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Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP)

Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP)

Along with other councils within Melbourne, we consider environmental performance when assessing planning permit applications within the City of Whittlesea.

Did you know that construction is responsible for 40% of materials that are sent to landfill? In Australia the energy use of buildings produces 20% of the country's greenhouse gas emissions.

Considering environmentally sustainable design early on in your construction is a cost effective way to optimise a building's energy efficiency and improve the level of comfort and amenity it provides.

The SDAPP framework includes 10 sustainable design categories that consider a range of design issues. Factsheets are available for each category.

Factsheets and guidance

Assessment tool - Built Environment Sustainable Scorecard (BESS)

The BESS is a new online sustainability assessment tool, purpose built for the SDAPP framework. This replaces the previous STEPS and SDS tools, and is the preferred tool for new applications.

The BESS tool:

  • is free for planning permit applicants to use
  • assesses any size and type of building, including mixed-use developments
  • can be used to benchmark against other developments
  • provides liveability and useability benefits for building owners and users

What kind of assessment do I need to undertake?

If you are applying for a planning permit to construct a new building or to extend an existing building, your planning application will be assessed in relation to environmentally sustainable design as part of the permit application process.

Larger developments are expected to meet a higher level of sustainable design than small developments.

Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA): an SDA is a simple sustainability assessment that can be completed by an applicant or architect using a free online tool such as BESS.

Sustainability Management Plan (SMP): as SMP is a more comprehensive assessment, and each criteria must identify relevant sustainability targets or performance standards and document how these will be achieved. You will normally need to engage a sustainability consultant to prepare an SMP.

The following shows our expectations for developments in the municipality:

  • Developments of 5 to 9 dwellings or 500 to 2000 square metres of commercial, educational or community floorspace require a Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA) demonstrating how sustainability measures have been incorporated into the design.
  • Developments of 10 to 29 dwellings or 2000 to 5000 square metres of commercial, educational or community floorspace require a Sustainability Management Plan (SMP) showing how the development achieves a medium to high density ESD performance.
  • Developments of more than 29 dwellings or more than 5000 square metres of commercial, educational or community floorspace require a Sustainability Management Plan showing how the development achieves a high level ESD performance. 

Please note that incorporating environmentally sustainable design into a new development is now a requirement for developments within the Epping Central Activity Centre Zone.