Envelope Control

  • The Envelope Control guideline will provide developers and homeowner more flexibility in the design of landed housing while safeguarding the low-rise character of landed housing estates.
  • The guideline adopts a volumetric approach which serves as a three dimensional limit within which housing can be designed.
  • It is determined by a combination of setbacks from the road and common plot boundaries, as well as the allowable height for the house.
  • Figure A show the allowable height for Two-Storey & Three-Storey house is 12.0m & 15.5m respectively, with the topmost floor being 3.5m high and setback from the Front and Rear building façade as defined by the 45 degree line.

Note: Any attic floor, if proposed, is to be set back 45 degrees taken from the topmost corner of the floor below the attic (see Figure 1 as an example). The attic should not appear to be an additional floor.

The existing planning guidelines on the attic profile, basement protrusion, third-storey setback and floor-to-floor height will no longer apply. For instance, homeowners can now vary floor to ceiling height to have a mix of spacious and compact spaces. They can also design the attic without the sloping roof and the basement to have more protrusion above ground, which will let in more ventilation and light.

With the new Envelope Control guidelines, some of the current development control guidelines on specific building features will no longer apply to landed housing under the Envelope Control guidelines as these have already been incorporated within the overall permissible envelope. These include guidelines on the attic profile, basement protrusion, and floor-to-floor height. All other relevant and prevailing development control guidelines (e.g. on earthworks, car porch setback, roof eaves, etc.) will continue to apply.

Landed housing under the Envelope Control guidelines should continue to adhere to the 2-storey or 3-storey height control applicable to the respective landed estates.

Type of Landed Housing

Detached Houses or Bungalows

A detached house or bungalow is a free standing dwelling unit within a plot of land. The plot can vary in size.

For plots outside the good class bungalow areas (GCBA), they should have a minimum plot size of not less than 400m² unless the existing lots are already subdivided with a land area less than this.

The bungalow plots in the GCBA should have a minimum development size of 1400m². All bungalow plots are subject to a maximum site coverage control of 35%, 40% or *45% depending on the plot size.

*Landed housing under the Envelope Control guidelines will be subject to 2m rear and side setback. Please refer to Envelope Control guidelines paras 7 to 10.



Type Minimum Plot Size (m2) Minimum Width (m) Minimum Depth (m) Building Coverage Setback Control (m)
Detached House or Bungalow 400 10 No Control 40% Front : 7.5m

For 1st & 2nd storey,

Side/Rear : 2m

For 3rd storey,

Side/Rear : 2m/3m

>800 10 No Control 40%
<800 10 No Control 45% (only in 2-storey mixed landed and semi-detached housing areas)


Semi-Detached Houses

A semi-detached house (see Figure 2a) is a dwelling house:

(a) partially attached on one side to any number of other units. This includes a

  • semi-detached bungalow house;
  • semi-detached terrace house (also known as corner terrace);
  • back-to-back semi-detached house.

(b) abutting the common boundary as a result of the adjoining unit being demolished or redeveloped into other housing form.

*Landed housing under the Envelope Control guidelines will be subject to 2m rear and side setback. Please refer to Envelope Control guidelines paras 7 to 10.

Terrace House

A terrace house is a house on a lot which forms part of a row of at least 3 dwelling houses abutting the common boundaries with party walls. The width of the terrace plot may vary but it should not be less than 6m wide for the intermediate units and 8m for the corner units.

There are 2 types of terrace houses; namely, terrace house I & terrace house II. For terrace house I, front setback from the road is based on buffer requirement (see Figure 3). For the terrace II, the building wall and roof eaves are setback 2m (fixed) and 1m from the road reserve respectively. A standard plot size and typical layout are shown in Figure 4.

*Landed housing under the Envelope Control guidelines will be subject to 2m rear and side setback. Please refer to Envelope Control guidelines paras 7 to 10.

Plot Ratio & Gross Floor Area

The plot ratio of a site is defined as the ratio of the Gross Floor Area of a Building(s) to its site.

Plot Ratio = Gross Floor Area/Site Area

Standard GPR/Storey Height Typology for Residential Developments

Gross Plot Ratio Storey Height Control
1.4 5
1.6 12
2.1 24
2.8 36
>2.8 >36


Gross Floor Area definition takes into consideration of the following principles:

  • Where the floor areas are uncovered and do not generate activities that will intensify the development, they would be excluded from GFA.
  • Where the floor areas are required by government agencies or to meet public policies/ objectives, they would be excluded from GFA.
  • Where the building design features or the use of modern construction techniques do not give rise to additional floor space and intensity of development, they would be excluded from GFA.
  • Where the floor areas have a limited height clearance (1.5m or less) and are used for M&E or other services, they would be excluded from GFA.

Along with the consideration of the principle, the following areas are not counted as Gross Floor Area.

  • Covered link ways, pavilions and sheds
  • Basement diaphragm walls
  • Curtain wall or cladding systems
  • Left over spaces in car park floors
  • Covered public footway/walkway
  • Certain covered public concourse area
  • Roof concealing unsightly roof-top equipment
  • M&E spaces with limited headroom (i.e. less than 1.5 m)
  • Roof-top or other uncovered landscape gardens, tennis courts, swimming pools, private enclosed spaces, balconies
  • Ledges for air-conditioning units and planters
  • Suspended AHU in voids
  • Rainwater holding tanks buried in the ground, aesthetic moldings, unroofed staircases to ESS, meter compartment /bin point at gate post, non-weather proof building maintenance platforms at roof level

URA reserves the right to decide on GFA matters based on the specific design of a development proposal on a case-by-case basis.