Affordable Housing


Mark Lawler Architects has extensive experience building and designing affordable housing under NSW Government policies.

We have completed and are undertaking a number of developments under the New South Wales State Environmental Planning Policy Affordable Rental Housing (ARHSEPP).

This state-wide policy addresses the shortage of affordable accommodation for people with housing needs not being met by the market by providing relaxed planning provisions. 

These provisions allow for smaller dwelling units in a denser arrangement that otherwise would not be permissible by the local council. The requirements for boundary setbacks, car parking, site coverage, landscaping etc. are less onerous for affordable housing designed under this policy.

There is currently great pressure to provide opportunities for types of housing which meet people’s needs at a lower cost. Smaller dwelling units allow for greater housing affordability as many people do not require houses with 3 or 4 bedrooms and a 2 car garage. 

By allowing for smaller dwellings and reduced car parking, the planning controls also enable sites to achieve a higher yield than conventional larger townhouses or apartments i.e. allows for a greater number of dwelling units.

A greater number of smaller dwellings results in a more economical development with a lower build cost per dwelling, addressing the affordable accommodation shortage.

Whilst working within the constraints of this policy or any other authority constraints, it is important that the quality of the design provides comfortable, attractive developments where a high standard of living is not compromised.

As Architects with extensive experience in various forms of residential design and knowledge of the authority regulations, we can assist clients with understanding the benefits of these specific provisions and whether this option is suitable to meet their needs.

We can also assist with information and advice to facilitate “affordable housing” more generally in terms of maximising the economy of construction, services arrangement planning layout and general Architectural design for any project.

Our blogs are a good source for reviewing various topics that relate to the issue of affordability in design and construction. You can learn how to achieve a spacious yet small home design, how to build on a budget and more.

For more information on our affordable housing services and experience, please get in touch with the team from Mark Lawler Architects. We can walk you through the building and design process from start to finish.

Recent Affordable Housing Projects

Ballina Residence

A custom house on a standard lot. This residence has generous floor area within a compact footprint. The design is an alternative to the standard project home ensuring privacy, providing good light and ventilation with living spaces opening into an outdoor living area and pool courtyard.

Janet Street Residence

This new two storey home in Merewether is a refreshing change for a family who engaged MLA previously to renovate their old home. This new home provides better sun access, summer protection, street presentation and connection from indoor to outdoor.

Eleebana Residence

The First Floor addition and renovation of the existing house is composed of an interesting combination of materials and angles as the building adjusts to the unusual site geometry.  A flat roof minimises the building scale and transforms the existing house with a more contemporary aesthetic. The North and South elevations have been designed as [...]

Garden Suburb Subdivision

The new 4 Bedroom dwelling has been designed to sit within the streetscape with its low profile façade, whilst having elevated views towards the rear. The South facing Living spaces and the deck therefore have their roof tilted up to the North with wrap around high level glazing to bring in the Winter sun.

Thompson Residence

A new two storey home where the street front facade is designed to capture views of the Lake whilst offering protection from the elements for the owner. Interactive 3D modelling was used to assist the client with outlooks, sun studies and the general design.

Tudor Street Mixed Use

This development responds to the change in zoning and height controls the Council has introduced along many of the main transport corridors in Newcastle. On the ground floor, an active commercial shopfront is provided, whilst a rear lane provides access to ground level parking behind. Above are three levels accommodating one 3, four 2 bed, [...]

Fairview St Communal Housing

Subdivision and new building to provide eight affordable boarding rooms in a high demand locality, in the Hunter Valley. Traditional materials and forms are critical to ensure the development integrates within the established residential neighbourhood.

Jesmond Boarding House

Affordable housing designed under the provisions of the NSQ Affordable Rental Housing SEPP. Twenty five self-contained studio units plus Manager's residence accommodated within a three level building that has been arranged to co-ordinate with a major flood drain running through the site. Currently with council for DA approval.

Islington Apartments

24 new 1 bedroom affordable apartments on Maitland Road in the heart of Islington with views over Islington Park, secure ground floor parking and foyer. A commercial tenancy will integrate with the Maitland Road frontage. The building has been thoughtfully designed with a strong connection to the bounding corner of Dent St.

Fern Street, Studio Apartments

The building includes 18 x 1 bed studio apartments designed for affordable living.  The ground floor includes a carpark with 15 car spaces and a commercial tenancy.  Most apartments gain views with a Northerly aspect and are positioned to avoid railway noise.