Problem Solving with Urban Design

It is no surprise to those within in the construction industry to hear that the rising cost of labour and materials has become detrimental to the delivery of projects. One such project, approved for 3 storey townhouses at 140 Alma Road, Dakabin, could not proceed on this basis. To address this, the applicant proposed a revised plan featuring 2 storey dwellings across 4 stages. While this resulted in a slight reduction in density, from 73 to 68 units, it remained a critical concern for the local Council, who sought higher densities in proximity to the Dakabin train station.
Despite the slight reduction in units, the revised plan offered additional bedrooms and parking spaces, delivering 68 units with 261 bedrooms instead of 73 units with 220 bedrooms and an additional 41 parking spaces. The inclusion of double-width garages, instead of tandem parking, improved the functionality of the site and addressed the overflow parking congestion external to the site. The proposed changes also considered the interface with Thompson Road and Alma Road, aiming for a balance between Council's desire for streetscape activation and the applicant's goal of providing good land use outcomes. 
Through collaborative efforts with Bennett + Bennett’s urban design experts, concept sketches were developed to demonstrate that certain modifications, such as two-tiered retaining walls and stairs, would have minimal impact on intended outcomes, while being costly and impractical for residents. Ultimately, these efforts led to acceptance by the Council, with conditions amended to ensure minimal disruption to private open spaces and streetscape aesthetics.
Overall, the integrated solution developed through urban design and planning expertise succeeded in addressing the challenges posed by rising construction costs whilst satisfying both the client's needs and the Council's objectives. As we continue working on subsequent stages, we aim to maximise development opportunities and achieve the highest and best use for the site, further enhancing development outcomes.