Planning Policy and Toolkit Development

Organica Engineering has extensive experience assisting many local Melbourne Metropolitan Councils to introduce practical sustainability assessment processes into their planning processes. The SDAPP program is a sustainability assessment system designed to be readily incorporated into existing Council workflows. The Council Alliance for a Sustainable Built Environment (CASBE) has been formed by the group of Councils who have implemented the program, and those interested in doing so in the future.


We have a strong technical background, working with the City of Port Phillip to develop the Sustainable Design Scorecard (SDS), and with ESD officers at Moreland City Council as consultants over the last 5 years to continually refine and update the STEPS tool. Ian has also prepared green building policies and toolkits for the Department of Defence’s 30,000 buildings, and has been selected by the Green Building Council to help develop the Public Buildings, Industrial and Communities Green Star tools and Calculators.


Organica Engineering can offer assistance to Councils interested in undertaking a trial of the SDAPP program, or others who may have taken the first steps and require ongoing support with program operation.


Our We can additionally provide a ‘remote referrals’ service – whereby Sustainable Design Assessments and ESD Management Plans submitted to Council by applicants can be forwarded to us in electronic format for a full assessment and provision of feedback. Organica Engineering can work with applicants and/or planning staff to ensure best-practice environmental outcomes are achieved.


Our staff have extensive experience delivering sustainability training packages to a range of audiences, including specific packages around SDAPP implementation:

  • Environmentally Sustainable Design concepts and background issues;
  • SDAPP program details and objectives – integration into Council workflow;
  • Practical usage of common sustainability rating tools (ie. STEPS, SDS, STORM, Green Star, FirstRate5 etc.)
  • ESD Reports assessment, feedback, and planning permit clauses.

A combination of in-house training and remote referral assessment can allow Councils to easily setup and run a trial of the SDAPP program without needing to stretch exiting internal resources.


Organica Engineering has prepared SDAPP marketing materials including website content, printed pamphlets, and case study articles for several Councils for publication.

Having worked extensively with a  broad range of industrial sectors, government agencies, planners, and builders/developers we are in an excellent position to facilitate the incorporation of Sustainable Design principles and the assessment of options available to improve the performance of new and existing buildings. Please contact us today to find out how Organica Engineering can assist your organisation to achieve its sustainability goals.


Organica has previously developed ESD policies and toolkits for Victorian Councils including Hobson’s Bay, Manningham, Yarra, Casey, Knox, Darebin, and Brimbank. We have worked with NSW Councils (Queanbeyan Council, Penrith and Blue Mountians) and we have assisted Sustainability Victoria to develop guidelines for Sustainability in Council Facilities generally. We also currently fulfil the role of ESD Officer – located in the Statutory Planning Department – at both Knox, Dandenong and Whitehorse City Councils in Melbourne.  We are also currently working with Queanbeyan Council in NSW to help them develop an ESD Policy.


In Victoria planning permit applicants who meet certain triggers are requested to submit a report outlining key environmental performance considerations – in order to achieve more sustainable outcomes for the long-term benefit of building occupants, owners, and the wider community.

Based on the size of a proposed development, applicants may be asked to submit reports of different size and scope. The two most common type of report are the Sustainable Design Assessment (SDA) for smaller developments (often 3-9 residential dwellings or 500-1000m2) and an ESD Management Plan for larger developments (often set at 10+ residential dwellings or greater than 1,000m2 commercial GFA). Both reports are required to address the following key environmental areas:

–    Indoor Environment Quality
–    Energy Efficiency
–    Water Resources
–    Stormwater Management
–    Building Materials
–    Transport
–    Waste Management
–    Urban Ecology
–    Innovation
–    Ongoing building and site management

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