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Sustainable buildings

We support sustainability in the built environment through the work of the Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment (CASBE).

CASBE is an association of Victorian councils committed to the creation of a sustainable built environment within and beyond their municipalities. CASBE is an unincorporated local government alliance auspiced by the MAV.

Sustainability in planning

The Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP) framework was developed by Victorian councils to provide a streamlined and consistent methodology for requesting built environment sustainability outcomes through the planning process.

By implementing the SDAPP framework and using its tools, councils can achieve more sustainable outcomes from their local built environment for the long-term benefit of their community.

The SDAPP framework:

  • recognises the role of local governments as a statutory authority for planning matters
  • provides a framework for consideration of sustainable design elements of planning applications
  • offers a consistent method for identifying opportunities for improved environmental building performance
  • ensures that sustainability is considered at the very early design phase – the best time to maximise opportunities for good orientation and other initiatives that create liveable, comfortable, efficient buildings.

The Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard (BESS) is the recommended tool under SDAPP.

BESS logoBuilt Environment Sustainability Scorecard

The Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard (BESS) is an assessment tool created by councils in Victoria.

BESS helps building professionals and developers demonstrate how a proposed development addresses sustainable design at the planning permit stage.

The BESS tool covers key elements that form good liveability and design practice. It supports councils with developing a productive, sustainable and resilient community.

BESS replaces two tools that have been used for the past decade. These are:

  • STEPS, originally developed by Moreland City Council to assess residential buildings
  • Sustainable Design Scorecard (SDS), originally developed by the City of Port Phillip to assess non-residential buildings.

STEPS and SDS were retired from use at the end of October 2016. STEPS will be open for to access historical STEPS assessments until 31 October 2018.

Developers may use any tool of their choice to complete an ESD assessment for a planning permit application however it is recommended that all new applications use BESS.

Interested in subscribing to the Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard? Take a look at the BESS Prospectus (PDF - 1.83MB).

Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) Planning Policy

In November 2015 Banyule, Moreland, Port Phillip, Stonnington, Whitehorse and Yarra City Councils had Local ESD Policies gazetted. This achievement is a reflection of the combined effort and collaboration of CASBE councils over the past decade.

We understand it is the intention of state government to work towards introducing a state based policy.

CASBE continues to help facilitate councils interested in pursuing a local ESD Planning Policy.

Further information

For further information about MAV Planning and Building Policy, contact:

Michelle Croughan
Manager, Planning and Building
03 9667 5541

For further information about CASBE, SDAPP and the ESD Policies, contact:

Natasha Palich
CASBE Executive Officer
03 9667 5555

For further information about BESS, contact:

Shannon Best
BESS Manager
03 9667 5555