The rush to build new apartments to cater for huge demand in cities such as Sydney and Melbourne is resulting in poor build quality and lack of detail.
It is ludicrous that some units being built have bedrooms too small for even a double bed and without 1960s standards for natural light.
New Victorian government apartment design regulations are a step in the right direction but don’t go far enough.
They specify that bedrooms have a minimum floor size of between nine and 10.4 square metres; living rooms be at least 10 square metres for small units and 12 for larger apartments, ceilings at least 2.7 metres high and storage space at least eight cubic metres; balconies and small gardens to be included in ground-floor units; and there must be effective cross-ventilation for at least 40% of the apartments in a development.
Items on balconies, such as air-conditioning units, cannot be included in external area measurements.
Apartment design needs to take into account the site size, slope, aspect, location, energy efficiency and other important urban design factors, and these should be regulated uniformly across Australia.
Archicentre Australia offers assessments that can be utilised pre-build and post-build. Independent architects conduct an on-site assessment before providing advice on the condition of buildings and property, and if there are serious building faults.
The top five tips when looking for an apartment to buy:
* Avoid buying off the plan.
* Choose older apartments that need renovation rather than newer untested units.
* Understand owner’s corporation fees.
* Look out for waterproofing between upper-storey apartments and around balconies.
* Check bedroom sizes. Can a queen-size bed fit?