What are the relevant legislations for architects on the North Shore?

For those in the architectural space, it’s crucial to understand the relevant NSW legislation. But let’s be fair, unless you enjoy reading legislative documents in your downtime, it can be challenging to stay on top of what you need to know.

And with different areas that require up-to-date knowledge of changes to regulations and guidelines, how do we ensure any North Shore designs we’re working on are compliant with all necessary requirements?

dictionary definition of Legislation

First, what legislation and guidelines do architects need to know about?

Architects do much more than simply sketch up a design. We support our clients through every stage, including construction management and the DA process.

And by staying informed about the relevant laws and council compliance, we can make sure we’re meeting project requirements, avoiding fines and reputational damage, and perhaps most importantly, keep projects on track.

But what are some legislations North Shore architects should be aware of?

Silhouette engineer standing orders for construction crews to work on high ground heavy industry and safety concept

1. Building Code of Australia (BCA)

The BCA sets technical standards and requirements for design and construction of buildings.

It covers various aspects, including structural integrity, fire safety, energy efficiency, accessibility and more.

Architects in the North Shore area and other parts of NSW need to comply with the BCA when designing and constructing buildings.

Hand Point Mention Save World Environment Awareness Conference

2. Local Environmental Plans (LEPs)

LEPs provide guidance on land use and development in specific local areas, including zoning, building height restrictions and heritage conservation areas – and much more.

For North Shore architects, we work across the following councils:

  • North Sydney Council
  • Willoughby City Council
  • Mosman Council
  • Hunters Hill Council
  • Ku-ring-gai Council
  • Northern Beaches Council
  • Hornsby City Council

The councils’ LEPs are updated periodically to include various amendments to factors like building height controls, floor space ratios and site rezoning.

The councils require compliance with the LEP controls. For projects that do not comply with a LEP requirement, a robust justification is required.

Architect Engineer Design Working on Blueprint Planning

3. Development Control Plans (DCPs)

DCPs provide guidelines for building design and construction in specific areas, including requirements for setbacks, landscaping and building materials.

DCPs vary from council to council so it is imperative to have a thorough knowledge of each council’s DCP when working on the North Shore.

DCPs cover other areas of development that aren’t covered by the LEPs, and while the inclusions of the DCPs aren’t legally bound, they do carry a lot of weight when it comes to assessing DA applications.

It’s best practice to know what’s expected in accordance with your local council’s DCP at the outset of a project.

Village for seniors

4. State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs)

State Environmental Planning Policies (SEPPs) control land use and development in NSW by providing policies and rules across different focus areas, such as housing, transport and infrastructure, biodiversity, industry and employment, and resources and energy.

Architects throughout NSW need to consider the relevant SEPPs when designing projects to ensure compliance with the specified environmental requirements.

We work with the SEPP Seniors Living in our retirement village designs.

In fact, adhering to the SEPP has allowed us to create a winning formula for SEPP developments and senior housing design. So you certainly don’t need to feel contained by any policies that may impact your designs.

To stay compliant with the architectural laws and guidelines on the North Shore, it’s important to be proactive, pay attention to the details, and be engaged in this exciting, vibrant industry.

Blueprint floor plan

At Playoust Churcher we aren’t just architects

Our services go beyond just design. Sure, we need to – and do – remain compliant with the relevant North Shore design legislations. But we partner with clients for the long haul.

Not only do we design the concept, we also work with construction teams as consultants to help you keep costs – and headaches – to an absolute minimum.

We remain aware of the ever-evolving regulations and guidelines that we must follow, so you can see your project through from start to finish. And we’ll be there with you every step of the way.

Contact us today to make the first step towards building your dream project – whatever it may be!

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11 Marian Street
Killara NSW 2071

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