Neighbourly privacy Print

Design Outcome

​​​​​​​​​​​Design Checklist​

  • Both aural and visual privacy to and from neighbouring sites is optimised in the design of the mixed use development


Within a single mixed use development the potential conflict between different adjacent uses requires consideration and a design response. Consideration must also be given to the privacy of occupants on adjacent sites.

The side boundary condition can generally be one or more of:
  • side yard separation
  • buildings on both properties abut a common boundary
  • “zero lotting“ of one property on the boundary (one party builds very close to, or on the boundary with a blank wall to give privacy, while the neighbouring property sets back to allow light and air, and wall articulation).
The rear yard or ‘back-to-back’ distance between buildings should maximise sunlight, privacy and usable outdoor space. A generous rear setback also allows for more planting, including mature trees. 

Visual privacy measures should aim to increase residents’ privacy within all interior spaces and private outdoor spaces without compromising views, outlook, ventilation, solar access or the functioning of internal and external spaces. The consideration of visual privacy requires an understanding of the adjacent context, the site configuration and topography, and the development’s scale and layout. Acoustic privacy is influenced by the distance between spaces but primarily relies upon specification of construction systems and correct execution of these systems in order to achieve anticipated levels of noise reduction.

Better Design Practice

Minimise overlooking of indoor and outdoor private living spaces of neighbouring properties.

Privacy can become especially problematic if the person being overlooked feels they are much lower down and being overlooked from above.

Provide acoustic privacy between properties.

If acoustic privacy has to rely on closing windows there should be other means of ventilation available.

Provide side yards that support optimal street edge relationships.

If the street edge environment is a continuous building frontage then providing side yards can conflict with this.​

Assess the current and likely future neighbourhood noise levels and design for the highest anticipated level.

Where possible utilise the site and building layout to maximise acoustic privacy by providing adequate building separation within the development and from existing neighbouring buildings.​

Resolve conflicts between noise, outlook and views by using design measures.

These may include:
  • ​laminated or double glazing
  • operable screens on balconies or external louvres
  • unbroken walls around ground level outdoor space where this does not conflict with streetscape or other amenity requirements.

Rules of Thumb

Provide Feedback Next Page   Previous Page