Designing for privacy Print

Desi​gn Checklist

  1. All habitable rooms have a good level of privacy in relation to the street, public spaces and neighbouring properties 
  2. The building arrangement enhances privacy for the residents and neighbours
  3. The views from principal rooms and private open space are maximised without compromising visual privacy​
​​​​​​​Selecting the best location for pedestrian, car and cycle access into the site is an important site planning decision.

Pedestrian and vehicle access may need to be separated depending on the site, scale and type of apartment development; however pedestrian access should always be safe and pleasant for residents and visitors.​

Sometimes the optimal location for site access points is obvious. At other times the advantages and disadvantages of possible locations will need to be carefully weighed up. Enhancing the development should be a primary consideration when choosing the access or egress points for the development.​

Better Design Practice

Orientate proposed balconies & outdoor spaces towards the street or back yard and avoid orientation over the boundary.

Consider the position and aspect of habitable rooms. Avoid directly facing windows, gardens and balconies in dwellings that stand opposite one another.

Consider the possible development of adjacent sites and ensure that the proposed development guards against any potential adverse effects. Checking the development rights and building envelopes of adjacent sites will allow principal living spaces and primary views to be located where they will not be blocked.

Arranging building layouts to minimise the direct overlooking of neighbouring properties (on the same or adjacent sites) and their private open spaces.

Maximising the separation distance is always the best response, and the following can also help:​
  • ​Screening balconies and ground level private open spaces. Screening devices and fences are effective on the first floor. Onsite planting will screen up to three stories on most sites, but higher planting will be required in a park or large communal area.
  • Separating, offsetting or screening apartment windows from communal open space, common areas and circulation routes.
  • Introducing a change in level between ground floor private space (both indoor and outdoor) and the public domain or communal open space.
  • Orientating and angling adjacent blocks so that they do not directly face each other. However, if the existing built character is important this will also need to be taken into account.

Use detailed site and building design elements to increase privacy without compromising access to light and air.

Design options may include:
  • Offset windows or balconies on elevations that face each other.
  • Recessed balconies and or vertical fins between adjacent balconies.
  • Solid or semi-solid balustrades on balconies.
  • Louvres or screen panels on windows and or balconies.
  • Fencing.
  • Vegetation as a screen between spaces.
  • Planter boxes incorporated into walls or balustrades to increase the visual separation between areas.​
  • Using pergolas or shading devices to limit overlooking onto lower apartments and their private open space.
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