State Planning Policy 7.0 - Design of the built environment

Overarching planning policy and supporting information introducing Design WA.
Last updated: 2 February 2022

The foundation of the Design WA suite of policies is State Planning Policy 7.0 Design of the Built Environment, which became operational following publication in the Government Gazette on 24 May 2019.

It is the lead policy that elevates the importance of design quality across the whole built environment. This State Planning Policy includes 10 principles for good design and establishes the framework for integrating design review as a part of the evaluation process.

What is Design WA?

Design WA is a staged program of improving the overall design quality of the built environment. It seeks to enhance planning and design considerations and processes in alignment with the Action Plan for Planning Reform.

It promotes good planning and design through the following policies:

  • State Planning Policy 7.0 Design of the Built Environment
  • Design Review Guide
  • State Planning Policy 7.2 Precinct Design
  • State Planning Policy 7.3 Residential Design Codes Volume 1
  • State Planning Policy 7.3 Residential Design Codes Volume 2 – Apartments

Are the Design WA documents available for download?

Yes, all documents relating to Design WA can be downloaded from this website.

Optimised with embedded links, definitions and figures, we encourage you to read them via your device, but they are also unlocked for printing.

Are there other resources available to help us?

Explanatory guidelines, templates, case studies and FAQs have been prepared to assist you with understanding and applying the policies.

Additionally, introductory stakeholder videos have been developed for proponents, assessors and decision-makers for the overall Design WA project, particularly for Apartment Design. These videos are listed under the FAQ on this page.

Will Design WA have an impact on housing affordability?

Understanding the potential impact on housing affordability (purchase, operating and whole-of-life costs) is a key consideration of Design WA policies.

Extensive testing has been undertaken to understand the economic implications of the Design WA policies. The testing has shown substantial benefits to health and wellbeing outcomes, amenity, living standards, and household operating costs.

For example, climatically responsive house design through correct orientation and ventilation reduces the need for artificial lighting and air-conditioning, thereby reducing living costs.

Furthermore, at a community-scale, well-designed precincts with a diversity of housing supports more choice and affordable options. This can include options for older residents to downsize and younger people to enter the housing market in their local area.

Well-designed precincts also enable better access to transport alternatives such as walking, cycling and public transport, reducing transport costs.

While housing prices are subject to a wide range of market forces, the testing and related research confirmed that many developers are already building to higher standards so the potential impacts on construction costs are likely to be modest.

What are the next stage of Design WA?

In conjunction to finalising current draft policies, the next stage of Design WA is Neighbourhood Design. Given the predictions of Perth and Peel @ 3.5 million, effective neighbourhood design is integral to the future of our cities and towns. The Neighbourhood Design policy will be the next evolution of the pioneering and award winning Liveable Neighbourhoods policy.

The policy will require a tailored, performance-based approach to neighbourhood design, supported by design review and a high level of community and stakeholder participation. The 10 Principles of Good Design outlined in State Planning Policy 7.0 will apply.

The Western Australian Planning Commission is expecting to advertise the draft Neighbourhood Design policy in 2021.

Stakeholder videos

Design WA

This video provides an overview of the importance of Design WA and the key changes associated with the document for a range of user groups.


This video assists local government officers who will use the new Design WA documents to determine if applications prepared by proponents have met the Design WA requirements.


This video has been provided to assist practicing architects, designers, planners and professionals who are actively using the Design WA documents and need to be made aware of the new processes and key changes.

Design Review

This video outlines the benefits of design review and introduces the factors to achieve it.  

Decision Makers

This video assists local government councillors and other decision makers on the importance of Design WA and the key changes associated with the document.


What to look for in a well-designed house or apartment