Massing, height and placement Print

Design Outcome

​​​​​​​​​Design Checklist​

  1. The design considers and responds to the form, scale and character of the surrounding urban environment
  2. New buildings are appropriately scaled and placed to respect the privacy, amenity and outlook of adjacent sites


‘Massing’ refers to a building’s size and shape. It includes building height, scale (the relationship between elements of a building or the building and its surrounding context) and depth (usually from front to back). The placement of buildings on a site refers to the location of buildings relative to one another, as well as their setbacks from the site’s boundaries.​


Better Design Practice

Relate to the mass, scale and setbacks of adjacent buildings’.

New buildings should reflect the existing or intended character (where major changes are anticipated) of the surrounding area. This means referencing the setbacks, heights, massing and architectural features of adjacent buildings.

Where buildings are intended to be of a greater height or mass than existing developments they should be designed to blend into the neighbourhood.​

Pay careful attention to the design of the rear of the building and its relationship to any adjacent accessways or buildings.​

Rather than being an afterthought, these areas need careful consideration to ensure they are functional, safe and provide good levels of amenity and privacy for occupants and neighbours. The rear of new buildings should, where possible, face the rear of existing buildings.

Consider how the ground floor and lower levels relate to public spaces and the street.

These are the parts of the building that most affect the experience of passers-by. Issues of privacy for occupants at these lower levels also require consideration; where possible avoid locating residential uses in ground floor areas that adjoin the public realm.​

Use articulation and architectural detail to keep areas of blank wall to a minimum and break up any excessive bulk of a building.

Large areas of blank wall should be avoided, especially in pedestrian areas.​

Rules of Thumb

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