28 July 2014 — BRIEF: The Australian Institute of Architects has released a statement on the leaked draft apartment design standards from the Office of the Victorian Government Architect, which according to reports proposes minimum apartment sizes.

Responding to developer claims that the move to mandate minimums would impact on housing affordability, national president David Karotkin said: “In reality, developers are motivated by profit not affordability. They seek to build as cheaply as possible and to sell for as much as possible. Fair enough. That is why regulation of minimum standards is essential to protect the interests of occupants now and into the future, long after the developers have taken their profits and moved on.”

Mr Karotkin said the current high demand for dwellings had skewed market forces in favour of developers seeking quick profits, which made controls more important to protect against a “poor housing legacy”.

He said the AIA supported a NSW State Environmental Planning Policy 65-style model, which sets design standards for residential apartments and requires residential flat buildings to be designed by registered architects, and called for similar planning legislation to be implemented nationwide.

“Affordability includes the cost of ongoing energy consumption and building maintenance (costs that are not borne by the developer), all of which can be reduced through quality design,” Mr Karotkin said.

“By adopting [a] SEPP65-style framework, performance based design quality guidelines can be applied in a flexible way to allow innovative design solutions which lead to improved affordability, housing diversity and improved living standards – now and into the future.”