August 15, 2015 Written by: John Glossop, Director, Glossop Town Planning

Should basements be included in site coverage?

Planning Practice Note 27: Understanding the Residential Development Standards was recently updated in June 2015.

In relation to the site coverage standards (A5 and B8), the Practice Note now indicates that site coverage ...does not include an underground basement that is constructed wholly underground.


We endorse the approach to exclude only underground basements from site coverage calculations.  In our view, underground basements have little (if any) impact on the area’s character and this approach supports the objective of Clause 55.03-3: to ensure that the site coverage respects the existing or preferred neighbourhood character and responds to the features of the site.

We also take this opportunity to note that PN27 provides further guidance in relation to the site coverage calculations, in that:

The definition of a building includes a dwelling, a garage or carport, a veranda and any other roofed building such as a garden shed.  When calculating site coverage, if the upper storey projects over the ground floor, that part of the upper storey is also added to the ground floor area…

Outdoor paving, driveways, footpaths or building eaves are not included when calculating the amount of site coverage.

A copy of Practice Note 27 (updated June 2015) can be accessed via the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrustructure.  

If you have a question regarding site coverage, please feel free to contact us.