BESS Reports

The Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard (BESS) is an assessment tool created and used by local governments in Victoria. It is used to measure how a proposed development demonstrates sustainable design at the planning permit stage.

BESS is the recommended tool under the Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP) framework, which is used by a growing number of Victorian local governments. Under SDAPP, planning permit applicants submit information about the environmental sustainability of their new development. BESS can assess single houses, townhouse developments, apartment buildings, large non-residential or mixed use developments.

The results of the BESS assessment, along with a STORM or MUSIC assessment, and other recommended assessments, can be incorporated into an ESD report which addresses the 10 key sustainable design criteria which the SDAPP program requires town planning applicants to address. These are:

  • Indoor environment quality
  • Energy efficiency
  • Water resources
  • Storm water management
  • Building materials
  • Transport
  • Waste Management
  • Urban Ecology
  • Innovation
  • Ongoing building and site management

The SDAPP framework acknowledges that the scale of a project has a bearing on the level of information and the types of sustainability initiatives that can be incorporated in a project. To address this, two assessment methodologies have been developed to target different sized projects. These are both in the form of ESD Reports and are known as:

The level of sustainable design information required for submission with a planning application will depend on the scale of development, with information increasing with the complexity and scale of the development.

Councils that require or recommend some form of sustainability assessment in the planning process include...

  • Banyule City Council
  • City of Bayside
  • Boroondara City Council
  • Brimbank City Council
  • Cardinia Shore Council
  • Casey City Council
  • Colac Otway Shire Council
  • Darebin City Council
  • City of Greater Bendigo
  • City of Greater Dandenong
  • City of Greater Geelong
  • Frankston City Council
  • Glen Eira City Council
  • Hobsons Bay City Council
  • Hume City Council
  • City of Kingston
  • Knox City Council
  • Manningham City Council
  • Maribyrnong City Council
  • Maroondah City Council
  • City of Melbourne
  • City of Monash
  • Moonee Valley City Council
  • Moreland City Council
  • Mornington Peninsula Shire Council
  • Nillumbik Shire Council
  • City of Port Phillip
  • City of Stonnington
  • Surfcoast Shire Council
  • City of Whitehorse
  • City of Whittlesea
  • Wyndham City
  • City of Yarra
  • Yarra Ranges Shire Council

The triggers and specific requirements vary from Council to Council so please don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions on whether you will need an ESD Assessment for your project.