Trafford Design Code

Form and Profile

Plan and Layout


Elevation and Proportion

Balconies and Terraces

Materials and Detail

Boundaries, Servicing and Plant

Car and Bicycle Parking


Plan and Layout


Apartment buildings should sit in attractively landscaped grounds, providing private garden space for ground floor units together with a communal garden at ground floor for those residents living in upper floor units. Good quality internal and external environments must be provided for occupants to promote health and well-being. Car parking provision must be carefully sited and not dominate the site.


Floorplates should sit comfortably with the urban grain, avoiding large ‘L’ shaped blocks, whilst the number of dwellings accessed from a single core should be no more than eight units per floor – this will help to encourage a sense of community.

Features of apartment plan and layout

  • Entirely dual aspect apartments for increased daylight and ventilation
  • Contextual scale, materials and roof forms
  • Active ground floor commercial and residential uses
  • Large communal courtyard with separation between habitable windows
  • Private front and rear gardens for ground floor apartments
  • Roof terraces, balconies and communal deck spaces
  • Gaps in frontage to allow sunlight, circulation and entrances
  • Multiple street entrances



Example of apartment block circulation

Built examples


Courtyard and perimeter blocks


Perimeter courtyard block: this example shows a rectangular  block with its longest elevation facing south  for the maximum number of south facing units. All apartment units are at least dual aspect and there is adequate separation distances between elevations. There is a mix of communal and private gardens on ground floor. Public facing elevations have private residential entrances and active commercial units on the corners. There are multiple entrances into apartment buildings and no building has more than eight units per core.

Private garden space

Communal open space

Built examples


Apartments per core


Single block: Apartments units per core in a single block. Where building cores are on external elevations, they should be north facing to maximise residential units facing south.

Perimeter block: Apartments arranged around the corner of a perimeter block with two cores and allows for ground floor entrances from both elevations.




Deck Access: Apartments with deck access provide dual aspect elevations for daylighting and cross ventilation

Deck access and internal building core: a hybrid model of internal and external circulation corridors can maximise the number of dual aspect units 


window elevations

dual aspect unit

Internal corridor slab; apartment units in a long horizontal shape building should have the longest elevations facing south and place the building core or services on the north elevation.

Internal corridor tower; apartments with a smaller floorspace can maximise dual aspect apartments and locate the building core on the north elevation


Internal living environment

Examples of maximising daylight and sunlight

Dual aspect apartments: apartments with at least a dual aspect with two window elevations can have the longest internal elevation wall

Internal corridor access; apartments with an internal enclosed corridor must have a wider external elevation and larger windows to allow for more natural light to more rooms 

Elevations with natural light

Longest elevation

National space standards calculator

The calculator has adapted from the Technical housing standards – nationally described space standard (March 2015) by the Department for Communities and Local Government

NB: the national space standards are subject to change and therefore the following calculator should be used only as a reference and refer to government source for official standards


Active frontages

Example of how an apartment can activate ground floor space


Examples of ground floor uses to create active frontage

Principles of apartment ground floor activation

Apartments with retail (cafes, leisure, restaurants, etc) on ground floor

Apartments with undercroft parking and active retail kiosk on front public boundary

Apartments with parking to front boundary will only be allowed if sufficient space for landscape and accessible paths

Raised basements will only be allowed if there is an accessible entrance and approach to the ground floor residential unit


Provision of living spaces


The diagram shows a through breeze for ventilation.This image is illustrative only to demonstrate the principle of the code

Cross ventilation: dual aspect windows allow natural breezes through the house

Diagram shows how noise can be mitigated by separating habitable rooms between neighbours. This image is illustrative only to demonstrate the principle of the code

Noise mitigation: habitable rooms are separated to avoid excessive noise transmittance

The diagram shows how bay windows can allow large amounts of natural light. This image is illustrative only to demonstrate the principle of the code

Natural Daylight: habitable rooms face south with large windows for daylight


Floor to ceiling heights


Deck access


APL 10

Amenity space

Example of maximising private and communal open spaces in an apartment building


APL 11

Landscape strategy

APL 12

Habitable room privacy


Wrap around corner units; the diagram shows one of numerous ways of mitigating potential overlooking by using adequate separation and wrap around corner units. 

Core and circulation; the core and corridors can be used at corner points for greater separation distance between habitable windows on neighbouring apartment units


Distance between habitable windows

Overlooking windows of same apartment

Apartments plan and internal layout case studies

Acton Gardens

Acton Gardens by Alison Brooks Architects for Countryside Properties This £500m masterplan for the 2600 home, 40-acre regeneration of the South Acton Estate was won by

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Dockley Apartments

Dockley Apartments by Studio Woodroffe Papa for Matching Green Ltd The redevelopment of the Dockley Road Industrial Estate is part of a wider scheme transforming the railway

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Aarhus residence, Denmark

Aarhus residence, Denmark by CEBRA  when designing these new apartment buildings in aarhus, denmark, CEBRA architecture began with one of the most important spaces for a community: the

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Brentwood Locks

brentwood Lock West, London by Duggan Morris Mixed tenure housing along the waterfront, forming part of a five-year project to breathe new life into the

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Permeable paving options