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Better Quality Two Dwellings in Merri-bek

Merri-bek is changing quickly as more people than ever are choosing to make our community their home. This rapid growth means we need to find ways to improve the quality of medium and high-density developments.

In line with our Council Plan 2021-2025, we want to encourage better quality developments in Merri-bek. This means going further than what the current Planning Scheme requires. To achieve this, we have adopted the Better Quality Development Process.

Our initial focus is to influence two housing developments in Merri-bek as these represent a high proportion of the medium density applications received annually.  This project is identified as being the Better Qualty Two Dwelling (BQ2D) approval stream.

The BQ2D stream  seeks to make sure that housing built in Merri-bek are: 

  • Well-designed
  • Accessible
  • Environmentally sustainable
  • Energy efficient
  • and comfortable to live in.


What is the Better Quality Two Dwellings stream?

A streamlined process which targets two housing developments. Applications will be determined within 6 weeks from lodgement and will have to meet specific eligibility criteria.

Am I eligible for the Better Quality Two Dwellings stream?

Participating in BQ2D is voluntary but strongly encouraged if you're seeking approval for two-dwelling developments.

To qualify for the BQ2D stream, you must:

  • Undertake a pre-application meeting with Council
  • Obtain a pre-certification from Council's Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) unit.
  • Meet the requirements outlined in the Better Quality Two Dwellings checklist.

Benefits of participating in Better Quality Two Dwellings

By meeting the Better Quality Two Dwellings eligibility criteria, you will get:

  • A streamlined planning process. A planning decision is guaranteed within 6 weeks from the date your application is lodged
  • A planning officer who will meet you at the pre-application meeting and manage the permit application where possible
  • A Better Quality development endorsement and branding that you can use in your development's marketing and promotional material.

Can a resident object to a Better Quality Two Dwellings planning application?

Yes, the usual notice period process remains the same. BQ2D does not remove the community from the process. If a resident objects to a BQ2D development, the objection will be considered by Council officers.

How do I apply for the Better Quality Two Dwellings stream?

Step 1 - Prepare your application

Using our BQ2D Checklist, prepare an application for a better quality development.

Step 2 - Register an e-services account

You will need to register an account on our eservices site before lodging any of the below applications.

Step 3 - Pre-application meeting

Lodge your plans and request a pre-application meeting on our e-services portal. A planner will be in contact with you and schedule a meeting. After the meeting, they will send you a letter summarising your dicussion.

Step 4 - ESD Certification

Prepare your ESD reports and update your plans, using the  ESD Checklist. Then, upload these plans to the e-services portal.

The ESD Unit will review the plans. They may certify them, or let you know if any changes are needed before you can receive ESD Certification.

Step 5 - Lodge your planning permit application

Once you have ESD certification, lodge all your plans (these must be the plans certified to be Better Quality at the planning pre-application process, and must be ESD certified) through the dedicated BQ2D stream in the online e-services portal.

Please note that together with the planning application fee, you will be also required to pay the fee for the public notification upfront, to facilitate fast-tracking the application to public notice.

Resources for Better Quality Two Dwellings applicants

  • Better Quality Two Dwellings Checklist - This sets out the information and design requirements for a BQ2D Application.
  • ESD Certification Checklist - This outlines the requirements for your sustainable design assessment (SDA) and environmentally sustainable design information that needs to be shown on your development plans.
  • Design Exemplars (PDF 15.9Mb) - These provide guidance floor plans and imagery to clearly guide applicants to produce Better Quality Developments.