The Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Design Standard provides:

  • clarity to SDA housing design requirements to be enrolled, and
  • gives providers the flexibility to respond to participant needs and preferences. 

Download the SDA Design Standard (PDF 8.39MB).

Please visit the SDA Assessors website  for a list of fully accredited SDA assessors.

About the SDA Design Standard

The SDA Design Standard has been developed through extensive consultation across government, private sector, the housing industry and disability organisations.

It sets out detailed design requirements that will be incorporated into newly built SDA, seeking enrolment under the National Disability Insurance Scheme.

This standard has four categories of SDA design which are set out in the SDA Rules:

  • Improved Liveability 
  • Robust
  • Fully Accessible
  • High Physical Support.

How the Design Standard will improve SDA

Improved clarity of design requirements will add to provider confidence and surety of compliance. Ultimately, this will strengthen the SDA market. 

The SDA Design Standard will:

  • lead the way that architects, builders and the community view how housing for people with a disability should be built
  • ensure participants continue to have access to high-quality housing models
  • give providers the flexibility to respond to participant needs and preferences.

The NDIA is determined to see this growing market build. It wants investors, developers and existing providers to grow their confidence in SDA.

How will the SDA Design Standard affect dwellings currently under construction?

Dwellings currently under construction are not subject to the SDA Design Standard. For all current SDA enrolment applications please go to the SDA Dwelling Enrolment page.

The SDA Design Standard will not come into full effect until 2021 however, if you are about to commence building new SDA dwellings, the SDA Design Standard should be considered to guide the design and future enrolment of SDA enrolled dwellings. 

How the SDA Design Standard will be implemented

The SDA Design Standard sets out the future requirements of well designed and built form of new SDA.

The NDIA recognises that new build SDA projects will be underway during this time and acknowledgment of these is important, so as to not disrupt the increase to the supply of SDA. 

This implementation plan sets out the timing and requirements in the lead up to the Design Standard taking full effect. The SDA Design Standard does not apply to dwellings seeking enrolment as Existing or Legacy SDA, noting that is expected that all Existing and Legacy SDA will have been enrolled by 1 July 2021.

Design standard exemptions

You can apply for an exemption for dwellings completed after 1 July 2020. The NDIA may give exemptions where you can show:

  • you have made significant financial commitments for the project to progress
  • it isn’t possible to alter the project plans to the new SDA Design Standard.

Exemptions will be granted solely at the discretion of the NDIA. Please read the SDA Operational Guideline for more information.

To apply for an exemption, please use the SDA Exemption Form (XLSX 105KB)

This page current as of
9 September 2020