Barwon Housing Pilots

Posted on 30 November 2015

The National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA) is seeking a range of innovative ideas on possible housing pilots that will provide specialist disability accommodation for participants for whom such provision by NDIA is both reasonable and necessary.

Through such pilots the NDIA will support a sustainable specialist disability accommodation market that fosters choice and control, encourages innovation, and provides options for participants, continuity of supply and financial sustainability for governments, participants and providers.

Proposals for Housing pilots must address the Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) needs of NDIS participants who meet either or both criteria below

  • Participants require a specialist built-form
  • Participants support needs can only be met cost effectively by specialist disability accommodation

The intent is to accelerate SDA pilot projects in the Barwon trial site that meet the needs of these participants, achieve desired outcomes and allow flexibility in both housing type and financing arrangements.

The NDIA encourages people with disability, their family and carers to participate in this process. If you live in the Barwon Area and do not have a specific project to nominate, but wish to provide feedback or information please register your interest in participating in the co-design phase of the project via email.

If you experience difficulties submitting information via the AusTender website please email us for assistance.

The Request for Information (New window) is available on the AusTender website.

The NDIA has also announced the release of the Specialist Disability Accommodation Pricing and Payments Framework.

Questions and answers

What is an NDIA Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Housing Pilot?

A Request for Information (RFI) was released on 30th November 2015 to seek information on a range of innovative ideas on possible Specialist Disability Accommodation housing projects to be “piloted” in the Barwon trial site.

From this information, the NDIA will develop its understanding of the range of prospective projects in the Barwon region and be able to use this information to build its capability and inform its procurement planning processes, including identification, refinement and cost capability options and, ultimately, the preparation of procurement documentation for SDA housing pilots.

The result will be pilot housing projects which will aim to optimise independence and social and economic participation for people with disability, initially focussed on those with high and complex support needs.

The pilot projects will also have the potential to be scalable in size and location and be affordable.

Importantly, pilot projects will demonstrate how they align with the housing options desired by people with a disability.

Why is the NDIA undertaking this work?

Through such pilots, the NDIS aims to support the development of a sustainable specialist disability accommodation market that fosters choice and control, encourages innovation and provides options for participants, continuity of supply and financial sustainability for governments, participants and providers.

By encouraging innovation in financing, built form and delivery models, the pilot projects will build an evidence base and increase understanding of factors that underpin the Scheme’s insurance principles and participant outcomes.

What is Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)?

SDA is housing that meets the needs of NDIA Participants who require a specialist built-form and/or Participants whose support needs can only be met cost effectively by specialist disability accommodation.

Participants meeting this criterion are those with high and/or complex needs, including those with significant physical limitations and/or those who have significant sensory, psychosocial or cognitive impairments.

Is Barwon the only site?

The NDIA has nominated Barwon (Victoria) as the first trial site to progress this work. Other pilot areas will be considered in the future.

Will there be NDIA pilot projects for other forms of accessible housing?

The Agency is aware that housing access and affordability remains an issue for many people with disability, even if they don’t require SDA. The NDIS plans to work with stakeholders (such as social housing providers, housing departments etc.) to make sure the broader issues surrounding housing access and affordability for people with a disability are addressed.

I am a housing provider but I don’t currently have any stock in the Barwon area; can I still submit a proposal?

Yes, the RFI is a mechanism to collect ideas and information about an innovative range of possible housing projects capable of providing specialist disability accommodation in the Barwon trial site area. The NDIA may use responses to this RFI for capability development and/or procurement planning purposes, including to assist the NDIA to identify, refine and cost capability options and to inform the preparation of any future capability development and/or solicitation documentation.

How can I be involved?

The RFI is keen to invite people with a disability, their families and carers, providers and any other interested parties to have input into the development of options, including projects, but also the considering the needs, preferences and barriers that exist in the provision of SDA.

Following the RFI, the NDIA intends to conduct consultations with interested parties using a co-design approach. Participants and their carers and family members who are interested in being involved in this second stage in the Barwon site can register their interest by emailing

I don’t live in the Barwon Area; can I still submit an RFI?

Yes, the RFI invites responses from any interested party noting that the pilot, in the first instance, is required to be delivered in the Barwon site. 

As the RFI has been placed on AusTender, it is hoped it will attract national and possibly international attention.

If you have specific products or services which you believe may satisfy the Statement of Needs, provide a functional description of these products or service offerings together with an explanation as to how these products or service offerings will meet the need; likewise, where there is any aspect which you cant meet, provide details of the relevant need(s) together with an explanation as to why not.

Future pilots may be targeted to other trial sites, or more widely.

How else can I contribute?

The Disability Reform Council released the NDIS “Specialist Disability Accommodation Pricing and Payments Framework” on 30 November 2015. The framework can be found on the NDIS website. The NDIA will be coordinating consultations on the implementation of the framework. This work will include the practical considerations for operationalising it as the NDIS rolls out and the development of the initial benchmarks and approach to pricing for SDA. This will be undertaken in the first quarter of 2016. Interest in contributing to this work can be registered by emailing

What are the stages of this process and key timelines?

The RFI closes on 1 February 2016 at 10am. Responses to this RFI will not be competitively evaluated. Consistent with the terms of the RFI, responses will be reviewed and considered by the Agency as an information source for the purposes described in this RFI.

The Agency may at any time seek additional information on or clarification of a response from a respondent. Likewise, the Agency may, but is under no obligation to, provide feedback on responses to this RFI on a case-by-case basis. Respondents should email if they wish to request feedback on their RFI response.

Following the RFI the NDIA intends to engage in consultation and co-design with people with disability and other key stakeholders to develop and refine the approach to procurement of SDA pilots.

Following this, it is intended to conduct a procurement process for the delivery of the pilot housing in Barwon.

How do I access the Request for Information documentation? Is there any assistance available to support people to access AusTender? 

Navigate to the AusTenders website and enter the keyword “Barwon” or the Reference Number “NDIA RFI001”. If accessibility of this site is an issue, please contact