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Design Flexibility for Landed Housing

  Published: 05 July 2019
Circular No : URA/PB/2019/08-DCG


Who Should Know:
Building owners, developers, and architects

Effective Date:
With effect from 5th July 2019 till 5th July 2021

  1. URA will accord greater flexibility in the design of attic and mezzanine floors within landed homes. The revised guidelines will apply till 5th July 2021, allowing for a review to ensure the guidelines continue to safeguard the character and liveability of landed housing estates.

Current Guidelines

  1. In 2015, in consultation with professionals of the building industry and owners of landed homes, URA introduced the envelope control guidelines to guide the development of landed houses. The guidelines aim to provide owners flexibility in designing their homes, while maintaining the low-rise character of landed housing estates. Refer to this circular for details of the current guidelines.
  1. The guidelines have generally been well-received. However, URA has also received feedback from industry professionals that the guidelines can be refined to provide even more flexibility in the design of landed homes, while continuing to safeguard the character of our landed housing estates.
  1. To accord greater flexibility for the design of spaces within the permissible building envelope, the revisions are as follows:

    1. Mezzanine. Mezzanine floors are no longer required to be kept to below 50% of a typical floor plate and there will no longer be restrictions on window openings on the front façade of the mezzanine floors. However, the landed house must still be designed within the permissible building envelope stipulated for the landed housing estate it is located in (i.e. maximum 12m overall height for a designated two-storey landed housing estate and 15.5m for a designated three-storey landed housing estate). The headroom proposed for each floor level should promote good internal spatial quality for residential living.
    2. Attic. The attic can be proposed within the permissible two-storey and three-storey envelopes respectively. This is a relaxation of the current control, which requires the attic to be set back from the front and rear building facade as defined by the 45-degree line measured from the proposed floor slab of the top-most floor.

      Notwithstanding the above, where roof terraces are proposed, they should be located at least 3m below the top extent of the permissible building envelope. This will allow for future coverings by home owners to be within the overall building envelope. Roofs with less than 3m below the top extent of the permissible building envelope should be proposed as RC flat roofs that are non-accessible except for maintenance purposes.
    Refer to Appendix 1 for examples of possible designs of landed houses under the revised guidelines.
  1. Homeowners and building professionals are encouraged to consider designs that are sensitive and compatible to their surrounding houses. The layout of the house should still reflect that of a single dwelling unit. For example, there should be a single access into the house and shared common facilities serving the family. URA will evaluate each development application taking into account factors such as potential impact to the neighbourhood, the impact on the liveability of occupants, and the permissible envelope under the guidelines applicable to the site.
  1. To ameliorate the external impact of houses on large plots exceeding 1,400sqm, URA may require more generous setback from the road and/or the common boundaries. For example, the building may be required to be set back by the distance equivalent to the aggregate height of the development.
  1. In addition, the requirements of other agencies, such as those relating to fire safety, will continue to apply.


  1. The revised guidelines will apply to all proposals for new landed houses island-wide with immediate effect. Owners of existing houses (approved both prior to and after the introduction of the envelope control guidelines) carrying out additions and alterations works can also take advantage of the revised guidelines. However, if the existing building is already higher or larger than the permissible two-storey and three-storey building envelope respectively, no further increase in building bulk would be supported for such additions and alterations works.
  1. The caption for the proposal should still reflect the development as a 2-storey or 3-storey landed house with basement, attic and/or with mezzanine floor (if any) corresponding with the allowable storey height and building form in the Landed Housing Area plans under the Master Plan.
  1. I would appreciate it if you could convey the contents of this circular to the relevant members of your organisation. 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.
  1. 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.


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