Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) refers to accommodation for participants who require specialist housing solutions to assist with the delivery of supports that cater for their extreme functional impairment and/or very high support needs.

SDA does not refer to the support services, but the homes in which these are delivered. SDA may include specialist designs for people with very high needs or may have a location or features that make it feasible to provide complex or costly supports for independent living.

SDA Price Guide

Like other parts of the NDIS, SDA employs a market-based approach by allocating funding to eligible participants. A participant can use that confirmed funding to then source the supports that appeal to them from the market.

For SDA this means the NDIS provides funding through a participant’s plan and the participant (often with additional support such as a Support Coordinator) then finds and applies for the SDA option that best suits their needs.

The SDA Price Guide is a summary of prices that apply to SDA under the NDIS.

From April 2019, the NDIA conducted a Limited Costs Assumptions Review of SDA. Some prices in the SDA Price Guide 2019–20 and price calculator were updated on 28 October 2019 to include recommendations from the Review. See below for more information about findings from the Review, the price changes and a copy of the final report.

The updated SDA Price Guide and calculator are as follows:


The SDA Price Guide should be read in conjunction with a number of other documents, including the SDA Rules, the SDA Operational Guidelines, the SDA Guide to Suitability and the NDIS Terms of Business for Registered Providers.

Previous SDA price guides and calculators can be found on the Price guide archive page.

SDA Limited Cost Assumptions Review

The NDIA conducted an SDA Limited Cost Assumptions Review during 2019. The costs that are likely to be incurred by providers or investors in developing SDA are calculated by the NDIA based upon available evidence and expert advice. These cost assumptions are then used to develop the final SDA prices.

During 2018, the Disability Reform Council commissioned a review of the SDA Pricing and Payments Framework. A recommendation from this review was that concerns raised by the sector relating to SDA cost assumptions be reviewed by the NDIA.

The review found that construction cost assumptions for new build Fully Accessible and Robust Design categories required an increase to ensure these offerings remained attractive for investment when compared to other SDA categories.

The review also found that increases to location factors were necessary to ensure investment is attractive in some parts of Sydney and Melbourne, areas where land values are higher which poses a challenge for achieving investment at rates comparable to other locations. 

The price charges are:

  • Increases in construction cost assumptions for Fully Accessible design category for all new builds by 16 per cent 

- this will increase new build price limits for Fully Accessible design of between 10.1 and 16.4 per cent, depending on the build type.

  • Increases in construction cost assumptions for Robust design category for all new builds by 14 per cent 

- this will increase in the price limits for robust design of between 9.4 and 14.1 per cent, depending on the build type.

  • Increases to some location factors, which will increase price limits for dwellings in the following areas by between 4.0 and 10.5 per cent, as follows:

Apartments only:

  • NSW – Sydney – City and Inner South 
  • NSW – Sydney – Eastern Suburbs 
  • NSW – Sydney – Inner West
  • VIC – Melbourne – Inner East 
  • VIC – Melbourne – Outer East

Houses and apartments:

  • VIC – Melbourne – South East

Where increases to location factors are for apartments only, this reflects the higher-density of housing in these areas and trends in supply and demand in those areas. 

The new price limits, which apply from 1 July 2019, are outlined in the revised SDA Price Guide 2019–20

Any new participant plans created from Monday 28 October 2019, will accommodate the price changes.

For providers with SDA in existing plans affected by the change, please do not implement the price changes for these plans. The NDIA will proactively contact you to discuss forward payment-claiming and backdating processes. The changes apply to new builds in Fully Accessible and Robust design categories or new build SDA dwellings in one of the listed locations, only.

The NDIA has compiled a list of affected providers and will be contacting each of them directly. There is no action required from providers or participants.

Review background

The SDA Limited Cost Assumption Review was a commitment made by the NDIA and the Disability Reform Council to assess construction costs, location factors and other pricing assumptions after the sector raised concerns in these areas during the 2018 SDA Pricing Review Framework.

The findings presented in the final SDA Limited Cost Assumption Review are based on information gathered across two rounds of consultation with the sector, public submissions, as well as additional analysis performed by the NDIA and independent experts.

Recommendations from the Review have been endorsed by the NDIS Pricing Reference Group and NDIA Board.

Ongoing monitoring

The Review also recommended the NDIA continue to monitor the impact of the distribution of SDA design categories and location factors, to ensure any remaining or emerging problems are identified and addressed.

SDA market monitoring activities will inform the next full SDA price review, scheduled for 2023.

SDA Pricing and Payments Framework

In November 2015, the Disability Reform Council (DRC) endorsed the SDA Pricing and Payments Framework (the Framework). The Framework provided guidance and instruction on how SDA pricing was to be developed, and for whom, and in what circumstances, SDA funding would be provided.

As outlined in the Framework, the DRC reviewed the Framework in 2018 its third year of operation. Visit the Department of Social Services website to read the Framework .

Development of SDA Benchmark Pricing and Payments

Between January and March 2016 the NDIA consulted widely on SDA pricing. An SDA Position Paper on Draft Pricing and Payments was published on 1 April 2016 seeking feedback on draft prices and approach.

Feedback provided on the SDA Position Paper resulted in adjustments and highlighted areas for further clarification.

The NDIA published the SDA Pricing and Payments Decision Paper 1 June 2016.

In March 2017 the National Disability Insurance Scheme (Specialist Disability Accommodation) Rules 2016 (SDA Rules) were registered. The SDA Rules were agreed by the Commonwealth and all state and territory governments and are now the central authorising document for SDA.

The SDA Rules deal with the criteria for when a participant will have SDA included in their NDIS plan, the dwellings that can be used for SDA and the payments that will be paid to registered providers of SDA. Most of the requirements and obligations in relation to SDA are set out in the SDA Rules.

The Rules also allow the NDIA to further specify a number of requirements such as design categories for dwellings, other features that affect prices, and SDA prices. These matters are further outlined in the SDA Price Guide described above for current SDA dwellings and projects.

The design requirements for future SDA projects are contained in the SDA Design Standards

This page current as of
12 November 2019