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The term apartment building refers to a multi-storey building that is primarily residential
and that has individual residential units (apartments), on all or most floors. In certain
locations such as town and metro centers it is not uncommon for apartment buildings to
have commercial uses on the ground and/ or lower floors.
It is a self-contained housing unit (a type of residential real estate) that occupies only
part of a building. Such a building may be called an apartment building, apartment
house (in American English), block of flats, tower block, high-rise or, occasionally
mansion block (in British English), especially if it consists of many apartments for rent.
In Scotland it is often called a tenement, which has a pejorative connotation elsewhere.
Apartments may be owned by an owner/occupier by leasehold tenure or rented by
tenants (two types of housing tenure).
The term apartment is favored in North America (although flat is used in the case of a
unit which is part of a house containing two or three units, typically one to a floor) and
also is the preferred term in Ireland. The term flat is commonly, but not exclusively, used
in the United Kingdom, Singapore, Hong Kong and most Commonwealth nations.
In Malaysian English, flat often denotes a housing block of lesser quality meant for
lower-income groups, while apartment is more generic and may also include luxury
condominiums. This usage has also been appearing in British English where apartment
is used to denote expensive 'flats' in exclusive and expensive residential areas in, for
example, parts of London such as Belgravia and Hampstead.
In Australian English, the term flat was traditionally used, but the term apartment is also
frequently used, as is "unit," short for "home unit".
Tenement law refers to the feudal basis of permanent property such as land or rents. It
may be found combined as in "Messuage or Tenement" to encompass all the land,
buildings and other assets of a property.
Apartment is a term that is usually applied to a unit in a building that is rented. While a
purchased apartment can legally be called a condo many apartments for sale do not fit

the traditional idea of condo ownership.

An apartment is a self-contained unit that utilizes only part of a building. An apartment
building can be a large building, with hundreds of apartment units, or a small building
with fewer than ten units.


One of the most important characteristics defining an apartment building is that the
different floors of residential units are separated horizontally. This distinguishes
apartment buildings from terraced houses where individual residential units are
separated by vertical party walls.

While apartments are separated horizontally, it is possible for an individual apartment to

be arranged over more than one level.
Apartments can share outdoor space and car parking. Car parking associated with the
building is often located in a basement, or undercroft, and/or behind other uses
("sleeved") on the ground floor, or on levels above the ground floor.

Principal Components Controlling Building Form

The principal components of building

form are height and mass, depth,
and setback. These influence the
overall shape of the building within its
defined building envelope.

Building Height and Massing

Design Outcome

The height and massing of the

apartment development
contributes to a built form of a
high standard that is designed to
respond to its context.

Building height

The height of a building in relation to its overall configuration or massing is one of the
more significant factors in determining the impact a building will have on its surrounding
From a design perspective, it is important to ensure that height and massing are
considered together to arrive at a high quality, well proportioned building form.
When deciding on building height consider:

The permitted maximum height

The local area character and the building's position within the town or city context

The immediate streetscape character, particularly consistency of skyline and the need
for punctuation and accent;

Local street views, strategic views and amenity views

The potential effect of overshadowing adjacent public space and neighboring properties

Local micro-climatic factors, particularly wind

The relationship of height to frontage width and building depth

The configuration of any taller elements in relation to street edge and ground level. A
podium may be used in conjunction with a taller element to ensure consistency at
Building massing
Building massing refers to the overall configuration of the building. The way a building is
arranged on its site is particularly important for larger buildings. The following should be
considered in relation to building massing:

site size, geometry, topography and configuration in relation to adjacent streets or open
space. Think about the orientation of the principal mass of the building

Dividing a large form into several linked smaller forms to minimize visual impact

Organizing the building's mass to express different vertical elements (e.g. a 'base' and a

Using horizontal emphasis on a tall building and vertical emphasis on wide buildings to
balance the overall size

Breaking down the mass of the building by:

o Recessing and projecting elements to avoid flat monotonous facades
o Set backs to upper levels to achieve an appropriate height-to-width ratio across
the street and encourage sunlight into the street or open space
o Expressing different internal functions such as vertical circulation or entry
o Expressing individual apartments to achieve identity and personalization.

the relation of the front faade and skyline to the street edge, to achieve a
consistent streetscape

using roof form to create visual interest.

For larger buildings

avoid significant and visually jarring contrast between the scale of the proposed
apartment building and any adjacent buildings. Set back, step or provide
transitional volumes where necessary.

use transitional volumes to help integrate a development where the adjacent built
environment is of a lesser scale.
where the building is at the street edge, set back the upper floors or use a
podium to prevent visual dominance at the street edge.
divide the overall massing to avoid or break up overly large forms. Where
appropriate, a large building should be able to be read as a series of discrete
forms. This reduces visual dominance, creates interest and may help users to

understand how the building is occupied.

Create variation along the faade of long buildings, potentially stepping volumes
forwards or backwards, to create visual rhythm and interest.

Placing tall buildings on podium structures, to help maintain a continuous,

positive street edge.

The design of taller and larger buildings should maximize access to daylight and
sunlight for the apartments and outdoor spaces.
Large, tall buildings typically become landmarks in their environments. These
visually conspicuous developments should be designed to a high architectural
standard and possess a "landmark quality". Where the building form is tall and
slim its architecture should possess a quality of elegance.

Building Depth
Design Outcomes

The building provides a good level of amenity for building occupants in terms of sun
access, daylight, natural ventilation and privacy.
There is an appropriate building depth for the intended apartment type (e.g. double

aspect apartments off a vertical access core).

Utilizing the most appropriate building depth and orientation minimizes earthworks on
sloping sites.
Building depth refers to the floor plate dimension from the front to the back of the
building (as opposed to frontage width).
Building depth is determined by its intended use. For an apartment building this
will depend on the type of apartment arrangement and will need to provide light
and ventilation to apartment interiors.
Building depth will also respond to the geometry and topography of the site. On
steeply sloping sites, for example, a shallow floor plate running parallel to
contours should be considered.
Better Design Practice
Apartment building depths should be eight to 10 meters for dual aspect apartments, and
up to 18 meters for single aspect apartments off both sides of an internal corridor. Refer
diagrams at top and bottom left.
If a development is deeper than 18 meters it should be able to demonstrate how
satisfactory internal day lighting and natural ventilation will be achieved. Refer diagrams
at top and bottom right above.A depth of greater than 14 meters is likely to require
artificial lighting in the center of the building. More than 14 meters of building depth is
also difficult to naturally ventilate. As well as being environmentally advantageous,
natural ventilation is often economically advantageous. The cost of artificial ventilation
over the long term is considerable.

An atrium is an excellent way to bring light and air into a deeper building plan. If
carefully designed, these can form a positive part of the development.The optimum
depth of an apartment building should be established in conjunction with determining
whether the sites, and therefore the building, are best suited to single or double-aspect
apartments, and with the particular design and layout of the apartments.
Building Setbacks (Yards)
Design Outcome

The building responds positively to the immediate context and street environment, and
uses the existing or desired character to inform the design of the building.

Street setback (front yard)

The setback of buildings from the back edge of public pavement influences a range of
issues. These include the perception of the streetscape and the experience of being in
that street, the level of activity conveyed by the building onto the street, and the
relationship of building's occupants to the street (i.e. the privacy of internal spaces and
the potential for occupants to overlook the street).
Street setbacks help to maintain and enhance an area's character. In new areas it will
help to establish the character of the street by providing a consistent building line for
adjacent buildings to align with. Setback may also occur at the upper stories of a

building, affecting the height-to-width ratio of a street as well as sunlight penetration. In

residential streets front yards also provide privacy for the front apartments of a
development. Passers by are kept away from windows and the front yard allows for
some landscape screening.

On sites that have commercial ground floors a 'zero' setback is often prescribed. This
maintains a strong street edge and provides a direct relationship between the
commercial ground floor uses, which are often shops, and the street.

Side and rear setbacks (side and back yards)

Side and rear setbacks provide privacy and daylight for occupants and the residents of
adjacent buildings. They may also help to reinforce street character in areas that are
characterized by setbacks.
Front yard setbacks
The front yard setback should establish or reinforce the desired streetscape character,
particularly the general height-to-width ratio of the area, or where an existing landscape
character is to be maintained.The setback also helps to define the qualities of the street
edge. It can achieve variation or punctuation in the streetscape by altering the setback
at specific locations (e.g. at junctions or open spaces), or simply to break up a
monotonous street edge. It is important that the setback forms a continuous positive
edge to the street that responds to the buildings on each side.The space between the
building and the street becomes a transitional space between the public street and the
private building. The design should therefore clearly differentiate between public and
private space. Where no front yard setback is required:

Ensure any setback enhances the streetscape by providing a high quality open
space or maintaining an existing pattern of setbacks along the street

Ensure the setback supports the intended development use and location (e.g.
town centers and business zones will require zero setback);

Any setback should match that of existing developments. Where some variation
is desired, offset the building frontage by a small amount from its neighbors.

Where buildings are built up to the street edge, generally in commercial (shopping)
streets, and where no podium is provided, upper level setbacks should be used to
maintain a human scale (three to four stories) along the street. This prevents taller
buildings appearing oppressive or dominant.
Side yard setbacks
The side yard serves several important functions. It:

Maintains light, air, sun and privacy

Can provide a space for landscaping between developments

Allows windows and articulation on the side of the building

Provides a transition space between different buildings, particularly if they are different
heights. This helps to prevent the dominance of larger buildings over smaller ones.
The setback can also continue or create a pattern of development that positively defines
the streetscape. The spaces between buildings must be designed to be organized and
coherent, and not determined by what is left over around the building form.
Rear yard setbacks
The back to back distance between buildings should maximize sunlight, privacy and
the amount of usable open space. A large rear setback also allows for more planting,
including mature trees.

Primary Building Elements

Building Faade
Design Outcomes
Buildings demonstrate a high architectural quality including both visual richness and
The apartment building makes a positive contribution to the existing, or desired future
street character and the public realm.
The faade is designed as an integrated part of the building.
Building Entrance
Design Outcomes

Entrances establish a desirable and strong residential identity for the development,
which contributes positively to the streetscape and integrate into the overall building
facade design.

The entry is a functional, accessible, safe area with good shelter and lighting.

Sustainable Building
Energy Efficiency
Design Outcomes

New development utilizes sustainable construction materials and methods.

The design of the building reduces the necessity for mechanical heating and cooling.
Apartments provide a more comfortable, and healthier internal environment for
Water Conservation
Design Outcome

The design of the building reduces the consumption of potable (drinkable) water, the
quantity of urban storm water run-off and to increase reuse of wastewater and storm
water on-site.

Apartment Layout
Design Outcomes

Apartment layouts provide high standards of residential amenity.

The apartments are functional, well organized and have

meet the needs of the intended number of occupants.
Buildings maximize the environmental performance of
should facilitate the capture of passive energy and the
distribution of heat and ventilation through the spaces.
The layout is flexible and adaptable and allows for a
household activities.

enough space to
apartments. Layouts
variety of

The internal layout of an apartment establishes how

functional and enjoyable an apartment is to live in.
Aspects such as access to sun and daylight,
natural ventilation and acoustic and visual
privacy, directly contribute to the health and
wellbeing of occupants, their ability to easily
carry out normal household functions, socialize
and to feel safe and secure.
A feeling of spaciousness within an apartment can be created through a high standard
of design and layout and does not rely on apartment size alone. This includes providing
adequate storage space, and providing for services such as laundry airing.
Apartment layout considerations also include how the private outdoor space associated
with an apartment relates to interior spaces.
Flexibility (the potential to use the rooms of a home in a variety of ways) and adaptability
(the potential to modify spaces) are key considerations in the layout design. Flexibility
will be influenced by the amount of space, the number of rooms and the layout.
Better Design Practice
Provide enough space to meet the needs of the residents by:

Allowing enough space for standard sized beds, circulation and storage in the
Providing enough room for all members of the household to sit down to the dinner

table together.
Providing enough room in the living room for all the residents to sit and watch
Providing a deck large enough for the occupants to sit outside together around a
Allowing sufficient circulation space for ease of movement between all the rooms.
Furniture should not have to be moved to gain access or for residents to pass from
one space to another.
Providing enough storage for the full range of day-to-day items.

Apartment Mix and Designing for Families

Design Outcomes
Apartment buildings provide a diversity of apartment types and sizes that cater for
different household requirements (consider studio, one, two, three and four bedroom
apartments, particularly in larger apartment developments).

Ensure that apartment developments cater for families and other larger household
groups. Provide good levels of amenity both inside and outside for larger groups and

Provide a mix of housing tenure including affordable housing.

The ground floor apartments in a development maximize the opportunity to provide for a
range of lifestyle options, particularly families with children and people with limited
Apartment Space
Design Outcomes

Provide a high standard of amenity for all residents.

Ensure the intended number of occupants and possible furniture layouts informs the
spatial arrangements of habitable rooms.
Provide an 'easy-live' environment for occupants, with sufficient space to cater for

adaptability and changes in family circumstances over time.

Allow for a variety of household activities and occupants' needs by considering
requirements for individual rooms.
Provide spaces for social gathering (both indoors and outdoors) as well as space for
privacy and quiet.
Provide sufficient circulation and storage space.
Universal Design - Accessible & Adaptable Apartments
Design Outcomes:

Where the parking space forms part of the dwelling access it shall allow a person to
open their car doors fully and easily move around the vehicle.
Occupants can easily and safely access the individual dwelling entrance.
Occupants can easily and safely enter and exit the apartment building.
Facilitating comfortable and unimpeded movement between spaces.
Light switches are located at heights that are easy to reach for all occupants.
Power points are located at heights that are easy to reach for all occupants.
Window controls and sills are installed at a height that enables home occupants to
operate the window and view the outdoor space from either a seated or standing
Occupants are able to easily and independently open and close doors.
Occupants are able to easily and independently use plumbing controls.
A smoke alarm system is installed.
Bed space and bedrooms support ease of movement around the bed by occupants.
The laundry space is designed to support ease of movement and ease of use of laundry
appliances and storage space.
The kitchen space is designed to support ease of movement between fixed benches
and ease of use of appliances and storage space.
The primary living level has a toilet to support easy and independent use for occupants
and visitors.
The primary living level has a bathroom with a shower that supports easy and
independent use for all occupants and visitors.
Enable access to multi-storey dwellings above or below the
Entrance level now or in the future.
Where installed, stairways are designed to reduce the likelihood of injury.

There are three key elements

to any apartment building:

the overall form of the

the type of access
the types of unit.

Understanding the
relationships between these
elements and testing different
options for the site are crucial to
a successful design. Good apartment
developments will successfully combine form, access and unit types, however, different
combinations have different advantages and disadvantages, so there will be trade-offs
between different objectives to get the best outcome.
The building will also be informed by a context analysis at a site and neighborhood
scale. Factors such site topography, natural features, sun penetration, prevailing wind,
access, existing structures on adjacent sites and views will help determine the most
appropriate form and massing for an apartment development. For more on site and
neighborhood context analysis, see the Site Design and Design Statement sections of
the Auckland Design Manual. For statutory building and planning controls, refer to the
Unitary Plan.

Some buildings can be characterized as mixed use buildings, meaning part of the
building is for commercial, business, or office use, usually on the first floor or first couple
of floors, and there are one or more apartments in the rest of the building, usually on the
upper floors.
To create a quality apartment development, the site design and placement of the
apartment building should be completed together. This approach will lead to a coherent
residential place with good quality buildings and open spaces, and with a consistent
character and distinctive identity.

A well-designed apartment development responds and contributes positively to its

natural and built environment. To achieve this, developers should have a detailed
understanding of the existing site conditions and wider area and forming a Design
Statement is the best way to uncover this information.
Design Statements are described in detail in the ADM. They are widely recognized as a
key best practice tool for complex developments, including apartment buildings. A
Design Statement helps to document the existing conditions and show how the final
design proposal responds to them.
This section provides guidance on how to respond to the existing site conditions and
context. When applied to your particular apartment development, much of this guidance
can form part of your design statement.

Site ecology and habitats

Design outcome

The design and layout

of the building protects
and enhances the rich
ecology and habitat of
the natural
Avoid building on
important habitat areas.
The building location
should be used to help

protect these.Protect
and use
existing mature trees or bush, particularly natives, as features for the
development. This is an effective way of integrating the new development into its
existing environment. Improve the ecology and habitat of the site by integrating
this into the development. This could include:

Riparian and other planting, including street trees.

Treatment of land that has been contaminated.

Reducing storm water amounts and improving storm water quality.
Changing exotic plant cover to native plant cover, which is eco- sourced if
Pest and weed management.

As part of the site analysis, consider storm water issues like flow paths, gullies,
streams, floodplains and the position of the site in the wider storm water
Design for the topography
Design outcomes

The design proposal maintains the important natural features within the site.
The building and site design respond to the landform; minimizing the extent of
Retaining elements are carefully integrated as a part of the design.
The building works with the existing topography to maximize views, privacy and
other site opportunities.

Aim for changes to sloping land to appear as natural as possible by:

Avoiding straight vertical or horizontal planes that stand out when looking at the
Including space for planting and vegetation to soften the view of large scale
engineering structures.
Making storm water ponds appear like natural bodies of water, not artificial
boxes with straight sides.
Balance cuts into the land with fills, instead of using cuts or fills alone.
Incorporate retaining as part of the overall building or landscaping proposal.

Design the building for up-slope and down-slope conditions relative to the street by:
Carefully locating the building entry and car parking access, while creating a street
Minimizing the setback to achieve a close relationship between the building and street
edge. The setback of the building from the back edge of the footpath determines the
extent of earthworks, the position of the entry level building platform and the length or
cut of any vehicular drive.
Use parts of the slope for the open spaces associated with the development,
incorporating it as terracing. Create flat outdoor spaces around the building. Battering
(creating a consistent slope) across the whole site creates unusable spaces.
Utilize the slope for undercroft (undercut) or basement car parking wherever possible.
Capture special views or outlooks.
Built environment
Design outcomes

The building and basic

organization of the
demonstrate an
understanding of the
immediate street and
wider neighborhood
future or existing.

The development supports and enhances route, street and open space

The context of the surrounding built environment is a key driver for apartment site
planning. Therefore it is important to understand and analyze the elements that

make up this context, including the movement network, urban structure, use and
activity of the area, and the built form of the buildings and spaces. It is also
important to understand the needs and expectations of the community, to ensure
opportunities are not missed.

Built form
Analyse the existing and historical development patterns and surrounding architecture to
determine whether there are appropriate cues or narratives for the new development
(Whakapapa).Ensure that the main bulk of the development is carefully located to
integrate with open spaces, views and outlook. Design buffers (vegetation or fencing)
between different sites to protect the amenity of existing developments.

Movement framework
Reinforce existing movement patterns, such as pedestrian desire lines and direct and
convenient vehicle routes, and introduce new connections and route choices.Increase
the degree of connectivity and number of route choices for all users (vehicles, cyclists
and pedestrians) both to the site and within it, as development density increases.Use
the development to enhance the legibility of the streets and public spaces.Use and
activity:Consider the type of open space and recreational activities that will benefit future

residents the most.Try to physically connect or expand existing open space networks
where possible, instead of creating similar open spaces to those that already exist.

Provide a mix of tenure and type to meet the housing needs of the community.Design
the development to capitalize on important views from the site, and also views or
connections from the wider neighborhood onto the site.

Placing the building

Design Outcome
A number of factors contribute to the successful placement of a building. These include
the initial site analysis and the need to respond to any identified site issues. Early
consideration will also be needed regarding the building form and apartment types,
alongside the circulation and access arrangements that are most appropriate for the
development.This section provides guidance on how to locate the building to respond
positively to the existing site conditions and surrounding environment; and to maximize
the views, sun and privacy for the occupants while respecting neighbors rights to the
same. Details of the individual sections are noted below.
Building placement
Design Outcomes

The development has a clear network of routes and spaces within the site that
are shaped by the creation of a strong building/townscape relationship and clear
definition of public, private and communal space.
The buildings are located to contribute to a positive streetscape character with
building frontages and entries onto the street.
The design responds positively to the existing conditions of the site, such as
views, orientation, existing natural features and surrounding buildings.
The building placement on site demonstrates a clear public front and private
back relationship.

Building separation and outlook

Design Outcomes

There is a good standard of visual and acoustic privacy, inside the apartment
and for the private open spaces (ground floor courtyards or above-ground
The building minimises overshadowing of private or communal outdoor spaces
of adjacent properties, including potential future development.
The spaces between buildings support the desired area character (including
density, building typology, open space provision, landscape planting, parking

Designing for privacy

Design Outcomes
All habitable rooms have a good level of privacy in relation to the street, public spaces
and neighboring properties.
The building arrangement enhances privacy for the residents and neighbors.
The views from principal rooms and private open space are maximized without
compromising visual privacy.
Designing for light and sun
Design Outcomes
The building is located and orientated to make the best use of sunlight to apartments
and open spaces, and provides a good balance between maximizing access to winter
sun, and providing shading from summer sun.
Daylight access is always provided in all habitable rooms and is provided wherever

possible in all other areas of apartment buildings.

The development allows residents to adjust natural lighting to suit their needs.

Site access
Design Outcomes
All access points to the site are located and designed to integrate effectively with the
street or movement network beyond the site.

The street to front door

The success of a city is determined by how connected and well designed its streets are
and the way a street looks and feels is determined by everything from the front of the
building forwards.
First impressions count, and the perceived quality of an apartment development is
strongly influenced by the design of the approach or transition between public street and
private building. A well-designed approach can enhance the safety of users, reduce
management costs and create long-term success. In urban centers, apartments may
have commercial uses at the ground floor. In such cases the clarity of residential
entrance vs. commercial ground floors is equally important to resolve.
This section provides advice on the elements of the Apartment building and site design
that contribute to creating a successful street.
Relating building to street

Design outcomes

The design of the frontage responds to the context of the wider street.
The apartment building and any associated private spaces on the street front
(e.g. a privacy strip or setback) are located next to the street boundary.
The building entrance is welcoming, safe and clearly visible from the street.
The space or spaces between the building and the street are designed as an
integral part of the overall design.

Boundary treatments
Design outcomes

The design of any street or public boundary contributes to a positive, attractive

and safe public realm.
The boundary treatment balances appropriate views into any adjacent public
realm, while maintaining privacy for building occupants.
There is a defined edge between public, communal and private open space.
There are defined transitions between areas within the development that have
different functions or owners.

Safety, activity and overlooking

Design outcomes

The apartment development is safe and secure for residents and visitors, and is
perceived as such.
The apartment development contributes to the safety of the surrounding public space.

Outdoor spaces

The design of the outdoor space is as important as the building. It helps to meet
peoples fundamental expectation to be able to enjoy the outside environment. The
arrangement and quality of the spaces will have a significant impact on residents and
Good design is about getting the maximum value and enjoyment from these spaces,
and designing them for a wide range of uses. As sites get smaller, the quality of outdoor
spaces is even more important.
Well-designed outdoor spaces significantly enhance apartment developments, are
highly valued by residents and should be provided for all dwelling.
Outdoor space mitigates the effects of living in smaller dwellings and improves the
overall livability of a development. Outdoor spaces provide areas for children and young
people to play, and help to foster a sense of identity amongst residents.
Outdoor space may be public (accessible to members of the general public), communal
(shared by residents) or private (associated with a single apartment for the exclusive
use of the occupants).
This section provides guidance on the design of outdoor spaces, and the functions and
qualities they should have. This section provides guidance on the design of outdoor
spaces, and the functions and qualities they should have.

Communal Outdoors Space

Design Outcomes

Communal outdoor spaces are overlooked by adjacent apartments and provide

for residents' recreation
Outdoor spaces are designed to be accessible, useable and attractive for all
Outdoor spaces are easy to maintain and have well defined boundaries with no
ambiguity or leftover areas.
Outdoor areas provide a pleasant outlook and visual amenity for all users.

Balconies & Private Outdoors Spaces

Design Outcomes

All apartments have usable private open space (for dining, clothes drying etc.).
Balconies and terraces are well designed, have adequate levels of privacy and
are responsive to the environment.
Balconies and terraces are integrated into the overall architectural form and detail
of the building.
Ensure that balconies and terraces contribute to the safety and liveliness of the
street by creating opportunity for natural surveillance.

Service Areas
Design outcomes

Service areas are well located in relation to street access and scheme design.
The service areas are well designed and located for ease of use, encourage
waste minimization and facilitate composting.

Landscape Design and Biodiversity

Design Outcomes

The landscape is designed to provide opportunities for outdoor activity

(particularly families and children), enhanced privacy, improved outlook and
views into natural and landscaped settings.
The microclimate, biodiversity, air quality and solar performance are optimized
within the development.
Storm water quality is improved through plant filtration (e.g. reed beds) reducing
the quantity of water discharged off-site.
Landscape design contributes to local streetscape character and the amenity
value of the wider public realm.

Storm water Management

Design outcomes

Existing topographic and natural features are preserved; including watercourses

and wetlands, to ensure a level of resilient ecosystem services to manage
stormwater runoff for a site over the long term.
Stormwater volumes and flow rates are minimised from urban developments and
the amount of runoff managed on-site is maximised.
Minimised sediment and pollutants/contaminants discharge to the urban
stormwater drainage system, both during and after construction.
The impact of residential development and associated infrastructure on natural
waterways is minimised.

Car parking
How parking is accessed, arranged and its impact on the street and public spaces are
major considerations when designing an apartment building, and parking is often one of
the first aspects of the development to be considered. Parking requires careful
consideration to ensure it is integrated into the overall design of the building, has a good
relationship with the street, and is functional, attractive and safe. This section provides
detailed design guidance on vehicle and pedestrian access and car parking, and gives

guidance on different parking options.

Vehicle Access
Design Outcome

The location and design of the site access enhances the apartment development,
integrates with the desired character of the street and is convenient, safe and
pedestrian and cycle-friendly.

The location, type and design of vehicle access points to a development will have
a significant impact on the streetscape, site layout and the building facade
design. Vehicle access should be integrated with site planning early in the design
process to avoid conflicts with streetscape requirements and traffic patterns, and
to minimise potential conflicts between pedestrians, cars and cyclists.
Vehicle access must address vehicles of all types, including cars, service, and
emergency vehicles. Solutions that include shared surface approaches may be
appropriate to improve amenity value, pedestrian priority and efficiency of space.

Increase pedestrian safety and convenience by:

minimizing the width and number of vehicle access points

ensuring clear sight lines at pedestrian and vehicle crossings
using traffic calming devices
separating and clearly distinguishing pedestrian and vehicular access ways

Improve the appearance of car parking and service vehicle entries by: visually
screening rubbish collection areas and loading and servicing areas from the street
recessing car park entries from the main facade line avoiding black holes in the facade
by providing security doors to car park entries. Car park doors are an important part of
the faade and, if visible, should be integrated into the overall design, use high quality
materials and finishes and make a positive contribution to the overall design of the
building. where doors are not provided, ensuring that the visible interior of the car park
is incorporated into the faade design, and that the visual impact of building services
(i.e. pipes and ducts) are considered considering the visual impact of the car park entry
recess when it is viewed from the street. The design of the entry can be improved
through the use of landscaping and screening

On narrow sites or frontages, the access way itself will form a significant part of the
landscaping at the street edge. The design should use a range of high quality, low
maintenance materials that integrate with the design of the street and the overall
landscape plan for the developmentWhere a shared space access way is proposed
(i.e. the driveway is shared by pedestrians and cars), pedestrian safety and amenity
should take priority over cars. Ensure he space should read as a place for people first,
and cars second by: providing a range of high quality, low maintenance materials using
landscaping and surface treatment to reduce car speeds avoiding speed bumps and
using other measures such as changes of direction, cobbles, rumble strips or raised
speed tables to keep speed low.
Car Parking
Design Outcomes

The building successfully integrates car parking location and design into the

design of the apartment building, the overall site design, and the design of the
The building maximises the opportunities for active use of street frontages (i.e.
not for vehicle access).
The development provides appropriate car parking without compromising street
character, landscape quality or pedestrian amenity and safety.
Car parking can have a significant impact on the quality of the entire residential
development, particularly on the appearance and amenity of open spaces. Poorly
arranged parking can overwhelm the best design intentions.
How parking is accommodated should be considered within the local context and
with residents expectations for a quality environment. The amount of parking
should be influenced by the proximity to public transport facilities, services and
recreational facilities.
In general below ground or other forms of parking should be considered before
surface parking.

Buildings should provide active street frontages and contribute positively to the street.
Car parking should never face directly onto the street and should be either: above the
street (above the first two stories) behind the street below the street.Ensure that the
design of the development mitigates any negative impact from parking on the
streetscape and street amenity by: avoiding exposed parking on the street frontage

wrapping the car parks with other uses such as retail or apartments along street edges
concealing car parking behind the building facade, and ensuring wall openings are
designed with respect to the scale and detailing of the facade.Avoid blank street edges
where multi-storey and undercroft parking at ground level is proposed.Within communal
parking areas, locate wheelchair user parking bays at apartment building entrances or
access cores.

Give preference to basement or undercroft parking whenever possible, particularly on

sloping sites. Undercroft parking should not be more than 1.2m above ground level.
Facilitate natural ventilation to the basement and undercroft car parking areas where
possible.Integrate ventilation grilles and screening of car park openings into the faade
design and landscape design of the development.Consider using the surface of a
parking podium as landscaped open space.Provide safe and secure access to parking
areas for building users.Provide a logical and efficient structural grid that works for
structured car parking widths.Provide bicycle parking that is secure, weatherproof, and
easily accessible from ground level and from apartments.
Surface Parking
Design Outcome

Surface parking is integrated into the building, is designed as a positive space

and does not have a negative impact on the street.
Parking between the apartment building and the street should be avoided. All

surface parking areas should be behind the faade of the building, and preferably
behind the building itself. Any parking visible from the street should be screened
and landscaped.Incorporate parking into the landscape design of the site by:
o using a range of high quality materials for the surface treatment to break up the
overall mass of the parking area. The change in surfaces should be used to
delineate different areas. Consider using permeable paving to reduce stormwater
o using landscaping between rows of cars and between parking bays, include
canopy and shade planting
o ensuring routes for pedestrian movement are clearly visible and shown through
pavement and landscape treatment.

Accessible routes should be as close as possible to the building entry or lift.Surface

parking areas must be designed to be overlooked from the apartments, visible and safe.
Ensure that:
o any use of carports is carefully considered, and does not block views into the
parking area there is a logical and clear path to the building entries
o pedestrian accessways are well lit.Consider the location of any bins or refuse
stores. These should be convenient to the main access point to the car park and
convenient to the occupants of the building, but removed from the building entries
and away from any private or communal open space. Bin areas should be
screened, covered and should include a hose point.
Alternative Parking Solutions
Design Outcome
Parking between the apartment building and the street should be avoided. All surface
parking areas should be behind the faade of the building, and preferably behind the
building itself. Any parking visible from the street should be screened and landscaped.
Incorporate parking into the landscape design of the site by:

using a range of high quality materials for the surface treatment to break up the
overall mass of the parking area. The change in surfaces should be used to
delineate different areas. Consider using permeable paving to reduce stormwater

using landscaping between rows of cars and between parking bays, include
canopy and shade planting
ensuring routes for pedestrian movement are clearly visible and shown through
pavement and landscape treatment.

Accessible routes should be as close as possible to the building entry or lift.Surface

parking areas must be designed to be overlooked from the apartments, visible and
safe. Ensure that:

any use of carports is carefully considered, and does not block views into the
parking area
there is a logical and clear path to the building entries pedestrian accessways
are well lit.Consider the location of any bins or refuse stores. These should be
convenient to the main access point to the car park and convenient to the
occupants of the building, but removed from the building entries and away from
any private or communal open space. Bin areas should be screened, covered
and should include a hose point.


There are three key elements that can be used to describe an individual apartment

the number of bedrooms

the number of storeys (single storey, mezzanine or two-storey)

The number of external walls that have views to the outside (single aspect, double
aspect, or corner aspect).

These three elements can be combined to give a more comprehensive description of an

apartment, for example a two-bedroom, two-storey apartment that has a double aspect
on the upper level.
Single aspect apartments

Single aspect apartments have three closed sides (except for the entrance) and are
typically used with a double-loaded (central) corridor access arrangement.

They can be a good option for hillside housing or when there is an undesirable site
condition to one side. They can also be used for a double-loaded corridor building that
runs north-south, so that all apartments receive either morning or afternoon sun.

Double aspect apartments

Placing double aspect (open-ended) units side by side is a common form of arranging
individual apartments within a building. It has the advantage of being able to repeat
apartments while also maintaining the maximum amount of external facade.There are
many organizational options but if the apartment is too deep, achieving adequate
natural light to the center of the apartment can be difficult.

Double aspect apartments can be accessed off an external access way, from an internal
atrium, from vertical shared access or a combination of these. With such a layout a
better level of amenity is provided if the apartment has the entrance or the kitchen
adjacent to the semi-external or external walkway. A bedroom in this location will require
careful design to ensure adequate levels of privacy, ventilation and quietness. Habitable
room windows should never open into or access an internal corridor.

Corner aspect apartments

Corner aspect apartments have two sides that are exterior walls. They can be
considered as a variation of single aspect apartment with one extra wall opened up.
This type is often used in tower buildings or at the ends of linear buildings.

Corner apartments should take advantage of their potential for dual aspect and
increased views, sunlight and daylight.A premium would normally be charged for corner
aspect apartments over the single aspect apartments; and it is a common type for high-

end penthouse apartments.

CONVERTIBLE: an apartment featuring a space large enough to be walled off and
used as a dining area or bedroom. For example, a convertible two-bedroom (aka "flex
2") is a place that already has a large bedroom as well as an area that could be walled
off to create a second bedroom.

STUDIO: one room with a full bathroom and a kitchen. It may have an alcove for
dressing or dining.
The smallest self-contained apartments, are referred to as studio, efficiency or bachelor
apartments in the US, or (studio flat in the UK). These usually consist of a large single
main room which acts as the living, dining room and bedroom combined and usually
also includes kitchen facilities, with a separate smaller bathroom. A bedsit is a UK
variant on single room accommodation, which involves bathroom facilities shared with
other bedsits.
Moving up from the bachelors/efficiencies are one-bedroom apartments, in which one
bedroom is separate from the rest of the apartment. Then there are two-bedroom, threebedroom, etc. apartments (Apartments with more than three bedrooms are rare). Small
apartments often have only one entrance.
Large apartments often have two entrances, perhaps a door in the front and another in
the back. Depending on the building design, the entrance doors may be directly to the
outside or to a common area inside, such as a hallway.

CONVERTIBLE STUDIO: a studio plus. This could be a studio large enough to be able
to create a walled-off space for sleeping.

ALCOVE STUDIO: an alcove is defined as an area no more than one hundred square
feet located off of the living space. It's sometimes referred to as a half room. Depending
on its size and location, it could be walled off to create a sleeping alcove or a dining

alcove. An alcove studio is a one-room studio with an alcove (often L-shaped) that can
be used as a sleeping area.

LOFT: one large room, usually located in a building that was converted from commercial
to residential, with really high ceilings and windows. A loft can present with anything
from a studio to three bedrooms, although this is usually specified at the outset.

JUNIOR 1-BEDROOM:a step up from a studio, a junior 1 might be a large studio or a

loft of sorts, sometimes featuring a separate sleeping area and/or an eat-in kitchen.

JUNIOR 4: a one-bedroom apartment with a separate dining room or small room. It's
called a junior 4 because it features four rooms: a bedroom, a kitchen, a living room,
and an extra small room.

THREE-ROOM: the best example of this is a railroad apartment (several rooms

connected by doors but no hallway), where the apartment features three rooms, but the
layout doesn't lend itself to creating more than one or two bedrooms.

TWO-BEDROOM: also known as a real two-bedroom, this has two actual bedrooms, a
common living space, and a kitchen which might be separate.

WING TWO-BEDROOM: this style of apartment has two bedrooms joined by a small
common space, such as a kitchen, but not much more insofar as living space is

CLASSIC SIX: a three-bedroom apartment typically found in pre-war buildings. It

features a large dining room, a living room, and a full, separate kitchen. Many of these
beauties have been remodeled to create more apartments from the typically large

DUPLEX OR TRIPLEX: apartments with two or three levels, respectively. The levels
may be unique in that the second or third level is for sleeping only, or they may feature
actual floors with bathrooms on each level.

GARDEN APARTMENT: this is an apartment with access to a garden. If you have one
of these, you'll have lots of visitors in the summer. The term can also mean a basement
level apartment. Because the apartment is partially below ground, windows will be
higher up on the walls. Before visiting the apartment, verify what is meant by garden
The term garden apartment is variously defined, following regional practices.
In some locales, a garden apartment complex consists of low-rise apartment buildings
built with landscaped grounds surrounding them. The apartment buildings are often
arranged around courtyards that are open at one end. Such a garden apartment shares
some characteristics of a townhouse: each apartment has its own building entrance, or
shares that entrance via a staircase and lobby that adjoins other units immediately
above and/or below it. Unlike a townhouse, each apartment occupies only one level.
Such garden apartment buildings are almost never more than three stories high, since
they typically don't have elevators/lifts. However, the first "garden apartment" buildings
in New York, USA, built in the early 1900s, were constructed five stories high. Some
garden apartment buildings place a one-car garage under each apartment. The interior
grounds are often landscaped.
In other locales, a "garden apartment" is a unit built at or below grade or at ground level.
[4] The implication is that there is a view or direct access to a garden from the
apartment, but this is not necessarily the case.
In most west coast cities in United States, due to the need for resisting earthquakes at a
low building cost, these low rise apartments are mostly built of wooden frames with thin
plaster-board based exterior and interior dry walls, despite that they can be up to 3 to 4
SECONDARY SUITE: When part of a house is converted for the ostensible use of a
landlord's family member, the unit may be known as an in-law apartment or granny flat,
though these (sometimes illegally) created units are often occupied by ordinary renters
rather than family members. In Canada these suites are commonly located in the

basements of houses and are therefore normally called basement suites or "mother-inlaw suites."
MAISONETTE: Maisonette (from the French maisonnette, meaning "little house")
typically refers to larger apartments spreading across two or more floors of an
apartment building connected by staircases within the maisonette.
In the UK, the term "maisonette" may be used to distinguish dwellings, which have their
own entrance independent from the rest of a multi-storey block, and are located above a
shop or other retail establishment. This is different to flats which are usually reached
through shared entrance doors, stairs or corridors. This definition of maisonette includes
smaller maisonettes occupying a single floor of a block, including designs also known as
Cottage flats and Tyneside flats
TWO-STOREY FLAT: In Milwaukee vernacular architecture, a Polish flat is an existing
small house or cottage that has been lifted up to accommodate the creation of a new
basement floor housing a separate apartment, then set down again; thus becoming a
modest two-storey flat.
COMMUNAL APARTMENT: In Russia, a communal apartment is a room with a shared
kitchen and bath. A typical arrangement is a cluster of five or so room-apartments with a
common kitchen and bathroom and separate front doors, occupying a floor in a preRevolutionary mansion. Traditionally a room is owned by the government and assigned
to a family on a semi-permanent basis.
FACILITIES: Apartments may be available for rent furnished with furniture or
unfurnished into which a tenant moves in with their own furniture. Serviced apartments,
intended to be convenient for shorter stays, include soft furnishings and kitchen utensils,
and maid service.
Laundry facilities may be found in a common area accessible to all the tenants in the
building, or each apartment may have its own facilities. Depending on when the building
was built and the design of the building, utilities such as water, heating, and electricity
may be common for all the apartments in the building or separate for each apartment
and billed separately to each tenant (however, many areas in the US have ruled it illegal
to split a water bill among all the tenants, especially if a pool is on the premises). Outlets
for connection to telephones are typically included in apartments. Telephone service is
optional and is practically always billed separately from the rent payments. Cable
television and similar amenities are extra also. Parking space(s), air conditioner, and

extra storage space may or may not be included with an apartment. Rental leases often
limit the maximum number of people who can reside in each apartment. On or around
the ground floor of the apartment building, a series of mailboxes are typically kept in a
location accessible to the public and, thus, to the mail carrier too. Every unit typically
gets its own mailbox with individual keys to it. Some very large apartment buildings with
a full-time staff may take mail from the mailman and provide mail-sorting service. Near
the mailboxes or some other location accessible by outsiders, there may be a buzzer
(equivalent to a doorbell) for each individual unit. In smaller apartment buildings such as
two- or three-flats, or even four-flats, rubbish is often disposed of in trash containers
similar to those used at houses. In larger buildings, rubbish is often collected in a
common trash bin or dumpster. For cleanliness or minimizing noise, many lessors will
place restrictions on tenants regarding keeping pets in an apartment.


Defining the Condo
A condo is a type of shared property, which contains individually owned units. So from a
legal standpoint, if you buy an apartment you could call yourself a condo owner.
Ownership is the key difference between apartment vs. condo distinctions but a condo
label is usually only applied to communities which support a condo lifestyle.
Condominiums offer services and facilities to condo owners such as maintenance
repairs, lawn care, pools, gyms and clubhouses. Condo owners have to abide by the
regulations and policies of the condominiums homeowners association, which often
include: annual condo membership fees, maintaining a specific type of appearance
outside of the condo and pet restrictions.
A condominium, or condo, is the form of housing tenure and other real property where
a specified part of a piece of real estate (usually of an apartment house) is individually
owned. Use of land access to common facilities in the piece such as hallways, heating
system, elevators, and exterior areas are executed under legal rights associated with the
individual ownership. The association of owners that jointly represent ownership of the
whole piece controls these rights.
"Condominium" is a legal term used in the United States and in most provinces of
Canada. In Australia, New Zealand, and the Canadian province of British Columbia, it is

referred to as "strata title." In Quebec, the term "divided co-property" (French: proprit
divis) is used, although the colloquial name remains "condominium." In France, the
equivalent is called coproprit (co-ownership), usually managed by the syndic. In
Hispanic regions, the traditional term propiedad horizontal is retained since horizon in
this case signifies "defined." In South Africa, this form of ownership is called "sectional
Defining the Apartment
Apartment is a term that is usually applied to a unit in a building that is rented. While a
purchased apartment can legally be called a condo many apartments for sale do not fit
the traditional idea of condo ownership.
Instead, condos usually refer to units that are within a shared community while
apartment owners reside in a building that also has apartments for rent or which does
not have any type of owners association or extra services provided to tenants or
The difference between a "condominium" and an "apartment" complex is purely legal.
There is no way to differentiate a condominium from an apartment simply by looking at
or visiting the building. What defines a condominium is the form of ownership. The same
building developed as a condominium (and sold in individual units to different owners)
could actually be built at another location as an apartment building (the developers
would retain ownership and rent individual units to different tenants). As a practical
matter, builders tend to build condominiums to higher quality standards than apartment
complexes because of the differences between the rental and sale markets.
Technically, a condominium is a collection of individual home units and common areas
along with the land upon which they sit. Individual home ownership within a
condominium is construed as ownership of only the air space confining the boundaries
of the home (Anglo-Saxon law systems; different elsewhere). The boundaries of that
space are specified by a legal document known as a Declaration, filed on record with
the local governing authority. Typically, these boundaries will include the wall
surrounding a condo, allowing the homeowner to make some interior modifications
without impacting the common area. A corporation established at the time of the
condominiums creation holds anything outside this boundary in an undivided ownership
interest. The corporation holds this property in trust on behalf of the homeowners as a
group-it may not have ownership itself.

Condominiums have conditions, covenants, and restrictions, and often-additional rules

that govern how the individual unit owners are to share the space.
It is also possible for a condominium to consist of single-family dwellings. So-called
"detached condominiums" where homeowners do not maintain the exteriors of the
dwellings, yards, etc. or "site condominiums" where the owner has more control and
possible ownership (as in a "whole lot" or "lot line" condominium) over the exterior
appearance. These structures are preferred by some planned neighborhoods and gated
An apartment is a self-contained unit that utilizes only part of a building. An apartment
building can be a large building, with hundreds of apartment units, or a small building
with fewer than ten units. If you rent an apartment, you are referred to as a tenant.
Apartments are referred to as "flats" in England. A condo or condominium is a housing
unit that you buy, generally in a large multi-unit building or complex. You can think of a
condo as an "apartment you own." A condo is sometimes referred to as a co-operative
society. You have full ownership of your condo and you can paint it and remodel the
interior however you choose, as long as it is in accordance with the condo association
ownership rules. When renting an apartment, you are not free to make these changes
because you do not own the apartment. This is an important in weighing the condo vs.
apartment differences.


One of the biggest advantages of owning a condominium is building equity each month
as a property owner. Although condos appreciate at a slower rate than single-family
homes, you'll still build equity 100 percent faster than if you were renting an apartment,
since renters can't build equity at all in property they don't own. As a condo owner, you
can leverage equity in the future to purchase additional property, make improvements to
your condo or add to your overall net worth.
Monthly Cost
As a renter, your monthly costs may not be very different from that of a condo owner so
there are no clear advantages or disadvantages. Renters pay insurance, utilities, phone
service, cable and internet, if you choose to have them. As a condo owner, you'll be
required to pay your monthly mortgage and condo association fees, which may include
your utility costs and extras like cable, which you will have to pay whether you use it or

not. If you enjoy controlling your own costs, living in a condo could be a disadvantage to
you. But if your goal is reducing your monthly housing costs, and association fees and a
mortgage are less than what you would pay as a renter, then owning a condo would be
a definite advantage.
As condo owner, you won't have to perform any outside exterior building maintenance or
landscaping. As a renter, you wouldn't be required to do so either unless it's specified in
your lease. As a renter, however, you would have an added advantage since you
wouldn't be responsible for your unit's interior maintenance either. Condo owners do pay
for their own inside maintenance, whether it be a leaky faucet, plumbing or appliance
Upfront Cost
To buy a condo, you will have to secure financing, unless you plan to make a cash offer.
In addition to your down payment, you will also have to come up with closing costs. The
significant upfront costs are a disadvantage in comparison to getting an apartment,
which typically requires a security deposit and the first month's rent.
Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of condo ownership compared to renting an
apartment is moving. Since you can't just walk away from your mortgage if you have to
leave the area, you'll have to decide if you will sell or rent your condo. But your condo
association may not permit renting to tenants, and your mortgage may contain
restrictions on renting the property. If you're looking for a short-term living arrangement,
leasing an apartment is a definite advantage over buying a condo, and offers more


Micro apartments are carefully-constructed, efficient units that typically measure only
around 300 square feet. This building trend is modeled after the need for compact living

in crowded urban centers like New York City or San Francisco. In the Big Apple, for
instance, apartment statistics show that 60% of households only house one or two
residents, making this the perfect place for single-dweller, less-expensive living spaces
to gain in popularity.
The impressive thing about these units is all that they pack into an admittedly tiny space.
Micro apartment living doesnt mean you miss out on amenities. Many units include 9foot ceilings, a washer/dryer, and multipurpose storage that often converts into a
sleeping space. Though films like Wanderlust may poke fun at the micro trend, the
benefits to certain renters may be no joke. Be on the lookout for more traditional studio
and one-bedroom apartment offerings in 2013, as well.
Social situations
The Gen Y generation makes up a large part of the rental population. In a recent
interview with Multifamily Executive, consultant Tim Smith recommended that
developers build apartments near social business like restaurants and coffee shops.
Why? Because the Gen Y crowd is looking for housing situated near the things they love
to do.
For many, a sense of community is truly important to modern apartment living. When
they can find affordable housing that is convenient both to work and leisure-time
activities, young residents are thrilled and often motivated to stick around.
Another renting trend to look for is the shared space. Communal lounge areas and
rooftop green spaces are sprouting up in forward-thinking apartment communities. Why
not live it up in style in a community that offers top-notch shared spaces and amenities
like rooftop night clubs, outdoor dining pods, movie screening rooms and basketball
Green living
Energy-efficient living is a big plus, and many developers consider this when they
design a community. In fact, in a survey of over 1000 consumers conducted by Strata

Research for HD Supply, 62% reported that environmental friendliness was a key factor
in deciding where to live.
Renting residents are looking for extra green on the grounds of their perfect apartments.
Many communities are installing Zen gardens, bike paths, and community garden plots.
One popular trend in green apartment living is to provide plug-in stations for electric
Amped-up amenities
Green areas arent just for humans these days. Multifamily Executive also reports that
rental companies like Related in New York City are incorporating super-amenities like
Dog City. This pooch-pampering perk includes grooming, doggie day care, veterinary
care and training.
So when youve scored a right-sized, affordable and efficient apartment a stones throw
away from work and play, what else could you possibly need? Connectivity, of course!
Another main driver of rental decisions goes beyond the four walls of an apartment. Cell
phone reception and wireless Internet are extremely important to apartment living; wellwired communities stand out from the rest. As you shop around for the perfect place to
live, be sure to ask about Internet connection and phone reception. (Better yet, test it out
yourself on your smart devices.) An accommodating community will keep you connected
in every way feasible.
Focus On Convertible Spaces.
Instead of dedicating a room to a movie theater or gym, create a multi-purpose room.
Renters can use movable furniture to easily convert the space into whatever they need it
for whether its a movie showing, party, or workout routine with friends.
Cater to portable tech gadgets.
In the age of tablets and smartphones, demand for a business center is down, but
residents still want a place to work. Cater to your residents connected lifestyles by

offering a community wireless network, strong mobile service, a community printer, and
a comfortable common space where residents can gather with their gadgets.
Residents want organized living space.
Apartments may be getting smaller, but functionality shouldnt be sacrificed. Microapartments and studios should have some separation between the sleeping and living
areas to give it the feel of a one-bedroom apartment. Maximize the reduced square
footage with open floor plans so residents can entertain or create multi-functional
spaces in their apartment.
If you cant do it well, dont bother.
Renters can have high expectations when it comes to amenities, from lazy river pools to
tech concierge, dog parks, and cleaning services. Obviously you cant do it all
especially if your building just doesnt have the space or enough residents to justify
adding the amenity. If you cant execute the service well, its probably more worth your
time and money to look outside the box. Look into partnerships with a local high-end
gym, cleaning service, or dog-walking service to offer your residents discounts.

Innovative Apartment in Hong Kong

Gary Chang, a talented architect from Hong Kong, has equipped his tiny 330 square

foot apartment with a sliding wall system that allows him to create 24 different room

As the suspended wall units are shifted around, the apartment transforms into a kitchen,
library, laundry room, dressing room, an enclosed dining area or a lounge with a

Plumbing Problems
What type of plumbing issues do apartment buildings face? The truth is, apartment
buildings can face the same issues any residential building faces, from backed up toilets
to plugged up drains. The difference is that some problems can create issues for more
than just the resident who caused them.

Consider a plugged kitchen sink, which is quite common.

When one unit's sink gets backed up, it can cause multiple
sinks along the line to back up. If the backup is too large,
the lower unit may even end up flooding. This is a serious
problem that needs to be addressed.
Dirty water can be another problem in multi-family
buildings, particularly in older buildings in urban
communities. Often the water pipe corrosion in old water
and sewage lines that have begun to break down are the
cause of this problem. If your building is older, be sure to
inspect the quality of the water regularly for signs of a
Finally, apartment owners can experience problems when
the main water or sewer line breaks. These leaks are often
hidden away from plain sight, so it's difficult to notice them
until a serious problem occurs, such as a sewage backup
in a unit.
One indication that you may have a problem is a sudden,
unexplained increase in your water bill. If you notice this, or notice any areas with
unusual smells or unexplained standing water, inspect your plumbing for a leak. These
leaks drive up your costs and have the potential to put your resident's health at risk, so
they should not be left unattended.