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Design Flexibility for Landed Homes – Update on the Pilot Guidelines

  Published: 12 July 2021
Circular No : URA/PB/2021/05-DCG


Who Should Know:
Building owners, developers, and architects

Effective Date:
With effect from 5th July 2021

This circular supersedes the previous Circular: URA/PB/2019/08-DCG dated 5 July 2019 on “Design Flexibility for Landed Housing”

  1. In July 2019, URA implemented a 2-year pilot guidelines to accord greater flexibility in the design of mezzanine floors and attics within the permissible building envelope of landed houses.

    The key changes were as follows:

    1. Mezzanine. Mezzanine floors were allowed to be more than 50% of a typical floor plate with no restrictions on window openings on the front façade of the mezzanine floors. The landed house must be designed within the permissible building envelope stipulated for the landed housing estate it is located in1. The headroom proposed for each floor level should promote good internal spatial quality for residential living.


    2. Attic. The attic could be proposed within the permissible two-storey and three-storey envelopes respectively. This is a relaxation of the previous control, which required 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. Accessible roof terraces, if proposed, should be located at least 3m below the top extent of the permissible building envelope. This would 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 circular URA/PB/2019/08-DCG for more details of the pilot changes.

  2. URA has conducted a post-implementation review and consulted with professionals of the building industry. The pilot guidelines have generally been well-received. Industry practitioners and landed home owners benefited from greater design flexibility, while there is minimal impact on the streetscape as the overall building bulk is kept to within the permissible building envelope. For proposals that included mezzanine, most proposed only one mezzanine floor which provided varied spaces that cater to the lifestyle needs of families. However, the insertion of multiple mezzanines that extend the full length of the house could result in low headroom and affect the quality of the living space.


  3. URA will thus be making the pilot guidelines permanent and will assess proposals with more than one mezzanine based on the merits of the proposal as well as the quality of the internal spaces. See Appendix 1 for examples of possible designs of landed houses under the relaxed guidelines.


  4. Homeowners and building professionals should continue to consider designs that are sensitive and compatible to the surrounding houses. The layout of the house should still reflect that of a single dwelling unit. URA will continue to evaluate each development application taking into account factors such as potential impact to the neighbourhood, the impact on the liveability of occupants, quality of the internal spaces and the permissible building envelope under the guidelines applicable to the site.



  5. The guidelines will apply to all proposals for new landed houses island-wide with immediate effect.


  6. 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.


  7. 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.


  8. 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.


  9. 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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This refers to the maximum 12 m overall height for a designated two-storey landed housing estate and maximum 15.5 m for a designated three-storey landed housing estate.

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