May 1, 2023

SDA Design Standards: Do You Need a Lift for Multi-Storey SDA Housing?

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) is a ground-breaking program introduced by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) in Australia, providing specially designed housing for individuals with disability. The NDIS has established design standards for SDA properties to incorporate provisions for those with significant functional impairment or high support needs.

When investing in an NDIS property, it is essential to understand the SDA design standards and how they apply to your investment property. This article will discuss whether a passenger lift is required in multi-storey dwellings and highlight key aspects of the SDA design standards.

What are the SDA design standards?

The SDA design standard outlines the design requirements for newly constructed properties seeking enrolment under the NDIS. The purpose of these standards is to provide clarity on the design requirements for SDA properties and increase confidence and compliance among SDA providers.

All applications for dwelling enrolments must include an SDA design standard certification, which can only be provided by SDA accreditors. It is crucial to adhere to the design standards and make the project appealing to NDIS participants to ensure successful certification.

NDIS properties can be enrolled in one of the following four SDA design categories:

  1. Improved liveability
  2. Robust
  3. High physical support
  4. Fully accessible

For multi-story specialist disability accommodation, is a lift required?

To answer the question concisely: yes, a passenger lift is required for proposed multi-storey dwellings that fall under the Fully Accessible or High Physical Support design categories. While blending multiple design categories in one dwelling is not uncommon, the Robust design category must not include stairs due to the safety risk it poses to NDIS participants and staff — stairs could be a significant safety risk if the participants display complex behaviour.

no ramp

Some of the main features of each SDA design category

Here are some important design concepts to keep in mind for each SDA design category:

Improved liveability

  • Designed for better physical access.
  • Provides easy-to-see walls, floors, and minimal stairs for individuals with intellectual, sensory, or cognitive impairment.

Robust housing

  • Suitable for NDIS participants who exhibit complex behaviour.
  • Designed to minimise harm to participants, residents, support workers, and the property itself, as well as the need for reactive maintenance.
  • Includes features such as laminated glass, high-impact wall lining, secure windows, external doors, and door handles.
  • Offers adequate space in living areas, both indoors and outdoors, to enhance safety and reduce maintenance.
  • Must not be multi-level housing due to safety risks.

High physical support

  • Designed for participants with significant physical support needs.
  • Includes home automation, assistive technology, backup power supply, and structural provisions to support ceiling hoists.
  • Emergency power solutions are required.

Fully accessible

  • Provides a high level of physical access.
  • Strict dimensional requirements for wheelchair accessibility, including clear opening width doors.
  • Offers cooling, heating, emergency power solutions, and improved accessibility in indoor and outdoor areas.
  • Ensures accessibility of benchtops, basins, and key appliances in seated or standing positions.
  • Requires household communications to be assistive technology ready.

Making SDA your next investment property

Regardless of the SDA design category you choose for your dwelling, it is essential to consider that SDA properties often require more than the minimum requirements. With so few housing options that meet their very high support needs or support their extreme functional impairment, SDA dwellings often become forever homes for the NDIS participants that reside within them. That’s why it’s even more important to strive for an SDA dwelling that does more than just meet the SDA design standard.

To ensure adequate funding to incorporate all the features required by your SDA design category, including a passenger lift, connect with Apollo Investment.

Get in touch with our team for more NDIS Property Investment information now.

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