Locating 'buffers' Print

​​​​​Design Che​cklist​​

  • ​​​Create physical buffers to avoid conflict​s between uses or occuplants


​​A buffer is a means of separating incompatible uses, either internally within a mixed use development or between the development and surrounding neighbourhood. Buffers generally involve separation either spatially or through incorporation of physical barriers

Better Design Practice

Provide ‘buffers’ where required to separate incompatible uses.

In mixed use developments where spatial separation is not practical, (for example, apartments located directly above restaurants, cafes or bars) the following techniques can help minimise adverse effects:
  • ​Part of a building, or an entire building may also serve as a buffer. For example, a well insulated exterior wall may minimise transmission of noise from one building to another. Double glazing and mechanical ventilation can be used to ensure residents are protected from noise if they choose
  • Similarly, a separating floor of offices between lower commercial floors and upper residential floors provides an effective buffer
  • Landscape features can also be used as buffers in mixed use developments, and can be effective at shielding residential areas from street noise. For example an existing stand of trees can be used as a buffer, or special landscaping may be designed to achieve a particular end
  • Design the orientation and location of residential windows and doors away from loading bays, car parks and noisy streets

Other possible landscaping buffers include:
  • Ground level changes / stepping across the development
  • Planting to create ‘screens’ or ‘shields’ to create privacy

Use specialised building methods and materials to reduce or eliminate sources of disturbance such as dust, odour, ambient noise, vibration, or structurally transmitted noise. The New Zealand Building Code and the Auckland Unitary Plan set limits on some of these types of nuisance, and architects and engineers know how to assemble specific building elements to restrict them to acceptable levels.
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