Better Apartment Design Standards are changing the way we live

5 years ago
2 minutes

The Victorian government introduced a reform in 2017 called the Better Apartments Design Standards — otherwise known as BADS — aimed at improving the liveability of apartments. Here are some ways in which we’re seeing the results in new buildings designed since then.


Previously, apartment buildings have been known to sit too close to one another, which can be problematic for the tenants. The new guidelines address the setback of a building and its boundaries in proximity to the buildings and amenities surrounding it.

This means apartment buildings can’t exist too close to other buildings and ensures each residence has enough privacy and access to daylight. It also means you have a better chance of securing an apartment with decent views.


It’s always been harder to find an apartment with enough space, for an affordable price, which is why the guidelines states rooms need to be a minimum of 3 metres wide and 3 metres deep. Anything less is deemed untenable.


Image: Laila


Hearing your neighbour in the apartment next door flush the toilet in the middle of the night doesn’t make for the best ambient sound. Now, apartments are being developed more carefully. Developers are thinking about the location of noise sensitive rooms, such as bedrooms, and placing them further away from the entry hallway.


The standards state that developers need to include solar power panels, and living areas and private open spaces should be located on the north side of the development wherever possible. Developments like Bedford by Milieu and 17 Union Street feature alternate water sources such as rainwater, stormwater and recycled water, as specified by BADS.

Outdoor areas

The guidelines recommend that every new apartment should have its own private open space — regardless of its placement within a building. For apartments on a ground floor, the outdoor space should be a minimum of 25sqm, and 15sqm for a podium apartment. An upstairs one or two bedroom apartment should have 8sqm of open private space while any with more than three bedrooms need 12sqm.

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