Across Australia from 2022, all newly constructed homes and apartments will need to meet the Livable Housing Design Guidelines Silver Level, as part of the mandatory standards in the National Construction Code (NCC). These guidelines ensure future flexibility and adaptability of the home, focusing on the home’s key structural and spatial elements. By ensuring every home meets these guidelines, costly home modifications can be avoided if required at a later date.
This will enable people with disabilities and any physical access needs to increase the chance of finding suitable accommodation in the mainstream market that meets their needs. There will also be a substantial increase in the housing stock levels of homes with basic accessibility, and adaptability for future accessibility. Some of the features that homes will need in order to to meet the guidelines include step-free entry, step-free showers, ground level accessible toilets, structural reinforcements to support grab rail installation in bathrooms, wider doorways and transition spaces to allow for ease of movement.
Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) currently only provides accommodation for approximately 6% of the disability market. The adoption of the new design guidelines is a big step forward for the other 94% of people who need basic accessibility in their home to have their needs met. In addition, the guidelines will also have an overall positive impact on hospital and aged care systems.
These changes to the NCC have been a long time coming and we are pleased to see the introduction of these guidelines, making all new homes more accessible to any resident.
Read more on ABC News.