Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP) update

Environmentally Sustainable Development (ESD) Local Policy Clauses have now been approved to be added to the Planning Schemes of the Cities of Stonnington, Moreland, Banyule, Whitehorse, Yarra and Port Phillip. These are in addition to the existing Energy, Water and Waste Efficiency Local Policy of the City of Melbourne and WSUD policies of a wide variety of Councils in the Melbourne Metropolitan Region.

BESS is listed in the Local Policies as the official assessment tool. In addition, some Councils, such as Port Phillip, require a Green Star assessment when a development reaches a certain size, e.g. 50 dwellings. As a result STEPS is no longer accepted as an ESD assessment tool for Sustainable Design Assessments, Sustainability Management Plans, and other ESD reports for the above Councils, and many more are set to follow suit.

BESS, newly created by the Municipal Association of Victoria’s CASBE* (Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment) Network is an ESD assessment tool far more comprehensive in its inputs and outputs than STEPS, which was originally developed by the Moreland Energy Foundation starting in 2007. Unlike STEPS, which assesses 5 ESD categories, BESS assesses the 9 sustainability categories of Management, Energy, Water, Stormwater, IEQ, Transport, Waste, Urban Ecology and Innovation. STEPS will still available for use on legacy projects where the STEPS assessment has already been commenced before being superseded by BESS.

* Current CASBE member Councils include Banyule City, Bass Coast Shire, Darebin City, Greater Dandenong City, Hobsons Bay City, Hume City, Kingston City, Knox City, Manningham City, Maribrynong City, Moonee Valley City, Moreland City, Port Phillip City, Stonnington City, Whitehorse City, Whittlesea City, Wyndham City and Yarra City Councils (correct as at March 2016).