Introduction Print



The term ‘apartment building’ refers to a multi-storey building that is primarily residential and that has individual residential units (apartments), on all or most floors. In certain locations such as town and metro centres it is not uncommon for apartment buildings to have commercial uses on the ground and/ or lower floors.

One of the most important characteristics defining an apartment building is that the different floors of residential units are separated horizontally. This distinguishes apartment buildings from terraced houses where individual residential units are separated by vertical party walls.


While apartments are separated horizontally, it is possible for an individual apartment to be arranged over more than one level.

Apartments can share outdoor space and car parking. Car parking associated with the building is often located in a basement, or undercroft, and/or behind other uses ("sleeved") on the ground floor, or on levels above the ground floor. This section provides four broad levels of design advice: 

  • Choosing the most appropriate building type
  • The building components that shape the overall form of the building
  • More detailed design elements that further define the appearance of the building
  • Specific advice on apartment layout and space standards, sustainability (specifically energy efficiency) and achieving the optimal apartment mix

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