rights (when no overlays affect the site), therefore once an application is deemed to satisfy the relevant requirements, council can issue a permit.

Future Homes and overlays

Future Homes is now eligible on sites that are covered by overlays (excluding Heritage Overlay and Neighbourhood Character Overlay). This means that if your site is covered by an overlay, the Future Homes team will work with you upfront to ensure your application responds to and meets the requirements of that overlay.

If your Future Homes site is affected by an overlay, you will need to be aware of the following:

  • Project initiation: The Future Homes team will work with you to ensure the design is adapted to meet the requirements of the applicable overlay. Council’s input will also be requested.
  • Referrals: The process doesn’t differ, DTP will consider how the adaptation responds to the relevant overlay.
  • Application Lodgement: Council will be assessing your application against the Future Homes provision and any applicable overlays. This means that Council will follow their normal planning process when assessing the application against the requirements of the overlay. So, third party appeal rights are applicable.
  • Decision: Council will undertake a formal assessment against the Future Homes provision and any applicable overlays. The decision based on the overlay component may be delegated, but councillors will have the ability to call up the decision. Third party appeal rights will apply to a decision made against any applicable overlays.

A Future Homes site that is affected by an overlay could increase the indicative timeframes, however the Future Homes approval process has been front loaded, to ensure any issues are worked through early and to create more certainty in the planning process.

Post-permit matters

Once a planning permit is issued there may be some additional amendments required by council or by the applicant. The following may apply:

  • Condition one plans: amendments may be required before council can endorse the plans.
  • Secondary consent: to modify minor details on the plans, council will determine the application.
  • Amendment to the planning permit (section 72 of the Act): We will be required to review the application as a determining referral authority. This will be done prior to formal lodgement of the amendment with council. We will review the request within 10 business days.

Will neighbours be notified?

Just like any other planning permit application, if you live next door to a site that has an apartment development proposal you will receive notification from your local council about the application. It is at this point you may choose to provide feedback to the council.

Residents may choose to:

  • write in support of the application
  • provide suggestions on further refinements, or
  • object to the proposal.

You can have confidence that the designs of a Future Homes proposal are of an exemplary standard, and have undergone a rigorous assessment process by DTP, including the OVGA, prior to council receiving the application.

Third-party appeals

A faster planning process does not mean a poorer outcome or that the community doesn’t have a say. Future Homes planning applications are advertised to adjoining properties, allowing neighbours to provide comments and feedback. However, unlike a regular planning application, if the site is not affected by any overlay controls, there are no third-party appeal rights. This means that after council makes a decision on an application, the decision cannot be appealed by an objector to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

If your site is affected by an overlay, third party appeal rights are possible in relation to the overlay. A decision by council can be appealed by an objector to the Victoria Civil and Administrative Tribunal in relation to the applicable overlay.

To facilitate applicants building Future Homes, there must be a balance to offset the cost of delivering high quality homes with a faster planning process.

There are multiple checks throughout the planning process, with both DTP and the OVGA involved before council considers the application.

Sites in flood prone areas

Melbourne Water have partnered with us to help facilitate Future Homes. We recommend you contact Melbourne Water before purchasing a design to determine whether an apartment development is appropriate for your site.

Preparing your referral

Future Homes and the streamlined planning process is endorsed by Melbourne Water.

Melbourne Water has committed to reviewing your adaptation prior to your permit application to council – phase 2 in the planning process.

This means you:

  • have certainty about what changes need to be made
  • require fewer changes later in the process, as key matters have already been addressed.

For access to the upfront referral, you must ensure the requirements below are accurately shown in your plans.

  • you must include “Future Homes Project Application” in the application description field, and
  • plans and any accompanying documentation should also reference Future Homes.

You must include “Future Homes Project Application” in the application description field. Plans and any accompanying documentation should also reference Future Homes.

When you are ready to refer your adaptation, submit your referral request to Melbourne Water online.

Melbourne Water pre-development advice

This is not an exhaustive list, it is provided to assist applicants.

  • The boundaries and dimensions of the site.
  • Existing conditions survey and feature plans taken by or under the direction and supervision of a licensed land surveyor, showing:
    • natural ground level
    • the current flood level
    • the dimensions and ground and finished floor levels of any existing buildings, to Australian Height Datum (AHD).
  • Proposed architectural plans, elevations and section drawings (1:50 or 1:20) showing:
    • the proposed finished surface levels
    • finished floor levels
    • Nominated Flood Protection Level (NFPL) of all new structures on the land.
  • All proposed finished floor levels notated on the plans to Australian Height Datum.
  • A comparative description of the existing and proposed use and development of the site.
  • Cross-sectional details of any basement entry ramps and other basement entries to AHD. Showing floor levels of entry and exit areas and drainage details.
  • A written assessment against ‘Part 3 – assessing development proposals’ of the Guidelines for development in flood affected areas and subsequent submission of any associated flood risk management plan.
  • Any other application requirements specified in a relevant planning overlay schedule applicable to the site.
  • Appropriate boundary setbacks to allow for the conveyance of overland flows.
  • Detailed location of any Melbourne Water asset (including drains, sewers or water mains) within 20 metres of the subject site.
  • Hydraulic details and associated reporting of all/any existing and proposed earthworks, including details of any cut and fill required for works.
  • Details of any other known physical features that may affect flows on-site and on adjoining land, such as levees, fences and retaining walls.
  • A written description of proposed actions, flood risk mitigation strategies or measures required, if any, to the siting and design of the buildings or works, or in association with the use and occupation of all aspects of the proposal in order to reduce the risk to individuals, property, infrastructure and the environment.

Sites on main roads

If your site is located on a main road, it is likely you will need to refer the application to Transport for Victoria.

Transport for Victoria have partnered with us to complete planning referrals for Future Homes upfront, prior to lodgement with council.

Preparing your adaption submission

Under delegation from Transport for Victoria (TfV), Roads Victoria will:

  • review your adaptation prior to submission – phase 2 in the planning process
  • aim to respond within 10 business days of receipt of a complete application.

This means you:

  • save time
  • have more certainty
  • require fewer changes later in the process.

To be eligible you must:

  • include “Future Homes Project Application” in the email subject field
  • reference Future Homes in any plans or accompanying documentation
  • include information specified under “What to submit”.

Submit your application via email to Transport for Victoria at statutory.planning@roads.vic.gov.au.

Pre-development advice for Transport for Victoria

To receive a referral response within the indicated timeframe, plans must be prepared in accordance with the application and design requirements set out below. Failure to include items could result in a request for further information.

This is not an exhaustive list, it is provided to assist applicants.

Survey plan

A feature survey plan must be submitted, showing all features of the road in proximity to the site, including:

  • street trees
  • utility poles
  • pits
  • bus stops
  • line-markings
  • slip lanes
  • medium strips
  • traffic/pedestrian lights.

Design requirements

Tram lines

Where tram lines exist, access to the property should be confined to left-in and left-out only arrangements.


Crossovers must be set back:

  • at least 1.5 metres (with no part closer than 1.0 metres) from any public transport assets
  • at least 1.0 metres from infrastructure/ utility poles
  • at least 9 metres from an intersection.

Accessways must:

  • Provide a passing area at the entrance at least 6.1 metres wide and 7 metres long where an accessway serves:
    • 10 or more cars and is more than 50 metres long or
    • connects to a road in a Transport Zone 2 (TRZ2).
  • Be designed so that cars can exit the site in a forward direction, if the accessway serves four or more car spaces or connects to a road in a TRZ2.
  • Have a corner splay or area at least 50 per cent clear of visual obstructions extending at least 2 metres along the frontage road from the edge of an exit lane and 2.5 metres along the exit lane from the frontage, to provide a clear view of pedestrians on the footpath of the frontage road. The area clear of visual obstructions may include an adjacent entry or exit lane where more than one lane is provided, or adjacent landscaped areas, provided the landscaping in those areas is less than 900mm in height.
  • Be set back a minimum of 7 metres inside the property boundary for any security boom, barrier, gate, or similar device controlling vehicular access to the premises, to allow vehicles to stay clear of the road pavement and footpath.
  • Provide clear directional signs on the arterial road frontage if one-way access is proposed.
  • If an accessway to four or more car parking spaces is from land in a TRZ2, the access to the car spaces must be at least 6 metres from the road carriageway.
  • If entry to the car space is from a road, the width of the accessway may include the road.
Car parking

Car parking spaces must be provided in accordance with the dimensions outlined in Chapter 2.3 of Part 1 of the Building Future Homes Adaptation Guide, titled ‘Parking: cars’.

Where car parking is provided in mechanical stackers:

  • at least 25 % of the mechanical car parking spaces must accommodate a vehicle height of at least 1.8 metres
  • car parking dimensions and swept paths to mechanical stackers must meet the B99th percentile
  • car parking spaces that require the operation of the system must not be allocated to visitors unless used in a valet parking situation.

Guidance and resources

Understand the package of information you must submit with every Future Homes adaptation referral:

Purchase a Future Homes design

If you know which plan you want, you can purchase the plans online. Create an account to purchase plans and manage your referral online.

Create an account

Check if your site is eligible for a Future Homes design

To find out more about purchasing a Future Homes design, email futurehomessales@delwp.vic.gov.au.

For enquires about planning and referrals, email futurehomes@delwp.vic.gov.au.

Page last updated: 06/02/24