NSW initiatives to fast-track building

An Australian-based international competition to design best-practice low- and mid-rise apartment buildings will be launched in 2024.

The NSW Government initiative is part of the state’s plans to fast-track buildings with high-quality, pre-approved designs to speed up the construction of housing to make a dent in the housing supply crisis.

It has been revealed that the state has been completing fewer new builds than Victoria or Queensland and last year, it also recorded fewer overall completions than Victoria despite NSW’s higher population.

The NSW government is now developing a “pattern book” of endorsed housing designs for low-rise (terraces, semis, manor houses) and mid-rise (up to six storeys) apartment buildings. The designs will be specific to Sydney, made for the NSW climate, allow for natural light and include community spaces.

The winning designs of the competition will be included in the pattern book according to the state minister for Planning Paul Scully.

“Developers who choose to adopt the endorsed pattern book designs will have an accelerated approval pathway – meaning builders can get on site faster,” he said.

However, the pathway for developers is not compulsory and bespoke development can still go through the regular approval process.

The NSW Government also intends to allow high-rise developers to select a designer from a list pre-approved by the NSW Government Architect, allowing Sydney developers to bypass the current requirement to run a design competition thus slashing assessment times by 6-12 months. If successful, the government will look at rolling this out state-wide.

Image: Harold Park’s Locano. Source: Urban Taskforce

About the author

Desi Corbett

Desi is our weekly news journalist and the editor of Concrete in Australia magazine for 10 years. She has been heavily involved in all forms of engineering since 2013; part of a 30-year writing career across a range of subjects and media.