Getting started

For Planning Permit Applicants

BESS has been designed with online help and guidance to allow you to work progressively through the assessment, and experiment with potential improvements along the way.

BESS is the recommended tool under the Sustainable Design Assessment in the Planning Process (SDAPP) framework, which is used by a growing number of Victorian local governments. Under SDAPP, planning permit applicants submit information about the environmental sustainability of their new development. BESS can assess single houses, townhouse developments, apartment buildings, large non-residential or mixed use developments.

BESS becomes more complex with the complexity of the development. For single houses or renovations, no prior experience is required to use BESS. However, you will always benefit from using professionals (architects or building designers) with sustainability credentials. For multi-unit, non-residential and mixed use developments, an ESD professional should be engaged to prepare the BESS assessment and to advise on the project from the concept design phase. 

Find our list of BESS-trained professionals here.

To begin your BESS assessment you will need to login to the tool. If this is your first time using BESS, you will be prompted to create an account.

Once logged in, you will need the following information about your project:

  • Town planning drawings, elevations, section drawings, materials palette
  • Knowledge of the major construction materials
  • Thermal performance modelling (e.g. FirstRate)
  • Understanding of the building context (built form surrouding the site)
  • Anticipated minimum energy efficiency rating of major appliances for heating, cooling and hot water (energy labeling)
  • Anticipated minimum water efficiency rating of taps, toilets and fittings (WELS ratings)
  • On-site renewable energy devices and rainwater tank details (if applicable)
  • A STORM or MUSIC rating

For more detailed information about getting started with BESS, see the Tool Notes

For technical support or to provide feedback or suggestions, use the Contact form. 

For Councils

BESS is funded through a Council-based subscription model. The tool is free for planning permit applicants, but can only be used within subscribing municipalities. 

Become a BESS subscriber Council.

Subscriber Councils have a nominated BESS admin account. For help setting this up, please contact The admin account allows viewing of all submitted projects within the municipality.