Factsheets, Templates & Tools

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Fact sheets 



 Fact sheets

Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP)

In collaboration with the Cities of Port Phillip, Melbourne and Yarra, Stonnington Council has developed and launched fact sheets outlining the 10 key sustainable building categories to support Council's SDAPP program. The fact sheets provide an overview of the SDAPP process, as well as more detailed information on design measures that can be incorporated to improve the sustainability of all sizes of development. In addition, the fact sheets contain Council's best practice standard for each category as well as useful references and links for further information.

The fact sheets provide an overview of the SDAPP process including the steps applicants should follow. They cover the following key categories: 

  1. Indoor Environment Quality(PDF, 467KB)
  2. Energy Efficiency(PDF, 406KB)
  3. Water Efficiency(PDF, 389KB)
  4. Stormwater Management(PDF, 761KB) 
    1. Site Permeability(PDF, 2MB) 
  5. Building Materials(PDF, 466KB)
  6. Transport(PDF, 679KB) 
  7. Waste Management(PDF, 490KB) 
  8. Urban-Ecology(PDF, 743KB) 
    1. Green Roofs, Walls & Facades(PDF, 3MB)
  9. Innovation(PDF, 395KB)   
    1. Melbourne Climate(PDF, 818KB)
  10. Construction & Building Management(PDF, 288KB)

Council recommends that applicants for medium and large developments schedule a pre-application meeting where further advice on the process and ESD measures can be provided by Stonnington’s ESD officer.

 Templates for medium and large projects

Depending on the size the development, applicants may be required to submit an accompanying sustainability report.

Medium Projects

  • Residential - 2 to 9 dwellings
  • Non Residential - Development of a building with a gross floor area between 100m2 and 1000m2; alterations and additions between 100m2 and 1000m2


Applicants are requested to prepare and submit a Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA) which shows how each of the 10 key sustainable design categories has been addressed in the project.

A SDA is a simple report, which in conjunction with use of the BESS tool (see below), can be prepared by applicants themselves.

An example of an SDA template(DOCX, 77KB) is available to assist applicants in developing the SDA report.

Large projects

  • Residential - Development of 10 or more dwellings
  • Non Residential - Development of a building with a gross floor area of more that 1000m2; alterations and additions greater than 1000m2 

Applicants with projects in this category are requested to submit a Sustainable Management Plan (SMP). This is a more detailed report which, as well as other aspects, should:

  • demonstrate how each of the 10 key sustainable design categories have been addressed
  • identify relevant sustainability targets and performance standards
  • document the means by which the appropriate target or performance is to be achieved.

The nature of larger developments provides the opportunity for increased environmental benefits and for major resource savings. Hence, the greater rigour in investigation is justified. It may be necessary to engage a sustainability professional to prepare an SMP.

An example SMP template(DOCX, 90KB) is available to assist applicants.


Sustainable Design tools can assist in benchmarking and reporting the sustainability achievements of a project to both the applicant and Council. The Built Environment Sustainability Scorecard (BESS) is a new online sustainability assessment tool. BESS has been developed especially to support the SDAPP framework.


  • is free for planning permit applicants to use
  • assesses any size and type of building, including mixed-use developments
  • is easy to use
  • can be used to benchmark against other developments.
  • streamlines the planning permit process
  • reduces running costs of new buildings
  • provides liveability and usability benefits for building owners and users.

The information required to complete a BESS assessment is simple for small developments and increases in complexity for larger developments.

BESS replaces the STEPS and SDS tools.

STEPS and SDS have been retired from use. STEPS is now locked to new applications, however will remain online until 31 October 2018 so that existing projects can be accessed.

STEPS and SDS will no longer be accepted for new applications.

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.

BESS is owned by the Municipal Association of Victoria (MAV) and was developed with support by the Victorian Government.

The BESS tool provides an assessment of the environmental performance of a given development, and can be used to generate a report outlining this performance as part of the planning application. BESS can assist in the development of SDAs and SMPs. Applicants are requested to enclose a print-out of the relevant report with their applications.