Here are some useful resources to help get you started with building a Future Home.
Guidance for adapting a Future Homes design to suit your site
Understand Melbourne Water’s referral process and requirements
Understand Transport for Victoria’s referral process and requirements
Understand the package of information you must submit with every Future Homes adaptation referral
Understand the terms and licensing arrangements for using a Future Homes design
- Adaptation guide – Building Future Homes: Adaptation guide
- BADS – Better Apartment Design Standards
- DELWP – Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning
- OVGA – Office of the Victorian Government Architect
- The Act – Planning and Environment Act 1987
Future Homes designs and Exemplar designs are the same thing, that is town-planning level plans that can be adapted to suit different site. The names are used inter-changeably, with Exemplar Design predominately used in technical documentation.
All Future Homes proposals must meet 13 mandatory design and planning controls on top of compliance with Future Homes requirements which are equivalent to BADS. In some instances, Future Homes requirements exceed BADS.
Future Homes are designed to be an exemplary product, they raise the bar in design quality, liveability, and sustainability.
They are low-scale apartment buildings, that do not exceed the maximum height limit specified under the General Residential Zone, or a schedule, and designed to be adaptable into the suburbs enabling gentle density.
They are designed to be better homes for future occupants, better neighbours to those living next door and better for the environment.
The layout and design go above and beyond what’s currently provided in typical apartment developments delivered by the market. They include:
- Plenty of access to natural light
- 100% effective natural ventilation Improved accessibility features that exceed current standards
- Excellent environmental performance including a minimum 7.5 star average NatHERS rating across the development, with 6.5 star minimum for any individual apartment
- Generous and high quality communal and private open space
- Facilities that support sustainable and active transport.
The design teams and technical consultants paid particular attention to the balance of initial construction costs with whole-of-life considerations of maintenance, running costs and occupant well-being.
The designs have been tested and performance requirements and construction realities have been embedded into the final outcomes, including the following:
- Reduction of car parking spaces required per dwelling to balance dwelling yield and support garden planting opportunity
- Designs developed with input and feasibility testing from apartment developers and expert quantity surveyors
- Inherent flexibility of structural solutions and construction approaches, so long as clearly defined design intent and building performance targets are met
- A focus on simple building forms with rational structural alignment and simple spans
- Use of repeated building elements and layouts
- Flexibility in options for external cladding materials, with interior finishes and fitouts open to being tailored to the individual brief and specific market for the development
- Future proofing buildings for ageing in place, increased universal design, and improved energy and thermal performance.
In addition, by participating in Future Homes, you will have access to the streamlined planning process with the potential of obtaining approval within 4 months.
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, there will be no third-party appeal rights. To ensure applicants, build high quality Future Homes there needs to be a balance to offset the cost of delivering high quality homes, with a faster planning process. There will be multiple checks throughout the planning process, with both DELWP and the OVGA involved before council considers the application.
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.
As per usual planning processes, residents may choose to write in support of the application, provide suggestions on further refinements or object to the proposal. However, third party appeal rights are not possible, this means that once council makes a decision on an application, the decision cannot be appealed by an objector to the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
You can have confidence that the designs of a Future Home proposal are already starting with a raised bar and have undergone a rigorous assessment process by the DELWP and the OVGA prior to council receiving the application.
Future Homes are exemplary designs and apartments that go above industry standards. Future Homes provides:
- Bicycle parking: 1 space per apartment for residents
- Environmentally Sustainable Design:
- achieves a 7.5 star NatHERS average rating across all apartments, with no individual apartment less than 6.5 stars
- achieve a BESS overall score of 70 percent or higher: an ‘Excellence’ score
- achieve a 100 percent Stormwater Treatment Objective
- Accessibility with a minimum of 50 percent of apartments are Future Homes Accessible (equivalent to 'Gold Performance Level' under Liveable Housing Design Guidelines)
- Wider building entry and circulation areas
- Natural ventilation, with 100% of dwellings provided with effective cross ventilation
When designing a regular three-storey apartment building, consideration must be given to a range of standards and requirements in the VPPs and in particular, Clause 55.07 – Apartment Developments. Many of these standards are discretionary, and an application may seek to vary these. To ensure Future Homes are exemplary, 13 of these requirements have been made mandatory, and in some cases, go beyond what is required and cannot be varied.
The 13 mandatory standards are:
- Gardens: Generous landscaped areas and canopy trees and room for deep soil planting
- Communal open space: Generous, accessible and a nice space for residents to foster a sense of community
- Solar access to communal open space: communal open space that is not significantly overshadowed and receives sunlight
- Sustainable: Homes that lead the State in environmentally sustainable design. The sustainability of Future Homes will go above and beyond what is currently industry best practice*
- Adaptable: Homes that are adaptable over-time, to change with a household’s needs*
- Accessible: Homes that are accessible, with wider entries, corridors, doors and larger bathrooms that allow space to move*
- Functional rooms: Rooms that are generous and efficient in size with layouts that work
- Room depths: Well-proportioned rooms that have good access to daylight
- Light-filled bedrooms: Bedrooms will have good access to daylight
- Ventilated: Homes that are well ventilated and have through breezes*
- Storage: Adequate and convenient storage provided for all homes
- Car parking: At least 1 space per dwelling
- Bicycle parking: At least 1 space per dwelling, plus additional spaces for visitors*.
* Indicates above current standards.
Future Homes is proposed to be trialled through a two-year program within partnering pilot councils.
Following the trial, a thorough review process will be undertaken by the Victorian Government, with input from the council, community, and industry, to assess the benefits of the program as well as areas which may need to be further refined or expanded.
Following the review and refinement process, Future Homes could be rolled out more widely.
Prior to purchasing the designs, you would have reviewed the free Design Intent Plans and done your own viability review or engage a designer to assist with review.
Once you have purchased the designs you will need to refer to the adaptation guide and adapt the plans to suit your site.
Consultant costs associated with adapting the designs may be incurred.
The Future Homes project is currently a pilot and being tested to see how the industry and community respond to the project. DELWP and the OVGA will be involved in the application process to ensure the core elements of the apartments are not eroded and better apartments are delivered.
Furthermore, a significant amount of research and testing of the designs and locational criteria has been undertaken between council and DELWP. This work allows for greater certainty to be provided as part of the planning assessment that Future Homes will deliver better apartments in appropriate locations.
Gentle density is modest infill development making the most of existing urban land. It promotes lot consolidation and more efficient use of land in areas well serviced by public transport and services. Gentle density is something that can already occur in the General Residential Zone, however, Future Homes will be providing highly resolved, considered and high-quality architecturally designed responses to our urban areas where modest increases in density are encouraged.
Page last updated: 02/11/22