Amendment overview

Amendment C376: Sustainable Building Design proposes to implement sustainability and green infrastructure policy into the Melbourne Planning Scheme, including a range of new mandatory and discretionary Sustainable Building Design Standards and requirements.

Sustainable Building Design Standards

What are the Sustainable Building Design Standards?

The Sustainable Building Design Standards (the Standards) will ensure development contributes to achieving the City of Melbourne’s sustainability and green infrastructure goals, and ultimately helps tackle the climate and biodiversity emergency. They will apply to new buildings in the City of Melbourne as well as alterations and additions that meet a certain size threshold (over 5000 square metres).

The standards will mean new developments in the city need to achieve environmental targets. This includes solar panels, green roofs and walls, better insulation, using water more wisely and bike parking to encourage cycling.

How were the Standards developed?

The City of Melbourne’s Green Our City Action Plan 2018 identified the need for stronger environmentally sustainable design and green infrastructure standards and requirements to be included in the planning scheme.

The Standards are evidence-based and have a strong strategic foundation of extensive research, analysis and strategies prepared by City of Melbourne over recent years.

The development of the Standards included:

  • a business case
  • benchmarking the Standards
  • implementation pathways nationally and internationally
  • independent testing to ensure they are technically and economically feasible.

An external advisory group, including members of industry peak bodies and government representatives, steered the work at key milestones. The Standards draw on industry accepted established rating tools (Green Star, NatHERS, NABERs and BESS) as well as the ‘Green Factor’ tool which has been developed by the City of Melbourne and successfully tested through a pilot program.

The Standards

Environmentally sustainable design (ESD) refers to how a building is designed to consider a range of ESD factors.


There are multiple benefits to this type of design, including those listed below.

This theme is focused on the design of the buildings to support inherent efficiency in the use of electricity. Design decisions relating to elements such as orientation, use of shading and location of windows, can all play a very significant role in the ability of a building to reduce its energy consumption, and must be considered at the planning stage as they cannot be ‘retrofitted’.

In addition to efficiency, a focus on energy also addresses the on-site inclusion of renewable energy technologies.


  • More warmth, light and sunshine will get into buildings and homes meaning you won’t have to have the heating on as much in the colder months.
  • Windows will be appropriately located and designed so cross breezes can occur in buildings and cool down hot buildings overnight in summer. Therefore less need for air conditioning.
  • Energy bills (for heating and cooling) for the individual will be reduced.
  • Energy efficient equipment will reduce the energy demand of buildings, and onsite renewable energy generation will further reduce energy demand.

The design and provision of transport related infrastructure within individual buildings can assist people to make sustainable transport choices.


  • All new buildings, including homes and workplaces, will have more bicycle parking spaces and better facilities. You’ll be able to safely and easily park your bike at home and at work.
  • Buildings will be ready for the take-up of electric vehicles, and provide opportunities for car sharing schemes.

Minimising waste is an important element of emissions reduction. This requires some major changes to processes that sit well outside the planning context, but ensuring that the design of buildings can accommodate the necessary receptacles will support these changes.


  • Waste storage and efficient collection methods will be optimised.
  • It will be the developer's responsibility to ensure that this is built into the development from the start. This will make it easier for you to dispose of your waste and recycling.

Urban ecology is the introduction of green cover to sites. While parks and street trees are important, the ‘green cover’ provided on private land has an important role to play.

Green cover may be a backyard with trees and shrubs in a domestic context, a low maintenance green roof filled with native grasses and succulents, or a complex arrangement of communal open space and green walls in the central city.


  • New developments will have the equivalent of at least 40% green cover, such as trees, grass, shrubs, and lawn which supports biodiversity in the city by attracting wildlife such as birds, bees and bats.
  • Greening on new developments will deliver multiple benefits to people living and working in the city, including reducing temperatures during heatwaves, providing high quality and beautiful spaces for recreation and socialising, and reduce stormwater impacts on the city.
  • Green cover provides important support for nature in the city and encourages biodiversity.

The urban heat island effect is the increased heat load experienced in urban spaces and urban areas in the summer months. It disrupts city infrastructure and can even cause death. This impact can be reduced through the introduction of vegetation to urban areas and through choice of materials and finishes to reduce heat absorption.


  • New buildings will help reduce the urban heat island effect by the building materials used and by the addition of green cover.
  • People can enjoy many more green roofs, balconies and gardens around the city, for example in apartment buildings and offices.
  • More solar panels on roofs will reduce energy bills.

Warmer temperatures are associated with more intense rainfall events. Climate change in the long term will mean more extreme weather events, more intense rainfall events (though less rainfall overall), and reductions in streamflow.

The standards will ensure that new buildings will be designed to be water efficient and to mitigate flooding impacts.


  • New developments will achieve best practice water quality performance objectives.
  • New buildings will be required to meet a number of water efficiency requirements, including installing rainwater tanks to support on-site green cover, and connecting to a precinct scale recycled water source if available.

Amendment process

The Standards are proposed to be introduced into the Melbourne Planning Scheme via a suite of planning provisions, with most to be included in a new schedule to the Design and Development Overlay (DDO73). DDO73 includes minimum requirements, minimum mandatory requirements and preferred requirements.

The planning controls are needed because without them we cannot reach zero net emissions by 2040. This is essential if we are going to effectively respond to the climate and biodiversity emergency.

Specifically, the proposed planning scheme changes are as follows:

  • Amend the Municipal Strategic Statement (MSS) by making changes to Clauses: 21.02 – Municipal Profile; 21.04 – Settlement; 21.05 – Environment and Landscape Values; 21.06 – Built Environment and Heritage; and 21.17 Reference Documents to ensure alignment between the Local Planning Policy Framework and the purpose of the amendment.
  • Delete Local Policies: Clause 22.19 Energy Water and Waste Efficiency and Clause 22.23 Stormwater Management (Water Sensitive Urban Design).
  • Insert Schedule 73 to Clause 43.02 (Design and Development Overlay – Sustainable Building Design) to include provisions for:
    • environmentally sustainable design
    • energy efficiency and renewables
    • waste and resource recovery
    • urban heat island response
    • urban ecology
    • integrated water management.
  • Amend Schedules 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 to Clause 37.04 (Capital City Zone) and Schedules 1, 2, 3, 5 and 6 to Clause 37.05 (Docklands Zone).to include provisions for:
    • bicycle, motorcycle and car share parking
    • electric vehicle infrastructure
    • the design of car parking facilities and
    • the retention of car parking spaces as common property.
  • Amendment Schedule to Clause 72.04 (Incorporated Documents) to include the Guidelines for Waste and Resource Recovery Management Plans.

In addition, an alternative implementation pathway is recommended for the Standards through introduction of a Victorian Planning Provision with a local schedule, and endorsement by the Future Melbourne Committee is sought to formally advocate to the Victorian Government to adopt a state-wide approach.

The proposed Amendment C376 planning provisions are attached to the report to the Future Melbourne Committee of 15 Sep 2020.

For the amendment process to begin, it first needs to be authorised by the Minister for Planning. Once authorised, public consultation on Amendment C376 is expected to run in the first half of 2021. Once closed, we will consider all submissions. Under the Planning and Environment Act 1987, Council can decide whether to make the changes requested by submissions to the Amendment or request that the Minister for Planning appoint an independent panel to hear and review submissions.

Before making a final decision on the amendment, Council will consider the independent panel’s advice. If the amendment is adopted by Council then it will be submitted to the Minister for Planning for final approval.

For more information, see the planning scheme amendment process.

While we respond to COVID-19 we haven’t stopped taking climate action. We’re greening our city with more trees, plants and garden beds to take action on climate change while also responding to COVID-19.

Encouraging investment in new buildings that are greener and more energy efficient will reduce greenhouse gas emissions and support our economic recovery from COVID-19.

While we are currently in a period of economic uncertainty we are certain we need to act now on climate change to avoid further economic, environmental and human impacts.

Without the changes to building regulations in the C376 amendment we cannot achieve our commitment to zero emissions for Melbourne by 2040.

Green Factor tool

The urban ecology standard implements the Green Factor tool. Green Factor is an online green infrastructure assessment tool designed by City of Melbourne, developed to help with optimising the design of green infrastructure and external landscapes on buildings.

The Green Factor tool:

  • Encourages a greater quantity and quality of green infrastructure to be incorporated in building design.
  • Provides applicants with a user-friendly interface that helps benchmark greening design on developments.
  • Provides applicants with a range of greening options that can be combined in flexible ways to meet the required level of green infrastructure, including canopy trees, green roofs, vertical greening and other external landscaping.

The Green Factor tool is the first online tool of its kind in Australia. The tool supports applicants as well as designers, architects, developers, builders and the community to consider and optimise inclusion of green infrastructure on new buildings. Green infrastructure delivered to a Green Factor standard will benefit the urban environment for generations, reducing urban heat, enhancing biodiversity, reducing stormwater impacts and providing beautiful spaces for recreation and socialising.

Amendment C376