LINARCH design


What is solar access?

Solar access refers to the minimum amount of winter sunshine that is required to be provided for proposed new dwellings.  It is regulated by the approving authority (usually the local Council, through a Development Control Plan) and in NSW by the State Environmental Planning Policy SEPP65.  Winter sunshine is usually required to be provided to the glazing of living areas and private outdoor space.  Predicting the likely solar access is quite complicated, begause it is governed by a complex 3D geometry. 

Because of a history of arguments about the relevance of small amounts of sun in satisfying the controls, the Land and Environment Court has tried to encapsulate Principles for solar access arrangement, published on its web site as Access to sunlight The Benevolent Society v Waverley Council [2010] NSWLEC 1082

Why do you need an expert consultant?

Well, you don't always.  But it is surprisingly difficult to choose the right methods of analysis and especially the appropriate means of communicating how well your building is likely to perform  (See especially Compliance reporting for an example) .  And if you are having trouble with the relevant LEC Planning Principles, you definitely need the expert in town with the most experience in properly interpreting their application.

What is overshadowing?

Overshadowing almost always refers to the right of neighbours to continue to enjoy a mandated minimum access to winter sunshine.  In some Council areas, there are also rules to protect enjoyment of the public domain, typically in dense areas where street dining is a part of the urban experience.

Why is cross ventilation such an issue?

Cross ventilation refers to the natural ventilation of dwellings that happens, most effectively, when there are openings available in different facades of a building.  In an attempt to make sure that effective natural ventilation is available for summer comfort in the warm months of Australia's temperate and warm humid climates, authorities have implemented some relatively simple controls for assuring most apartments achieve cross ventilation.

The problem is that a lot of apartments will be perfectly comfortable with natural ventilation without actually having openings in different facades.  This is especially true on the upper floors of taller apartment blocks.  And in spite of the fact that this is obvious to any person who has bothered to think about it, very few architects have the technical expertise in the relevant area to adequately demonstrate where this might be true. Wind engineering hasn't really rediscovered this area of investigation, being more concerned with high wind speeds and the nuisance and damage to which they give rise. 

Steve King is one of very few architectural consultants to deal with the low velocities involved in thermal comfort.  He works with select expert consultants to provide performance based analysis and reporting where compliance with deemed to satisfy Design criteria type controls is difficult to demonstrate.