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Specialist Disability Accommodation 180529

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Presentation to a national conference for Specialist Disability Accommodation

Published in: Design

Specialist Disability Accommodation 180529

  1. 1. Where to start? Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) isn’t ‘ordinary housing’. • SDA Price Guide Design Categories describe people with specific needs • NDIA only makes SDA payments available to a very small minority of NDIS participants • Providing housing for SDA brings with it responsibilities that are unique • SDA can’t be compared to just getting in a cleaner for domestic help as participants are reliant on the support which is provided • Compliance with SDA Price Guide alone isn’t a satisfactory way to demonstrate compliance with any other regulatory requirements that may apply
  2. 2. Where to start? Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) only exists because of government policy but it doesn’t have an obvious home in the various overlapping planning and building controls or policies that apply to it. • Crosses over state and federal areas of responsibility • Difficult to conceive of a more complex and contradictory system of requirements
  3. 3. Where to start? Different levels of government only every have control over a piece of the puzzle. • NDIS is Federal • The Federal Government doesn’t have control over housing in the constitution but we do have the Building Code of Australia (BCA) through agreement of each state (with differences) • NSW has both state wide and local planning controls, sometimes local controls use the state controls. • There are various other controls referenced by the State and Federal Governments
  4. 4. Where to start? Most controls are poorly understood. • Discussion about controls are often jumbled or substituted • Often controls are in conflict • Difficult to know which ones can be non-compliant & to which degree • Compliance with ‘everything’ is impossible or may lead to poor outcomes
  5. 5. Where to start? I can count the following controls that appear to be applicable to SDA in some way: • NDIS Price Guide for Specialist Disability Accommodation • Livable Housing Design Guidelines Fourth Edition • National Construction Code (NCC) Volumes One & Two • AS1428.1 - 2009 Design for Access and Mobility • AS2890.6 - Off-street Car Parking for people with Disabilities' • State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) - 2009 (SEPP ARH) • State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors or People with a Disability) 2004 - (SEPP Seniors) • Standard Instrument—Principal Local Environmental Plan • State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008 Only one of these documents has been written specifically with the provision of housing for the NDIS in mind.
  6. 6. Assumed knowledge First some context & background……………. (from an architects perspective)
  7. 7. Specialist Disability Accommodation Price Guide NDIA - Federal Government. • Table 3 – Definitions of the Building Types • Table 4 – Description of Minimum Design Category Requirements • Table 3 doesn’t acknowledge any link between the physical form of the dwelling and the characteristics of people to be housed in those dwellings – we disagree • Our position is that SDA can’t be described as BCA Class 1a • The minimum requirements of Table 4 are poorly defined but work is being done on this by industry………
  8. 8. Specialist Disability Accommodation Price Guide NDIA - Federal Government. • NDIA establishes design criteria but doesn’t have a certification role, compliance with SDA Categories are self attested by the SDA Housing Provider • Inherent conflicts of interest exist for the SDA Housing Provider • Unclear who could take on role of verifying or certifying compliance • Talk of a training and certification role being developed…………
  9. 9. Livable Housing Design Guidelines Livable Housing Australia (LHA) - a partnership between community and consumer groups, government and industry • Publish the Livable Housing Design Guidelines • Was developed to address universal access • Has three levels of compliance, Silver / Gold / Platinum • Adopted as a reference benchmark for the provision of SDA through the SDA Price Guide • LHA has compliance that is unofficial, e.g. by architect, or official through certification at design and built stages by an accredited assessor. • NDIS is silent on which certification option applies to SDA.
  10. 10. Livable Housing Design Guidelines Livable Housing Australia (LHA) • Doesn’t align with Australian Standards AS1428.1 or AS4299. • Doesn’t have detailed requirements for kitchens or laundries • The BCA hasn’t adopted it • In NSW most apartment type buildings have a notional requirement for compliance, but general housing doesn’t • Some clients are asking for it but uptake is very low
  11. 11. Livable Housing Design Guidelines Livable Housing Australia (LHA) • Platinum requirements are to be read in addition to Gold requirements that are in addition to Silver requirements which can be confusing • No construction tolerance • A ‘for fee’ review process for non-compliance that is unworkable • Supported by an unofficial group of Facebook users • SDA Price guide references LHA V3, whereas V4 is current (& has bigger bedrooms)
  12. 12. Building Code of Australia Australian Building Codes Board - State Government via national agreement (with state variations). • Traditionally covered things that were a safety risk, eg fire • Has evolved to cover broader issues such as disabled access and energy efficiency • Separates different building types into different classes • Eg Class 1 is general housing, Class 2 are apartments, etc • No separate BCA Class for Specialist Disability Accommodation • Volume 1 – most buildings • Volume 2 – only houses and garages • V1 is more stringent than V2 with regard to fire safety • V1 has disabled access requirements but V2 does not (except for BCA Class 1b)
  13. 13. Building Code of Australia BCA Class 1a: • Walls can be 900mm from the boundary • Simple smoke alarms & no fire alarm • No exit signs • Fire sprinklers are not required • No disabled access required BCA Class 3: • Walls with windows to be 3.0m from the boundary • Generally contains multiple sole occupancy units that require fire and acoustic separation • Further upgraded smoke and fire alarms system • Emergency exit signs • Fire sprinklers required in some cases • Annual checks on fire safety systems • Disabled access to common facilities, one bedroom and one bathroom BCA Class 1b: • Walls can be 900mm from the boundary • Generally the accommodation is a sole occupancy unit • Upgraded smoke & fire alarm system with annual checks but no exit signs • Fire sprinklers are not required • Annual checks on fire safety systems • Disabled access to common facilities, one bedroom and one bathroom
  14. 14. Building Code of Australia Australian Building Codes Board • In Victoria accommodation for disabled is Class 3 • In NSW accommodation for disabled is generally either Class 1b or Class 3 • Our BCA consultant is of the view that ‘High Physical Support’ & ‘Robust’ are to be Class 9c • Note that BCA Access requirements for Class 1b are in Vol 1
  15. 15. Australian Standards Standards Australia - an independent, not-for-profit organisation. • Standards only have effect if call up through a planning control or building code • AS1428.1 is called up in the BCA for most building types, but not houses • AS4299 is called up in some planning controls in NSW • Sometimes clients may voluntarily reference a standard • Sometimes the whole of an standard is called up, sometimes only a few clauses. • Some standards, eg AS4299, contain various benchmarks for compliance
  16. 16. AS1428.1 Design for access and mobility General requirements for access - new building work • Part of a suite of standards addressing disabled access • Developed for commercial and public buildings • Focus on circulation and bathrooms • Does not specifically cover kitchens or laundries • Is referenced in the BCA • Is supported by a large array of compliant products • Isn’t based on a particular user but is used to demonstrate compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act
  17. 17. AS4299 Adaptable Housing • Only specific housing standard • Requirements for kitchens and laundries • Is 20 years old and is not supported widely by Access Consultants • Is finding its way into discussions about SDA in the absence of specific benchmarks in the Price Guide. I don’t think that the NDIS intended for this.
  18. 18. NSW Planning Controls State Government and Local Government • ‘Group Homes’ are a specific land use in NSW • Limitations placed on location of ‘group homes’ with respect to safety issues such as flood and bushfire • SDA is picked up as ‘group homes’ through the provision of ‘care and supervision’ • Group Homes are land use defined by occupancy rather than built form • Most of the SDA accommodation models that we are pursuing are stretching the definitions in some way • There’s a lack of consensus about the degree of the self contained nature of SDA • The control requires serious upgrade
  19. 19. Planning Approval Complying Development Consent: • State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) - 2009 (SEPP ARH) • Site to be compliant • Design to be compliant • No tolerance on compliance but guaranteed approval if compliant • The SEPP has issues with interpretation & is subject to a review • Most ADHC homes don’t comply • Interacts with General Housing Code in an awkward way Development Consent: • Local government planning controls • Site to be compliant • Design to be compliant • Merit based assessment • No guarantee of approval even if compliant • Time for approval is longer than a CDC
  20. 20. NSW Planning Controls State Government and Local Government • The SEPP ARH is in need of an update to reflect SDA. • The access provisions in the SEPP ARH are an unnecessary duplication (more on that later) • BCA Class 3 buildings are not subject to BASIX • CDC approvals require a higher level of accreditation for the Principal Certifying Authority (PCA)
  21. 21. Workplace Agreements All levels of government. • Staff safety – avoiding entrapment, multiple escape points • Staff amenities – staff room, separate toilet facilities • The BCA doesn’t really address the home / workplace cross over
  22. 22. What does compliance look like? The fun begins…………….
  23. 23. What does compliance look like? A reminder of some of the controls that could be applicable: • NDIS Price Guide for Specialist Disability Accommodation • Livable Housing Design Guidelines Fourth Edition • National Construction Code (NCC) Volumes One & Two • AS1428.1 - 2009 Design for Access and Mobility • AS2890.6 - Off-street Car Parking for people with Disabilities' • State Environmental Planning Policy (Affordable Rental Housing) - 2009 (SEPP ARH) • State Environmental Planning Policy (Housing for Seniors or People with a Disability) 2004 - (SEPP Seniors) • Standard Instrument—Principal Local Environmental Plan • State Environmental Planning Policy (Exempt and Complying Development Codes) 2008
  24. 24. What does compliance look like? For example for car parking: • LHA requires for Platinum 3800 x 6000mm x 2500mm clear height above a covered space • The BCA via AS2890.6 requires 2400 x 5400mm space and a clear head height of 2200mm (if covered) plus 2400mm wide shared zone at the side and 1200 long at rear • SEPP ARH requires 2600 x 5400mm no requirement to be covered
  25. 25. What does compliance look like? For example for car parking: • LHA requires for Platinum 3800 x 6000mm x 2500mm clear height above a covered space • The BCA via AS2890.6 requires 2400 x 5400mm space and a clear head height of 2200mm (if covered) plus 2400mm wide shared zone at the side and 1200 long at rear • SEPP ARH requires 2600 x 5400mm no requirement to be covered
  26. 26. What does compliance look like? For example for car parking: • LHA requires for Platinum 3800 x 6000mm x 2500mm clear height above a covered space • The BCA via AS2890.6 requires 2400 x 5400mm space and a clear head height of 2200mm (if covered) plus 2400mm wide shared zone at the side and 1200 long at rear • SEPP ARH requires 2600 x 5400mm no requirement to be covered
  27. 27. What does compliance look like? NDIS Price Guide: • BCA Class 1a dwellings don’t have any access requirements • BCA Class 1a & 3 dwellings have access requirements in the Building code of Australia (AS1428.1) • LHA isn’t referenced in the BCA.
  28. 28. What does compliance look like? For example for door openings: • NDIS Price Guide requires minimum 950mm width doors to all habitable rooms for SDA with High Physical Support • The BCA via AS1428.1 - 2009 will provide the door circulation zones applicable to the above door size • LHA Fourth Edition has overlapping dwelling entrance requirements and also corridor requirements
  29. 29. What does compliance look like? For example for door openings: • NDIS Price Guide requires minimum 950mm width doors to all habitable rooms for SDA with High Physical Support • The BCA via AS1428.1 - 2009 will provide the door circulation zones applicable to the above door size • LHA Fourth Edition has overlapping dwelling entrance requirements and also corridor requirements
  30. 30. What does compliance look like? For example for door openings: • NDIS Price Guide requires minimum 950mm width doors to all habitable rooms for SDA with High Physical Support • The BCA via AS1428.1 - 2009 will provide the door circulation zones applicable to the above door size • LHA Fourth Edition has overlapping dwelling entrance requirements and also corridor requirements
  31. 31. What does compliance look like? For example for version control: • NDIS Price Guide references LHA Version Three but the current version for LHA Certification Purposes is Version Four. • There are differences between the versions, for example bedroom sizes are different in the supplied diagram.
  32. 32. What does compliance look like? The suggestion to just comply with the largest requirement is misguided • Have to find all of the applicable requirements • Will be impossible to comply with requirements that were never co-ordinated • Need to understand some of the context, history and governing rules of operation for each requirement. • Newer requirements generally carry more weight than older controls • An older control that hasn’t been widely adopted loses weight • Most requirements have a mechanism for addressing non-compliance • Decide then which requirements can be broken & to which degree this can be done
  33. 33. What does compliance look like? Building Code of Australia pathways to compliance • Deemed to Satisfy • Alternative Solution • Expert Opinion
  34. 34. What does compliance look like? Building Code of Australia • Car parking requirement of BCA may be varied through reference to a different Australian Standard if that standard can be shown to be more relevant to the particular design or • Car parking requirement of BCA may be varied through reference to a management arrangement to ensure access is provided to the car through the use of a means of assistance
  35. 35. What does compliance look like? The issue of tolerances: • LHA doesn’t have a simple method of dealing with even the smallest dimensional inaccuracy during construction or a deviation from the guideline. • AS1428.1 is referenced through the National Construction Code and there are procedures in place to seek variations from the application of the standard. • In both cases dimensions are finished dimensions clear of skirtings and architraves. We add at least 25mm to every dimension!
  36. 36. What does compliance look like? Every control has a different timeframe for review: • BCA every three years, via a defined process of regulatory review. • AS1428.1 is 9 years old, work underway to update it • AS4299 is 20 years old, requests for review have repeadidly been refused by SA • SDA Price Guide review period and timeframe unknown • LHA now onto V4, review period and timeframe unknown • ARH SEPP review underway for over a year but timeframe unknown
  37. 37. What does compliance look like? What about bespoke design features • It’s reasonable to expect that participants likely to qualify for SDA would need houses that contain specific design features • It’s foreseeable that some of these features may be in conflict with the SDA price Guide requirements, making for example LHA Certification impossible to achieve. • Unclear how to proceed when this happens. • Potential for participants to relocate makes it unclear how to assess impacts on other future SDA participants should if design features clash with their needs
  38. 38. What does compliance look like? Bushfire safety v’s Building fire safety • The BCA addresses building fire safety separately to bushfire safety • Building fire safety requires construction to have a Fire Resistance Level (FRL) measures in units of time, eg FRL 90/90/90 • Bushfire safety requires construction to have a Building Attach Level (BAL) eg BAL25 • Few products in the marketplace for external walls have both a FRL & BAL rating
  39. 39. What does compliance look like? How do we approach it? • The importance of robust templating
  40. 40. What does compliance look like? What about projects that are not going to be receiving SDA payments? • The relevance of compliance with the SDA Price Guide is questionable. • Assumptions about the nature of occupants are questionable, but can be assumed to be less than for SDA. • Capacity of tenants to move between different properties assumed to be higher • A lot of interest in this area.
  41. 41. What does compliance look like? Apartments? • Approximately 10% of apartments are designed to comply with AS4299, 100% of common areas should be accessible with AS4218, 20% of apartments are to comply with LHA Silver • To date the market hasn’t assigned much value to this and units are rarely marketed to highlight these characteristics • Lots of interest but we’re yet to resolve how to make it work for Town Planning & BCA • Haven’t worked through the details of strata implications
  42. 42. Going beyond compliance Many providers see the need to differentiate by providing additional services • Adult change tables • Assistive technology • Bidets • Dedicated space for mobility aids, recharging stations, etc • Adjustable bench heights
  43. 43. Challenges Compliance should just be simpler…………….. with far fewer traps for the unwary.

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