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Revision to the Guidelines on Maximum Allowable Dwelling Units in Non-Landed Residential Developments outside the Central Area

  Published: 17 October 2018
Circular No : URA/PB/2018/06-DCG


Who Should Know:
Building owners, developers and architects

Effective Date:
With effect from 17 January 2019

This circular has been superseded by the Circular: URA/PB/2022/10-CUDG on “Guidelines on Dwelling Units in Non-Landed Residential Developments” dated 18 October 2022.

  1. In 2012, URA introduced guidelines on the maximum permissible number of dwelling units (DUs) for a non-landed residential development outside the Central Area (see Appendix 1) to moderate the excessive development1 of shoebox units. The maximum number of DUs was derived by dividing the proposed building Gross Floor Area (GFA) by 70 square metres (sqm).
  1. Four areas, namely Telok Kurau, Kovan, Joo Chiat and Jalan Eunos, were subject to more stringent requirements to better address local infrastructure capacity concerns arising from new developments, i.e. the maximum number of DUs was derived by dividing the proposed GFA by 100 sqm.
  1. Since then, URA has continued to monitor (i) the distribution of unit sizes in each development to cater to different needs, as well as (ii) the number of new developments in certain areas which can cause considerable strain on local infrastructure. We have observed smaller dwelling unit sizes in new private housing projects. In addition, the number of redevelopments in certain locations may strain local infrastructure.

Details of Guidelines

  1. Taking the above into consideration, URA will be revising the existing guideline on the maximum allowable number of DUs for all new flats and condominium developments outside the Central Area to:

    Calculation for maximum number of DUs 
  1. URA and LTA have also identified nine areas (see Appendix 2) where the cumulative effect of new developments could pose a severe strain on local infrastructure. For these areas, the maximum number of DUs for all new flats and condominium developments will be:

    Calculation for maximum number of DUs 
  1. The GFA of any proposed strata landed units will be excluded from the calculation in the formulae in paragraph 4 and 5.
  1. The formulae for calculating the maximum allowable number of DUs in paragraph 4 and 5 are intended to derive an upper bound figure. The actual number of DUs that can be supported in any development will be assessed based on the site context, existing site conditions, and the impact on the local infrastructure. URA will also assess the overall layout, design and unit sizes of the development proposals, and may add other requirements where necessary to protect the quality of the living environment.
  1. Additionally, developers should provide a good mix of unit sizes, including larger DUs that cater to the needs of larger families and facilitate multigenerational living. An example is a development where about 20% of the DUs have a nett internal area of at least 100 sqm, excluding voids, balconies, air-conditioner ledges and other external areas; and where units with a nett internal area of less than 50 sqm do not exceed about 20% of the proposed DUs.
  1. The guidelines will also apply to the residential component of mixed-use developments (e.g. Residential with Commercial at 1st storey or Commercial & Residential developments).
  1. With the revised guidelines, developers are encouraged to provide a wide range of unit sizes which will cater to the diverse needs of all segments of the market, including larger families. The guidelines will also help moderate the reduction in dwelling unit sizes, safeguard the liveability of our residential estates, and ensure that the local infrastructure will not be overly strained. Please refer to Appendix 3 for examples of how the maximum number of DUs allowed in a development will be computed.
  1. URA will continue to monitor and review the guidelines periodically, taking into account factors such as lifestyle changes and infrastructural developments.


  1. The revised guidelines will apply to relevant development applications submitted to URA on or after 17 January 2019. If the proposed development needs to undergo a Pre-Application Feasibility Study (PAFS)3, applicants must first obtain LTA’s clearance4 before submitting the application.
  1. Only formal development applications (excluding Outline Applications) which have already been granted Provisional Permission or which will result in a Provisional Permission that are submitted before 17 January 2019 will not be subject to the revised guidelines.
  1. I would appreciate it if you could convey the contents of this circular to your members. We have updated the same in the Development Control Handbooks. You are advised to refer to these Handbooks for the most updated guidelines and procedures instead of referring to past circulars. For other information on the master plan, urban design guidelines, private property use and approval, car park locations and availability, private residential property transactions, and conservation areas and buildings, use URA SPACE (Service Portal and Community e-Services). This is an online portal packed with useful data and visualisation to help building professionals, business operators and the general public in their decision-making. It consolidates detailed information on land use and private property into a one-stop platform presented on geospatial maps. For feedback or enquiries, please email us.        
Thank You.


1 Refers to flats and condominium developments but not applicable to HDB flats. Condominium developments include Executive Condominiums.

2 Excludes bonus GFA.

3 The PAFS (URA/PB/2017/07-DCG) will estimate the supportable number of DUs, taking into consideration the car-lite measures and/or feasible transport improvement plans to be implemented by the developers.

4 Applicants will not be subject to the revised guidelines, provided (a) they have conducted a PAFS scoping meeting with LTA on or before 17 October 2018 and (b) their formal development applications are submitted together with LTA’s clearance for PAFS and satisfy the conditions in paragraph 13.

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