In October 2017, the Building Ministers’ Forum (BMF) proposed to the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) that a national assessment be undertaken to consider applying a minimum accessibility standard for private dwellings in Australia through the National Construction Code (NCC).
Aim of this study:
- Test the hypothesis that some accessibility features are already incorporated into the most popular house designs being built in Australia, but not in a systematic way that makes all new builds accessible
- Demonstrate that accessibility features are basic elements of good house design for the general population, and not the features commonly seen in public accessible toilets and institutions
- Indicate the likely cost of including accessibility features in new builds
This study audited 20 of the most popular house designs from Australia’s most active volume home builders. It found that many features of the Silver, Gold and Platinum levels of Liveable Housing Australia’s (LHA) Liveable Housing Design Guidelines are already incorporated into new dwellings produced by these builders.
This study demonstrates that consistently incorporating accessible features into the building code for all new dwellings would not be a significant impost on volume builders of residential housing in Australia. Indeed, the country’s biggest builders are already incorporating most of these features in some new builds because they are consistent with good design. The findings of this study support the idea that well-designed housing that works for people with mobility impairments does not compromise the design of housing for the general population – rather it enhances the built environment.