Minimum accessibility standards to Silver Level will soon be regulated across all new housing builds under the National Construction Code.
On Friday 30 April 2021, a majority of State and Territory housing ministers agreed to include minimum accessibility provisions for residential housing and apartments in the National Construction Code (NCC) 2022 to Liveable Housing Design Guidelines (LHDG) silver standards.
The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) will also publish a voluntary gold technical standard for accessible housing, which States and Territories can choose to apply across their own jurisdictions.
This is a game-changer for people with physical disability. We know that many of our members have struggled to find accessible housing in the private market. Members have had to build to purpose, invest in expensive retrofits, or spend long hours inspecting rental properties in order to find semi suitable, often partially accessible homes to live in.
We have worked consistently as part of the Building Better Homes Campaign to lobby for these changes. We were part of a small group of community organisation who were able to meet directly with the Federal Minister for Better Regulation and Innovation Kevin Anderson to advocate for this reform.
Our submission to the ABCB on the Regulatory Impact Statement for minimum standards in the NCC can be found here https://www.pdcnsw.org.au/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/RIS-Mandatory-Accessible-Housing-NCC.pdf
While the decision to mandate to Silver Level falls short of our aim for Gold and is tempered by the fact that states and territory will have discretion in terms of how the new provisions will be applied across their jurisdictions, this decision remains significant and has been over a decade in the making. We will keep the pressure up on Minister Anderson’s office to implement the changes and will continue to push for Gold Level Builds at State and Local Council Levels. We are grateful to all our members who have assisted us to get to this point, by sharing their stories across our submission work and supporting the Building Better Homes Campaign.