Small Lot Housing Code

Update of the Small Lot Housing Code

The VPA have commenced a review of the Small Lot Housing Code August 2014 to update the Code to address issues identified in its interpretation. The VPA engaged Echelon Planning, DKO Architects and Checkpoint Building  Surveyors to assist in the review.

The VPA has also sought input from the SLHC advisory group with representatives from Urban Development Industry of Australia, Housing Institute of Australia, Department of Environment, Land, Water & Planning (DELWP), council, Development Victoria, Victorian Building Authority, Master Builders Association of Victoria, Australian Institute of Architects, Australian Institute of Building Surveyors and Office of Victorian Government Architects.

Following the initial update to the Code, the VPA and Advisory Group will consider further enhancements to support achievement of the objectives envisaged by the Code.


Current version of the Small Lot Housing Code

The Code has been refined since its introduction in 2011. The Small Lot Housing Code, August 2014 is the current version. It is supported by the Small Lot Housing Code Practice Note, August 2014. These documents were released in December 2014 and can be downloaded from the links below.

Small Lot Housing Code, August 2014

Small Lot Housing Code Practice Note, August 2014

Some subdivision permits and restrictions on title prior to November 2014 may refer to older versions of the Code. Links to older versions of the Code are available below:

Small Lot Housing Code, June 2013

Small Lot Housing Code, December 2012

Small Lot Housing Code, February 2012

List of Municipalities using Small Lot Housing Code

Other Council Areas

The Small Lot Housing Code is also in use by Precinct Structure Plans in the City of Greater Geelong, City of Ballarat, Shire of Baw Baw and Shire of Cardinia. In these areas enquiries should be directed to the relevant Council.

Background Information

The majority of new houses built in Melbourne’s growth areas are large, detached family homes. While this housing suits many households, we need to support housing choices for increasing numbers of smaller families, single person households, aged housing needs, and affordability.

A planning permit is usually required for a house on a lot less than 300 square metres, but not for a lot more than 300 square metres, which can discourage small lot housing. While government wishes to accelerate development of smaller houses, the current situation is counterproductive because it discourages housing on smaller lots.

The Small Lot Housing Code was introduced in 2011 to assist in addressing this situation. The Code eliminates the need for a planning permit on lots less than 300 square metres where a clear set of house design and siting standards are met. This better aligns the time and cost of small lot housing approvals with houses on lots greater than 300 square metres.

The house design and siting standards include requirements for setbacks, building height, provision of car spaces and private open space, overlooking, overshadowing, building articulation and fences.

The Code is available for use in most residential and mixed use Precinct Structure Plans in the Urban Growth Zone in Melbourne’s greenfield growth areas where the certificate of title identifies the allotment as one where the construction of a dwelling can be assessed against the Code.


For more information about the Small Lot Housing Code, please email your enquiry to or alternatively call reception on (03) 9651 9600, and you will be forwarded to a member of the Planning Services team.