Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA)

SDA_logo_Planning_1When is an SDA required?

An SDA is requested for Medium developments, comprising of one to nine residential dwellings or 100m2 to 1.000m2 of new non-residential Gross Floor Area (GFA).

For applications larger than the above benchmarks, please refer to section Sustainable Management Plan (SMP).

What is an SDA?

An SDA is a simple sustainability assessment of a proposed building at the planning stage. The assessment will support your Planning Application by showing how you address the 10 Key Sustainable Building Categories. While Yarra’s Planning Scheme outlines minimum ESD requirements, we encourage you to strive for best practice, creativity and innovation.

By using free web-based tools, such as STEPS and SDS, you can easily demonstrate that your project meets minimum environmental compliance standards. Generally, an SDA can be prepared by applicants themselves, it should not be necessary to engage a sustainability consultant.

Addressing the 10 Key Sustainable Building Categories

If your application is for a Medium development, Council requests that your application addresses 10 Key Sustainable Building Categories. More information about those categories is available here.

The categories are:

  • Indoor Environment Quality
  • Energy Efficiency
  • Water Efficiency
  • Stormwater Management
  • Building Materials
  • Transport
  • Waste Management
  • Urban Ecology
  • Innovation
  • Construction and Building Management

Submitting an SDA

By using free web-based tools, such as STEPS and SDS, you can demonstrate how your project meets minimum environmental compliance standards.

An SDA for can be submitted by enclosing the printout of a STEPS or SDS report with your planning application.

 These tools are easy and free to use and ensure that your application addresses the 10 Key Sustainable Building Categories. Here are some example SDA submissions, prepared through STEPS (221.64kB) and SDS (172.53kB)

An SDA can be completed when logged into the STEPS tool. Simply click ‘create sustainable design assessment (SDA)’ on the left hand side of the page. Alternatively, you can choose to prepare your own report. 

For those who prefer preparing their own report, Yarra Council has developed this  docx format SDA template (157.14 KB) which aims to provide guidance on how to prepare an SDA. The template provides an indication of the expected information that is to be provided in an SDA.

Whichever option you choose, ensure that all ESD initiatives addressed are clearly demonstrated and annotated on your architectural drawings. Sustainable design assessments should also be definitive about sustainability commitments and avoid the use of vague language (eg. Energy efficient light fittings will be used ‘where practical’).

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some Frequently Asked Questions about ESD in the planning process.


Further Information
Euan Williamson (Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday)
Environmentally Sustainable Design Advisors
9205 5366
Euan.Williamson@yarracity.vic.gov.au

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