Journal - Smith & Tzannes


On the 12th October the NSW Minister for Planning released for comment the Draft Medium Density Design Guide.

Smith & Tzannes were engaged by the Department of Planning & Environment to carry out research and prepare the design guide providing a new consistent approach for the delivery of quality low-rise medium density housing. The guide sets out design standards for a range of medium-density housing types including terrace houses, townhouses, villas, dual occupancies and semi-detached dwellings, and manor homes. 

The draft design guide and the accompanying Medium Density Design Code, which will be inserted into the State Environment Planning Policy Exempt and Complying Codes, will allow complying development for dual occupancies, terrace houses and manor houses in areas permitted under a council’s local environment plan.

This has been a really exciting project for us bringing together our expertise in architecture, strategic planning, urban design, statutory planning and our work as experts in the Land & Environment Court. Medium density housing is not new to Smith & Tzannes - over the past year we have delivered and had approved over 500 dwellings in medium density development across Sydney and Newcastle and are excited at the opportunity to deliver more in the future.

We invite your review the Design Guide and the Explaination of Intended Effects and provide feedback on a very important polcy area.

Download the exhibition documents.

Over the next few weeks we will provide you with some insights into the ideas behind the Design Guide.

In the release of this work we would like to thank the team here at Smith & Tzannes led by Peter Smith, including Andrew Nicolle and Emilie Almstrup and Catherine Smith, the team at the Department of Planning & Environment, Anthony Nolan from Kennedy Associates and Ben Pomrey from Rotheloweman and the many other people who's brains I have picked and have provided advice.

Friday, 19 December 2014 00:00

Faster approvals for mid-rise apartments

With the high demand for mid-rise apartments to house Sydney's growing population, Peter Smith has been working with the Urban Taskforce to develop a Mid-Rise Apartment Complying Code. 

The proposed planning reforms that the NSW Government championed had a strong focus on complying development. The proposal was that communities should be mainly involved in the early strategic planning stage that set overall character. An area could be zoned for 6 or 8 storeys residential buildings at the strategic planning stage but then individual development applications that comply with an apartment code would get quick approvals within 30 days.

For more information visit


On February 22nd, 2014 amendments to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Codes) 2008, also known as the Codes SEPP, have provided additional commercial and industrial development that can be carried out under the codes. The development must comply with the standards listed in the Code.

On February 22nd, 2014 amendments to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Codes) 2008, also known as the Codes SEPP, have changed the development standards for residential dwellings. The development must comply with the standards listed in the Code.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014 16:57

Exempt Development - 2014 Changes

On February 22nd, 2014 amendments to the State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Codes) 2008, also known as the Codes SEPP, have expanded the type of development that is considered exempt from any planning approvals. The development must comply with the standards listed in the Code.

Friday, 14 June 2013 09:06

John Griffin Memorial Stage

The newly constructed John Griffin Memorial Stage in Ernest Place Crows Nest, was officially opened in February this year with a free community concert held by North Sydney Council.

The stage, which is adjacent to the Crows Nest Centre, is part of a rejuvenation of Ernest Place which includes the redesign of the fountain, new paving and landscaping.

Thursday, 06 December 2012 22:33

Status of DCP's changed

New amendments to the Environmental Planning and Assessment Act 1979 (EP&A Act) passed through New South Wales Parliament on 15 November 2012 (the amendments).

The bill changes the key purpose of DCPs. In short, the new principal purpose of a development control plan is to provide 'guidance' to development proponents and consent authorities. Provisions of a DCP are not to be thought of as 'statutory requirements'.

Thursday, 06 December 2012 22:13

New swimming pool register

The Swimming Pools Amendment Act 2012 (Amendment Act) commenced on Monday 29 October 2012.

The legislation amends the Swimming Pools Act 1992 (NSW) (Act) by including new obligations aimed at increasing the safety of very young children around backyard swimming pools and reducing associated drowning and near-drowning incidents.

Drowning is a leading cause of accidental death in very young children who lack the cognitive and water skills to deal with the danger.

With over 300,000 backyard swimming pools in NSW, swimming pool safety is a vital issue that affects the whole community.

Friday, 17 August 2012 10:24

Newcastle Art Gallery update

"The city's art collection is set for an exciting future!"
The Newcastle Art Gallery redevelopment is progressing in leaps and bounds, as Smith & Tzannes has 'all hands on deck' through the final stages of documentation.


artgallerySmith & Tzannes have won the tender for the design development and construction documentation for extension and refurbishment to the Newcastle Art GalleryThe project is valued at $21M and includes a 4000sqm extension to the existing gallery, much needed storage areas, theatre and cafe.

Thursday, 09 February 2012 21:58

Rural Housing Code User Guide Released

Smith & Tzannes were engaged by the Department of Planning to assist in the publication of the Rural Housing Code User guide. Mel and Peter worked with the Codes team in the Department and our fantastic editor - Janet Neustein from Editorial Resources.

Get your copy of the Rural Housing Code User Guide here.

Tuesday, 01 November 2011 13:40

Electronic housing Code launched

EHC_formlogoOn the 28th October 2011, the NSW Government launched the Electronic Housing Code. This portal provides a web-based facility to assist with the creation of complying development applications under the NSW Housing Code.

Visit the EHC site.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011 19:04

Peter Smith speaks at 2011 EPLA Conference

On October 14, Peter Smith spoke at the NSW Environmental Planning and Law 2011 Conference as part of a panel of distinguished speakers discussing the interaction between Heritage and Exempt and Complying Development. Peter discussed the role of planning reform, and the need for better upfront strategic planning to provide more certainty in the community in relation to heritage conservation areas. 

Saturday, 18 June 2011 10:00

Changes to BASIX from July 1

The NSW Government has made changes to BASIX that take effect on July 1. The changes will assist the NSW Government to maintain and improve the administration of the BASIX online tool. Since 2004, BASIX has helped 120,000 households save up to $600 a year on energy and water bills by making homes more sustainable.


A significant number of residential, commercial, retail and coastal projects have been removed from the Part 3A assessment system and handed back to local councils for assessment under transitional arrangements announced by the Minister for Planning and Infrastructure Brad Hazzard today.

The transitional arrangements will be given effect via an amendment to the Major Development State Environmental Planning Policy, to be published today, and represent an important step in the process of repealing Part 3A in its entirety.