Minimum housing accessibility standards to be adopted nationally

Minimum accessibility standards for residential housing and apartments will be part of the National Construction Code from 2022, Australia’s buildings ministers decided at a national meeting on 30 April.

A majority of building ministers agreed to include the standards in the NCC at the annual National Building Ministers Meeting. The standards will be based on the Livable Housing Design Guidelines silver level.

These include a step-free path from the street to entrance, a step-free entrance, doors and corridors to facility unimpeded movement, a toilet on the entry level, a bathroom that contains a hobless shower recess, reinforced walls around the toilet, shower, and bath to support future installation of grab rails, and stairways designed to minimize injuries and enable future adaptation.

The ministers also agreed that the Australian Building Codes Board will publish voluntary gold technical standard for accessible housing.

Each state and territory government will be tasked with deciding how the new provisions will be applied.

Ahead of the Building Ministers’ Meeting, the Victorian government said it would seek a leading role in working with other states and territories to implement the standard.

Already, three million Australians are living with disabilities or with restricted mobility, and demand for accessible housing is expected to increase as the population ages.

The implementation of the accessible living standard would mean that by 2050, an anticipated 50 percent of the total housing stock will be accessible.

The Victorian government says it has lead the way on universal access, with 50 percent of new apartments required to include accessible standards under the Better Apartment Design Standards and all public housing units required to incorporate key elements of the LHDG silver level guidelines.

By comparison, the NSW Apartment Design Guide stipulates a benchmark of 20 percent of total apartments in a development to incorporate LHDG silver level guidelines.

Source: Architecture - architectureau

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