Introduction

Applicability

These conditions apply as Detailed Conditions of Planning, Design and Development to works within Designated Areas of the National Capital Plan. The conditions are subject to amendment by the Authority from time to time.

Aim

The broad aim that will be applied by the Authority in the exercise of its obligations under the Act may be derived from the paragraphs which follow.

The Authority subscribes to the belief that an individual should, in the ordering of his own affairs, suffer the minimum restrictions and inconveniences imposed by administrative controls. On the other hand, Canberra is a unique city. As a national capital it has special purpose and character and this imposes responsibilities on persons planning the city and obligations on those carrying out development in it. This is particularly the case within Designated Areas.

In exercising control over development within Designated Areas of the National Capital, the Authority is guided by a desire to have quality, character and permanence consistent with the concept of a national capital in all construction. It seeks to develop an atmosphere of civil dignity and domestic amenity. Its aim is to ensure that development in all forms will not take away from but rather add to the value of the total investment in Canberra. That is to say, development must complement and enrich its surroundings.

1. Conditions For Detached Houses

Introduction

In relation to a detached house, the objectives of the policies are to provide for the residential amenity of the occupants of the house and the maintenance of amenity of adjoining houses and to ensure that an acceptable environmental quality is obtained in the neighbourhood.

The Authority expects the builders and owners of houses in Designated Areas to take advantage of opportunities provided by the conditions for achieving a harmonious and satisfying environment for living.

1. General Conditions

1.1 Performance and Quantitative Standard

The quantitative standards contained in these conditions are objective guides to the performance standards adopted by the Authority.

Compliance with the quantitative standards will therefore not necessarily result in works approval unless the performance standards have, in the opinion of the Authority, also been achieved.

On the other hand, works approval may be given under special circumstances when the performance standards can be achieved without complete compliance with the quantitative standards.

1.2 Group Schemes

One objective of offering leases in a group is to encourage a high standard of compatibility and amenity in the design and siting of buildings erected on the leases. Buildings should be related by careful siting and choice of materials, colour and roof lines. Amenity will be served by siting buildings to enable privacy and quietness and to limit the adverse effects of climate and maximise its advantages.

When buildings to be erected on leases, however offered, are planned as a group, the general conditions may be varied to the extent required to give effect to a proposal acceptable to the Authority.

For the purpose of these conditions, two adjoining leases may be considered as a group on the application of the lessees.

1.3 Conditions established prior to the Offer or Grant of a Lease

Any special design and siting requirements contained in the conditions of lease, or in the conditions of building approval, or in any plan or document that is exhibited or otherwise made available for public inspection prior to the offer or grant of a lease, shall constitute the Authority's conditions in respect of the development of a lease and shall over-ride any other condition stated herein with which it may conflict. If considered by the Authority to be relevant such requirements shall apply to any subsequent alteration, extension or rebuilding. The general conditions will also apply with the exception of those that are modified by any special design and siting requirements notified prior to the offer or grant of a lease.

1.4 Rebuilding

The Authority will consider a proposal for rebuilding or any major alteration of an existing building which materially alters the bulk or appearance of the building, only if it is accompanied by a plan indicating a scheme of comprehensive development of the block in accordance with announced policies for the area in which the block is located.

1.5 Garages and Carports

If it is not intended to erect a garage or carport at the time of lodging a plan for a new detached house, the plan should show by means of a dotted line the place where a garage or carport could be erected.

2. Buildings In Relation To Front Boundaries

Preamble

Since Canberra's inception the garden city concept has been an integral part of the residential environment. This has been achieved by an emphasis on the landscaping of streets and front gardens and upon the avoidance of structures in front of dwellings discordant with the suburban streetscape. These principles underlie the performance and quantitative standards which follow.

2.1 Performance Standards

The planning objectives in requiring buildings to be set back given distances from front property boundaries are:

  1. to enable a building to be sited so that its occupants can, as far as possible, be assured of an outlook that will not be obstructed by neighbouring buildings that might otherwise be erected closer to the front property boundary ;
  2. to provide an area adjacent to the street or open space for landscape treatment so that the garden character which is a major environmental feature of suburban Canberra can be preserved and maintained;
  3. in certain circumstances, to protect the sight lines of drivers of motor vehicles.

Quantitative Standards

2.2 Main Avenues

The building lines for all buildings on main avenues except in the City Division shall not be less than 10.5 metres from the front property boundary. On certain major roads, the building lines shall be as determined by the Authority.

2.3 One Storey Buildings

The building line of a one storey building may be more than but shall not be less than 6 metres from the front property boundary .

2.4 Buildings of more than one storey

The building line of buildings of more than one storey may be more than but shall not be less than 7.5 metres from the front property boundary .

2.5 Corner Blocks

Each corner block shall have two building lines. The building line in respect to the major frontage shall be in accordance with 2.3 and 2.4 above. The building line in respect to the minor frontage shall be not less than 4.5 metres in the case of a one storey building and not less than 6 metres in the case of a two storey building.

2.6 Structures in front of Buildings

  1. Except where provided for below, no structure, including fences, car shelters or clothes hoists, but excluding lighting posts, letter boxes and retaining walls of a reasonable height shall be permitted between a minimum building line and a front property boundary .
  2. Where a pedestrian walkway abuts a block along the side boundary, a fence or wall not exceeding 1.2 metres in height may be permitted.
  3. Walls and/or fences not exceeding 1.2 metres in height may be erected along frontage boundaries abutting pedestrian walkways .
  4. Walls and/or fences not exceeding 1.2 metres in height may be permitted between the building line and a frontage boundary abutting a designated open space, where in the Authority's opinion the proposed fence or wall will create no adverse affect on the landscape character of the open space.
  5. Walls, including gates, may be erected to enclose or partly enclose a courtyard in front of the minimum building line provided that:
    • The courtyard so formed shall not at any point traverse more than one half of the width of the block measured at the same point and shall be a minimum distance of 3.0 metres from the front property boundary
    • The walls and gates shall not exceed a height of 1.8 metres above natural ground level
    • Materials shall be the same as or similar to those of the main building
    • The walls and gates shall be at least partially screened and softened in appearance by landscape planting to the satisfaction of the Authority
    • For corner blocks a courtyard may be provided in respect of each property frontage.
  6. Gates may be permitted abutting front property boundaries, provided they are incorporated in existing hedges. Gates in hedges shall not exceed 1.8 metres in height or such lesser height as the Authority may determine in a particular case having consideration for the nature of the hedge. For the purpose of this condition a hedge must be well established and vigorous at the time of lodgement of an application for a gate.

3. Buildings In Relation To Side Boundaries

3.1 Performance Standard

Requirements for side distances are intended to achieve the following objectives:

  1. to allow adequate light and ventilation and to preserve the privacy of neighbours
  2. in some cases to provide a space wide enough for vehicles to pass by the house on one side at least
  3. to provide access for fire control and to inhibit the easy escape of fire
  4. to create a spatial separation between detached buildings for reasons of civic design.

Quantitative Standards

3.2 One Storey Buildings

The minimum distance between the side walls of a one storey building and the side boundary of a block shall be a combined distance of 4.5 metres with a minimum distance on any one side of 1.8 metres.

3.3 Buildings of more than one storey

The minimum distance between the side wall of a building of more than one storey and the side boundary shall be H/2 for an effective frontage of up to 23 metres, plus an additional 0.5 metres for every 3 metres of effective frontage over 23 metres, provided that the distance between the side wall and the boundary is at least 3 metres.

H = Height of building

'Height of building' means the difference between the mean natural ground level of that length of the side boundary which is adjacent to the building and the highest point or points of the parapet, eaves or fascia in the case of flat roofs or roofs pitched at less than 45 degrees. Where the roof is pitched at more than 45 degrees the highest point shall be measured to a line midway between the top of the eaves or fascia and the ridge.

4. Buildings In Relation To Rear Boundaries

4.1 Performance Standard

Requirements for rear distances are intended to allow adequate light and ventilation to preserve the privacy of neighbours and to ensure the provision of a service yard.

4.2 Quantitative Standards

The minimum distance between the rear wall of a single storey building and the rear property boundary shall be 4 metres and the corresponding distance for a 2 storey building shall be 7.5 metres.

5. Plot Ratio

Performance Standard

The application of a plot ratio is intended to place an upper limit on the amount of floor space in a building development on a site.

Quantitative Standards

5.2 Plot Ratio

The plot ratio shalt not be greater than 0.35 for a block larger than 550 square metres or 0.4 for a block smaller than 450 square metres provided that a building or buildings with floor space of up to 192 square metres may be erected on a block larger than 450 square metres. (N.B. Note definition of gross floor area).

6. Garages, Carports And Outbuildings - Exceptions

Performance Standard

Exceptions to the above policies with respect to setbacks and building lines of garages, carports and outbuildings are permitted in certain circumstances to achieve greater opportunities for use of the lessee's block, without adversely affecting the neighbouring blocks.

Quantitative Standards

6.2 Building to Side or Rear Boundaries Behind Rear Wall of Main Buildings

A garage, carport or outbuilding may be erected behind the rear wall of the main building on or adjacent to the side or rear boundary if the walls on or adjacent to that boundary have no perforations and are of an approved material. The wall should not exceed a mean of 2.5 metres in height measured from the natural ground level and shall not exceed 24 square metres in area.

6.3 Building to Side Boundary alongside Main Building

  1. A carport may be erected beside a building on or adjacent to a side boundary and may be enclosed on the side by a wall constructed of brick, masonry or other similar material approved by the Authority provided that the wall does not exceed a mean of 2.5 metres in height measured from the natural ground level, nor 18 square metres in area.
  2. A garage may be erected on or adjacent to a side boundary provided that there is not less than 1.8 metres between the garage and the main building erected on the block and provided that the wall on or adjacent to the boundary has no perforations and is constructed of brick or masonry or other similar material approved by the Authority and does not exceed a mean of 2.5 metres in height measured from the natural ground level nor 18 square metres in area.

6.4 Garages in Front of the Building Line

In special circumstances, for example, where a block has a gradient of more than 1 in 10, the Authority may approve the erection of a garage in front of the building line .

6.5 Walls and Fences

Walls and fences may be erected on or adjacent to the side or rear boundaries (but behind the front building line ) to a height of 1.8 metres above natural ground level. Proposals for walls or fences in excess of that height shall be subject to special consideration.

7. Height

Quantitative Standards

Detached houses shall not be more than two storeys in height . Although certain sites enable the inclusion of basement and/or attic storeys, designs should not be adapted to take advantage of any allowance for basement and attic in circumstances where the design is unsuitable both in relation to the site and the neighbouring buildings.

8. External Appearance Of Buildings

Performance Standard

The external treatment of buildings including materials, colours and general standard of finish, shall ensure that the buildings, walls, etc shall be appropriate to and not discordant with the general development and amenity of the locality.

Quantitative Standards

8.2 Roofs

Permanently highly reflective metal roofs will not be approved. Tiled roofs having a strong pattern or marked colour contrast will not be approved.

8.3 Structures above Roofs

  1. Except as provided for below, structures above roofs shall not be permitted.
  2. Structures necessary under the ACT building regulations, and solar energy devices, may be permitted. Proposals may be subject to conditions in respect of type, position, size, height or appearance.
  3. External television antennae affixed at the rear of the main building in the least conspicuous position when viewed from public areas, may be permitted to extend no more than 1.5 m above the highest point of the roof.
  4. External television antennae not meeting the requirements of 8.3(c) above may be permitted where the need for the proposal for reasonable reception of Canberra channels is established by a report from an appropriately qualified technician.
  5. A radio transmitter mast or aerial should be on a freestanding structure at the rear of the main building in the least conspicuous position when viewed from public areas.

2. Conditions For Buildings Other Than Detached Houses

1. General Conditions

1.1 Conditions Established Prior to the Offer or Grant of a Lease

Any special design and siting requirements contained in the conditions of lease, or in the conditions of building approval, or in any plan or document that is exhibited or otherwise made available for public inspection prior to the offer or grant of a lease, shall constitute the Authority's conditions in respect of the development of a lease and shall over-ride any other condition stated herein with which it may conflict. If considered by the Authority to be relevant such requirements shall apply to any subsequent alteration, extension or rebuilding. The general conditions will also apply with the exception of those that are modified by any special design and siting requirements notified prior to the offer or grant of a lease.

1.2 Re-Building

The Authority will consider a proposal for re-building or any major alterations of an existing building which materially alters the bulk or appearance of the building, only if it is accompanied by a plan indicating a scheme of comprehensive development of the block in accordance with announced policies for the area in which the block is located.

2. Relationship Between Neighbouring Buildings

The height, bulk, form, siting and character of building proposals in relation to neighbouring buildings, roads and landscape shall not be conducive to congestion of parking and road facilities in the locality, and shall ensure a harmonious relationship with adjoining buildings. To implement this general policy, it is necessary for the following design and siting controls to be exercised. In special circumstances, it may be necessary for the Authority to determine additional conditions to those set out hereunder.

2.1 Coverage

Unless otherwise specifically provided for, the area occupied by buildings including any out-buildings on a block shall not generally exceed one-half of the total area of the block.

2.2 Height

Generally, the height of any building shall not exceed two storeys .

2.3 Plot Ratio

The Plot Ratio shall not be greater than 0.40 for residential buildings other than detached houses, and 1.00 for commercial and industrial buildings, unless otherwise specifically provided for.

2.4 Building Line and Set Backs

The Design and Siting Conditions for Detached Houses with respect to set backs from the front, side and rear boundaries shall apply to residential buildings other than detached houses .

The building lines and set backs for commercial and industrial buildings shall be such distances as may be approved in particular circumstances.

3. External Appearance Of Buildings

The external treatment of buildings, including materials, colours and general standards of finish shall ensure that the buildings, walls, fences and other ancillary structures shall be appropriate to and not discordant with the general development and amenity of the locality.

To implement this general condition it is necessary for the following design and siting conditions to be exercised. In special circumstances, it may be necessary for the Authority to determine additional design and siting conditions to those set out hereunder.

3.1 Roofs

Permanently highly reflective metal roofs will not be approved.

Generally, tiled roofs having a strong pattern or marked colour contrast will not be approved.

3.2 Structures above Roofs

The Design and Siting Conditions for Detached Houses with respect to structures above roofs shall apply to buildings other than detached houses .

3.3 Facades

Generally, all facades of commercial and industrial buildings and returns shall be of durable and low maintenance material and be subject to approval in respect of proportions, fenestrations, materials and colours having regard to the building itself and its relationship to adjoining buildings.

3.4 Screening Walls

Generally, where service areas are visible from the road or a public reserve a screening wall or fence will be required. Where a commercial or industrial building is not constructed along the full frontage of the block, a screen wall with gates may be required between the building and the front and/or side boundaries of the block .

3.5 Structures in Front of Buildings

Generally no structures shall be erected between the building line and the front property boundary .

3.6 Landscaping and Other Matters

In order to satisfy the objectives contained in the general conditions it may be necessary for the Authority to require the submission of acceptable landscape proposals as a condition of approval.

4. Siting Of Buildings

The siting of buildings on blocks shall ensure adequate space for access, internal circulations, parking, off-street loading, light, air and landscaping. To implement this general condition it is necessary for the following design and siting conditions to be exercised. In special circumstances, it may be necessary for the Authority to determine additional design and siting conditions to those set out hereunder.

4.1 Access

Vehicular entrances and exits for all blocks shall be of sufficient width having regard to their probable use and be located in a position which, in the opinion of the Authority, is not hazardous to traffic safety and not likely to create traffic congestion.

4.2 Internal Circulation

Where appropriate, adequate provision must be made for internal vehicular circulation on sites leased for residential buildings other than detached houses and for commercial and industrial buildings.

4.3 Parking

Off-street parking spaces, open or enclosed, shall be provided for all new buildings and enlargements or conversions of existing buildings in accordance with the following provisions where relevant or other agreed standards:

Parking Arrangements
Type of Building Minimum parking space requirement
Residential Building 2 spaces per dwelling unit if such unit is designed for family accommodation and 1 space per dwelling unit plus adequate space for visitor parking if such unit is designed for single accommodation.
Motels, HotelsGuest Houses, 1 space per bedroom and/or rooming unit.
Commercial and 1 space per two employees except in areas where the parking
Industrial Building requirement is varied by policy instrument.
Institutional To be determined for each building proposal depending on use, building floorspace, employees, visitors and location.

4.4 Off-Street Loading

In order to satisfy the objectives contained within the general conditions, it may be necessary for the Authority to require that facilities for loading and unloading of goods be provided wholly within the boundaries of the block .

3. Signs

Preamble

Carefully designed and positioned signs in addition to fulfilling their roles of informing, directing and advertising may positively enhance and enliven Canberra's major commercial and tourist areas and aid in giving imageability and form to the city. Conversely, insensitive or poorly designed and constructed signs may detract from the architectural appearance of buildings and adversely affect the pleasantness and general amenity of business and residential areas to a marked degree.

The benefits to be gained from signs in business areas can only occur if scope exists for innovative, imaginative and responsible design. Emphasis should be placed on constructive dialogue between the Authority and applicants to achieve standards of design and construction commensurate with the amenity and sensitivity of the locality of a particular application. Residential development is regarded as being vulnerable to the impact of signage and prescribed standards are considered appropriate to ensure that there is no diminution of residential amenity .

1. General Conditions

  1. The type, position, size, appearance, illumination, animation, content or other characteristics of any proposed sign shall ensure a quality and character of appearance both by day and night which, in the opinion of the Authority, befits the National Capital.
  2. The Authority shall refuse to approve any sign where it is of the opinion that the type, position, size, appearance, illumination, animation, content or other characteristics of the sign may adversely affect:
    1. the amenity of the locality or neighbourhood with particular regard to nearby residential development
    2. the architectural character or appearance of a building
    3. traffic safety
    4. a 'place' within the meaning of and subject to the provisions of the Australian Heritage Commission Act 1975.
      The Authority shall also refuse to approve any sign which it considers offensive.
  3. The Authority shall not grant approval of an application with the respect to the external design and siting of any structure or sign unless such structure or sign would comply with all other relevant policies or conditions of this Plan.
  4. The Authority may, either unconditionally or subject to such terms and conditions as it deems necessary, modify or waive the provisions of conditions 2, 3, 4 and 5 that follow, where it is of the opinion that the application of the same to or in respect of any particular sign would be impracticable or unreasonable and provided that the requirements of the General Conditions herein are satisfied.
  5. Any application for the use, construction or erection on or above the roof or top of any building of any device, advertisement, sky sign, sign, signal or structure of the nature of a sign or signal, excepting flags and flag poles, shall not be approved where the proposal would alter any silhouette of the building by extension beyond or above the walls, parapet or roof of the building, lift tower or plant room.
  6. Animated or flashing signs and signs illuminated by exposed lamps or neon tubes as distinct from backlighting or floodlighting, shall generally not be approved except where such signs are located on sites within the City Division.

2. Signs In Residential Areas

  1. Signs on blocks used for:
  2. residential purposes, including approved home occupations
  3. purposes approved following lease variation procedures
  4. institutional or recreation purposes within residential areas
  5. may be approved if such signs :
    1. are not animated or flashing
    2. are not illuminated by exposed lamps or neon tubes as distinct from backlighting or floodlighting
    3. are restricted in content to the name and nature of the permitted occupation or institution
    4. do not exceed aggregate surface areas of 0.2m2 per residential unit and 0.8m2 per site . Signs depicting block layouts are exempted from this standard and will be considered separately
    5. in respect of residential blocks, are affixed to the building facade at ground storey level only and are not located on fascias, awnings or free standing on the site.

3. Signs On Commercial And Industrial Buildings And On Institutional And Other Buildings Not Located Within Residential Areas

  1. Signs above first storey level, signs facing residential development nearby or on the opposite side of the street and any signs at local centres within residential neighbourhoods which may be visible from residential buildings nearby, shall not be animated or flashing or be illuminated by exposed lamps or neon tubes as distinct from backlighting or floodlighting.
  2. Illuminated signs at local centres within residential neighbourhoods shall be located at ground storey level only.
  3. Subject to 3.1 and 3.2 above, signs located at ground and first storey levels including signs projecting from buildings at these levels and signs on or under awnings, shall not be restricted provided that:
    1. they are consistent with the provisions of the General Conditions, and
    2. the clearance between pavement level and any sign projecting from a building or affixed to an awning, shall be not less than 2.5 metres.
  4. Signs above first storey level shall be restricted in content to the name of the building and the name, insignia and type of activity of the principal occupant. Such signs shall not project from the building and shall constitute only separate characters and/or symbols individually affixed to or represented on the building facade. Generally there shall not be more than one sign on each face of the building above first storey level.

4. Freestanding Signs

  1. Freestanding signs may be approved on business leases provided that:
    1. unnecessary repetition or multiplicity is avoided
    2. sign content, other than on billboards at Canberra International Airport, is restricted to the name, insignia and type of business activity combined with the advertising of the principal product or services being offered on the site
    3. the height of freestanding signs, other than billboards at Canberra International Airport, shall not exceed 4 metres within residential neighbourhoods and 6 metres in other locations
    4. the surface area of freestanding signs, other than billboards at Canberra International Airport, shall not exceed 3m2 within residential neighbourhoods and 6m2 in other locations except that the maximum surface area of a sign identifying a shopping centre shall be determined having regard to the particular circumstances and merits of a proposal
    5. billboards erected at Canberra International Airport are in accordance with the Canberra International Airport Outdoor Signage Plan at 4.4
  2. Freestanding signs may be approved on sites used for recreational, institutional, educational or other similar purposes provided that:
    1. sign content is restricted to the name, insignia and type of activity
    2. within residential neighbourhoods there shall not be more than one freestanding sign per site and the provisions of 2.1 herein shall apply
    3. unnecessary repetition or multiplicity is avoided
    4. subject to 4.2(ii) above the surface area of a freestanding sign shall not exceed 3m2 and the height shall not exceed 4 metres.
  3. Freestanding signs, other than billboards at Canberra International Airport, shall not be animated or flashing or be illuminated by exposed lamps or neon tubes as distinct from backlighting or floodlighting.
  4. Canberra International Airport Outdoor Signage Plan

    Introduction

    1. The Canberra International Airport Outdoor Signage Plan is a plan for those outdoor signs within the Airport Terminal precinct (Figure H1) which are larger in surface area than 6 square metres.

    Location

    1. The plan indicates the likely location of outdoor signage within the Airport Terminal precinct. These locations may be varied with the approval of the National Capital Authority.
    2. All such signs must be within the Airport Terminal precinct.
    3. The signs must be situated so that their scale is sympathetic to the surrounding environment and appropriate for the Airport.

    Design

    1. The design of the signs must be of a high quality and character, befitting the National Capital.
    2. All such signs will be double sided. Alternatively, the rear face of a sign must be screened to the satisfaction of the National Capital Authority.