DSP Architects - About Us - The Unit Development Specialists

Professional People

At DSP Architects we’ve been in the business for quite some time.  Our founder, Danny Sacco, obtained his degree in Architecture back in 1982.

Together we’ve been working here in Melbourne for more than 25 years.  And the proof of our professionalism is that clients keep coming back.

Some of them began building dual occupancies with us 20 years ago.  Today they now build up to 30 units a time.  That’s called confidence.

All in all, we’ve helped more than 1000 people design and develop properties throughout Victoria.

Danny Sacco | DSP Architects

Professional Service

So what is it that sets DSP apart from the rest?  What is it that makes us one of the more quietly successful partnerships in Melbourne?

For a start, we’re architects.  The real thing.  Nowadays you can employ semi-qualified part-timers or draftspeople who generally lack the necessary design skills.  But, as the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

At DSP you work with qualified professionals who can guide you all the way through the design, planning permit and building permit processes and if required can help with the construction stage of your project.

We know what we’re talking about and we genuinely practise what we preach.  And in fact we’re so confident that you’ll be satisfied with our service that we offer a guarantee:

Danny Sacco | DSP Architects

“No permit, no fee.”

That’s right.  If we accept the project and fail to gain planning permission, we will refund you our fee.  What could be fairer than that?

So far, in DSP’s 25-year history, we’ve enjoyed a 100% success rate.  And that’s unlikely to change.  What’s more, if we at DSP agree to a deadline then you can rest assured that it will be met.

Because at DSP, we keep our promises.

This allows you to focus on what you are good at whilst saving you money by decreasing your interest payments and holding costs.

Talking about costs, you may think we sound expensive.  On the contrary.  Everything we do is designed to keep your costs down.  We ensure that costs, as it were, don’t go through the roof.

Call us. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

Professional Contacts

At DSP we offer what used to be called a ‘One Stop Shop’.  We’ll organise and co-ordinate every aspect of the design and planning process, freeing you to concentrate on the bigger picture.

At the same time we’re happy for you to be as ‘hands-on’ as you wish.  It’s entirely up to you.  The most important element, in the end, is your peace of mind.

And that’s why at DSP we surround ourselves with industry professionals at every level.

We have access to the best building surveyors, landscape architects and town planners.  Plus energy auditors, graphic artists, traffic, structural and civil engineers.

Over the years we’ve developed relationships with many of the key planning decision makers at Councils all over Melbourne and have a deep understanding of the subtle differences between each Council’s Planning Scheme.

As a result, we’re well known and respected in the industry.  And the good-will we’ve built up over the years is passed on directly to you.

DSP Architects - The Unit Development Specialists

Testimonials And VCAT Decisions

I am satisfied that the proposal would not create security problems or change the status of the ROWs. I also note that Council’s draft conditions do not require upgrading of the ROWs. This, I am of the opinion that the proposed design response is acceptable in this instance. Indeed I am of the view that there are a number of positive benefits arising from this arrangement.

Ms Mary – Anne Taranto, Member, A & N Jomes Pty Ltd v Darebin CC [2005] VCAT 829 (9 May 2005) 8 dwellings at 18 Bedford Street, Reservoir.


The tribunal does not believe that the grounds of refusal and the grounds of objection have been made out. The positive features of the application, which were earlier set down, outweigh the few negative aspects, most of which are of minor consequence. The proposal represents a reasonable planning outcome and one which is fully in accordance with the provisions of the Moonee Valley Planning Scheme and the standards set down in Res Code. It follows from this that the decision of the Responsible Authority will be set aside and a permit granted subject to conditions.

I.R. Marsden, Senior Member, Albanis v Moonee Valley CC & Ors [2002] vcat 1532 (26 November 2002), 6 dwellings to rear of existing house at 2 Scurrah Court, East Keilor


This is a site which invites an innovative response but one which respects and will enhance the character of the neighbourhood. We are satisfied that generally the proposed development meets those objectives.

Mr I R Marsden, Presiding Member, and Mr P O’Leary, Member, Alexopoulos J v Moonee Valley CC &Ors {1998} VCAT 663 (15 January 1999) 26 attached dwellings and one attached dwelling at 3-7 Turner Street, Moonee Ponds


This firm is 1st class, their drawings are buildable, and they are a firm with very high standards.  It took me 24months to get a planning permit with my draftsman.  DSP took 3 months to get a permit

Charlie Schembri , Sunshine Vic


I find that the proposal to construct one single dwelling (Dwelling 1) separated from the two attached dwellings (Dwellings 2 and 3) by a narrow walkway is a suitable design outcome. The development appears as two separate buildings of about equal width. This visual impression of two buildings (rather than three) is enhanced by the facades of the two buildings being treated differently and by providing garage doors that are different for each building but match in the case of the two doors for Dwelling 2 and 3 ……. In summary I have found that the proposal is consistent with the State and Local Planning Policy Frameworks and that it complies very effectively with the provisions of Clause 55. I also find that the proposed design is consistent with the neighbourhood character and that it is site responsive. Accordingly I will direct that a permit issue, and will so order.

Mr J Bennett, Member, Consolmagno v Moonee Valley CC [2003] VCAT 199 (14 February 2003) 3 dwellings at 48 North Street, Airport West.


I would regard neighbourhood character and heritage, or urban conservation, considerations to be very important in a case like this one for a locality like the north side of Osbourne Street. However, this proposal has been well designed from those points of view ……. In any event, the house is designed to fit in suitably to its sheltered and obscure context. It will be, admittedly, more prominent than the existing single storey double garage, but it will also be more interesting and attractive to look at. Its potential bulk has been reduced by the setting back of the first floor element. The house will be relatively unobtrusive and suitable.

Mr R Byard, Senior Member, Di Lorenzo T v Hobsons Bay CC & Ors [2000] VCAT 1619 (31 July 2000) Construction of a second dwelling at 162 Osborne Street, Williamstown.


In this development the articulation of the building from the front boundary I believe is quite appropriate and consistent with the design style notes of maintaining good garden areas of the frontage of sites ……. Visual bulk is also not a concern given the separation distances provided, the articulation of the built form, the materials used and finally the potential for landscaping to occur along both side boundaries, which will soften the visual built form of the proposal.

Mr N Hadjigeorgiou, Member, DSP Architects v Moonee Valley CC [2007] VCAT 2137 (12 November 2007), 2 dwellings at 9 Market Street, Essendon.


……. Elements such as, separation of building forms, well-articulated two storeys and the attached nature of the buildings are ones that I find to be quite acceptable ……. In conclusion I find that land has all the attributes that make it suitable for a well-designed two dwelling development. I find that the proposal has been designed in a manner which is respectful of the neighbourhood character within which the land lies and the proposal will not cause any unreasonable impacts on the amenity of neighbouring properties or the surrounding area. In overall terms I am satisfied the policy objectives of the scheme and the requirements of clause 55 are satisfied. Having regard to my finding I will set aside council’s decision. A permit is granted for the construction of two dwellings at 9 Market Street, Essendon.

N. Hadjigeorgiou, Member, DSP Architects v Moonee Valley CC [2007] VCAT 2137 (12 November 2007), 2 attached double storey dwellings at 9 Market Street, Essendon


My experience with DSP Architects on unit development projects reinforces my opinion that “team” DSP is very well equipped to obtain permits.

Elena Sotiropoulos, Prahran Vic


The proposal achieves a very high level of compliance with the quantitative aspects of the Good Design Guide. Its site coverage for example is less than half of the permissible benchmark. The development will not give rise to any overshadowing nor does the proposal raise any serious privacy considerations. Front and side setbacks comply with Good Design Guide requirements. Access from both of the front and rear of the allotment will dissipate traffic flows. The low site coverage facilitates the provision of landscaping and the plan tabled at the hearing by Ms Vendremin shows a high degree of understanding of the intricacies and demands of this site. The design is energy efficient, a considerable portion of the courtyards and internal living areas having access to northern sunlight. Private open space, while below the recommended Good Design figure in some instances, has good sunlight penetration. Given the size of family units here is likely to be small, the Tribunal believes a reduction in private open space allocation is acceptable in the circumstance…….The tribunal is of the view that neither the Grounds of Refusal nor the Grounds of Objection have been made out. This is a site which invites an innovative response but one which respects the character of the neighbourhood. We are satisfied that the proposed development meets those twin objectives.

Mr I R Marsden, Presiding Member, and Mr K S Gilfillan, Member, Gattini G v Moreland CC & Ors [1998] VCAT 236 (10 September 1998) 24 attached multi – dwelling units at 117 – 119 Albion Street, Brunswick


DSP assisted with my first dual occupancy 20 years ago, now with DSP’s help, I am building 25 units at a time.

John Alexopoulos, Essendon Vic


The design has sought to introduce higher elements toward the frontage of the site. The proposal has included a single storey form adjacent to the rear private open spaces of neighbouring properties. That is a sensitive response to the backyard environment surrounding the rear of the review site. The driveway is long and straight and the introduction of trees along both sides of the driveway would be desirable to provide visual relief. The design presents an acceptable solution in architectural terms, using pitched roof forms, gable elements and eaves. The proposal is also an appropriate response to the preferred character statement that I have set out above, in so far as it has an acceptable front setback, sets aside ample room for canopy trees within the front setback, respects spacing between housing on separate lots, proposes a low fence and avoids car parking being an intrusive element …… For the above reasons, the Application is allowed and I will order that the decision of the Responsible Authority be set aside.

Ms Margaret Baird, Member, Kenuri Groupd Pty Ltd v Moonee Valley CC [2003] VCAT 1935(21 December 2003) three dwellings at 12 Renown Street, North Essendon


Clearly this re-development will represent a change in their street but I am confident that the development has been designed in a manner which is respectful of the character of this neighbourhood and incorporates elements which will ensure that the two storey scale of the rear part sits comfortably within its single storey Edwardian and Victorian context ……. I am also confident that the use of the building materials and design details that draw from what might be called the local architectural palette – particularly that of the existing dwelling to be demolished – represents an appropriate way forward in the context of this streetscape.

Ms Jane Monk, Member, MArtinex v Darebin CC [2000] VCAT 542 (29 January 2000) two dwellings at 13 Gadd Street, Northcote


Unbelievable, someone who backs up his claims with a no payment guarantee.  To my knowledge no one else offers this scenario to their clients.

Ray Borg, Newport Vic


In relation to other relevant matters I find as follows; the proposal adequately meets the tests of Clause 55 in relation to overlooking, overshadowing and other off-site considerations, the proposal would provide an acceptable level of internal amenity for occupants, despite the narrow road condition, the proposal would not cause unreasonable impacts in terms of additional traffic and on-street parking in the local area. For the reasons I have set out above, I conclude that the proposal represents an acceptable outcome in terms of the policies and decision guidelines of the Moonee Valley Planning Scheme. I will direct that a permit issue subject to conditions.

Margaret Baird, Senior Member, Sudano v Moonee Valley CC [2004] VCAT 1697 (30 August 2004), 2 double storey dwellings at 29 Greville Street, Essendon