Are you looking to undertake a residential townhouse development project, but you are unsure how overshadowing neighbours might affect your projects overall outcome?

We’ll stick around because, in this article, I hope to share everything you need to know when it comes to overshadowing your neighbours.

Let’s get into it.

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Overshadowing Regulations Victoria

The implications of overshadowing your neighbours when designing your townhouses in Victoria is one of those things that don’t get talked about enough but can make and break your development.

Site Orientation

The first thing you need to consider is your site’s orientation. This will have the most significant impact on the shadowing you’ll be projecting onto neighbours and potentially your own private open space.

overshadowing your neighbours

Which in turn may restrict what you can achieve with your design.

So, there are many rules and restrictions around not shadowing your neighbour’s habitable windows. Or specific percentages of their open space.

There are even restrictions around shadowing your neighbour’s solar panels.

North Facing Private Open Space

There is a reason why north facing private open space properties are popular and command a premium.

They maximise the natural light into your living spaces where the light is most valuable.

north private open space

This orientation minimises the chance of your new design shadowing anyone else’s northern solar access.

Here at Little Fish, when we are looking to identify a suitable development site, one of the critical boxes that we need to tick is determining what neighbour will be to the south of our design.

overlooking regulations victoria

We must know this because there will be constraints around shadowing their dwellings habitable rooms, private open space, and solar panels.

Ideally, what we are looking for is if we have a direct south neighbour. That there is a nice amount of separation between their dwelling and the boundary. For e.g., there may be a driveway on that side. Separating our site and their habitable rooms (see arrow in the image below).

overlooking regulations

Also, something else that is important to be aware of is that shadowing is measured as a percentage.

So, when you are looking to develop a site next to a property with one dwelling, you’ll typically be shadowing their backyard.

But if you are developing next to a townhouse with a small backyard, it won’t take much not to comply with the overshadowing regulations.

shadow analysis of buildings

It can make it very difficult to achieve much on your first floor if there are small private open spaces in proximity, especially to your south.

Another thing worth mentioning is how the shadowing is calculated and presented in your town planning application.

When submitting your application, several standard requirements need to be met. You will need to provide a plan with shadow diagrams. Showing where shadows will fall at specific times of the day.

September 22nd The Equinox

The shadow diagrams must;

  • Shown on a separate plan for the hours of 9am, 12noon and 3pm on September 22nd (equinox)
  • Include the shadow cast
  • Differentiate between existing shadows and proposed shadows.

overshadowing neighbours diagram

As always, we advise liaising with professionals such as your town planner and designer.

These guys will be best positioned to advise on the overshadowing regulations and ensure that your proposed design complies.

overshadowing regulations

Wrapping Up

Finally, before we wrap up, I want to mention the importance of site orientation again when you are actively searching for your next site to develop.

It is something that gets overlooked and undervalued way more than it should.

The number of variables it affects is significant and can absolutely negatively impact your bottom line.