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R Codes – so what r they?

Posted on August 4, 2017

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Understanding the R Codes – Stratawise explains how to make the most out of your property subdivision or development.

Everything you wanted to know about R Codes…like, what R they??

There’s no doubt about it – getting your head around government regulations and planning codes can be a real nightmare! Yet as tricky as it can be, coming to terms with all of the jargon and terminology is vital when you’re deciding where to buy and build (or want to subdivide or develop property you already own). R Codes definitely fall into this category.

R Codes – or “Residential Codes” – are designed to help suburbs, towns and cities in Australia control their population growth by controlling the number and type of dwellings that can be built in a given area. This means that they’re fundamental in determining your homesite’s development potential.

To make matters even trickier, the regulatory goal posts change over time. As leaders in Perth home designs, at Stratawise we can help you cut through the confusion and make sure that you’re kicking property investment goals! Get in touch with us for a chat today!


Wherever you live, whatever site you’re planning to build, or if you are subdividing or developing, you will be subject to a planning regulation called ‘R Codes’. The ‘R’ stands for ‘Residential’ and refers to the Residential Planning Codes.They’re basically designed to help suburbs, towns and cities in WA control their population growth in a structured and equitable way, and consider things like height, density, design, amenity and sustainability. All new developments – from a single residential house to an apartment complex – are assessed against the R Codes before they are approved.

Please explain…

Please Explain...

Put simply, the R Code of an area stipulates how many residences can go on a 1-hectare (10,000 square metre) parcel of land, and the minimum and average size of a residential block in that area. For example, an R Code of R20 means you could have up to 20 dwellings per hectare of land, with each dwelling requiring an average site area of 450m2 and a minimum site are of 350m2.

But R Codes are much more complex than just density and block size. To ensure the best outcome of a potential development, it will also be assessed by the R Codes over things like:

  • Type of dwelling
  • Type of title: Strata vs Green
  • Maximum site coverage
  • Minimum open space requirement
  • Maximum dwelling height allowed
  • Required boundary setbacks
  • Managing overlooking and privacy
  • Extent and number of boundary walls
  • Access to parking required on the site
  • Site Works

What does this mean for you?

What does this mean for you?

The R Codes will help determine your homesite’s development potential. The higher the number, the more dwellings can fit on the site – so savvy investors will likely lean towards a home site with the most sub-divisible potential, with an R Code that allows a greater number of dwellings to be built on it. Your local council or shire will assess your development against the rules around setbacks, overlooking, height and open space – just to name a few. Zoning is constantly evolving, causing R Codes to change over time. It’s important to check the code before you commit to a piece of land to ensure it can achieve what you are planning – and that’s where Stratawise can help. We’re all over the R Codes!

Who decides what the R Codes are?

The WAPC (WA Planning Commission) designates the R Codes, but they are administered and applied by local government (your local council or shire). Before you make a commitment to subdivide or develop, talk to the helpful subdivision specialists at Stratawise – we have plenty of experience and expertise, and we’d be happy to can explain the regulations of your local area, and help you through the process to achieve the best possible outcome.


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