The NSW government will fast-track buildings that utilise high-quality, pre-approved designs — streamlining the construction process of homes for buyers and renters.
A pattern book of endorsed housing designs for both low-rise and mid-rise (up to six storeys) buildings is currently being developed by the state government.
The NSW Government Architect Abbie Galvin is leading a process of developing the pre-approved list of designs, alongside established private-sector architects, as well as the community, as part of a comprehensive consultation process.
As part of this process, the government will launch an international competition, calling on Australian and international architects and architecture schools to design a best-practice Sydney terrace and mid-rise apartment for the 21st century.
The winning designs will be included in the pattern book.
Developers who choose to adopt the endorsed pattern book designs will have an accelerated approval pathway — which will accelerate constructions times, meaning that families will be able to move into their new homes sooner.
The state government is working hard to change the trajectory on the long-term housing supply crisis.
NSW has been completing fewer new builds (on a per person basis) than Victoria or Queensland, last year also recording fewer overall completions than Victoria – despite NSW’s higher population.
The housing supply shortfall follows after the increase of Sydney unit rents by 24 per cent over the year to the end of September 2023, along with house rents increasing by 11 per cent.
The development of low-rise and mid-rise terraces and apartments will support density in well-located pockets of Sydney — close to transport, green space, amenities and jobs.
While the pattern book will be attractive for some developers, it will not be compulsory; builders and their architects can still design bespoke developments that will go through the regular approval pathway.
The state government wants the community involved in this process, as the public will be able to view draft designs and provide feedback.
In addition to the pattern book and design competition for low-rise and medium-rise dwellings, the government will also help developers of high-rise apartments to begin construction processes sooner.
Commencing with well-located places supported by transport infrastructure, the NSW government will allow developers of high-rise to select a designer from a list pre-approved by the NSW Government Architect.
This new process will allow developers to bypass the current requirement to run a design competition, cutting down assessment times down to between six and 12 months.
Details of the competition will be announced early in 2024.