A little while back, back in late October, the much anticipated “SDA Design Standard” was released and there was much rejoicing – Hooray! The 84 paged document finally gave the SDA world the clarity they were craving. Well, on SDA design anyway, the other bits are still a little grey. No longer did we have to run our fingers down the pages in the SDA Price Guide “design category dot points”, scratch our heads and wonder what they actually mean by that small sentence – we have a whole document explaining it now! 

This, along with the “Provisional Design Approvals” (that is, having your SDA plans approved by the NDIS before you build it), will provide greater confidence in the SDA market for 2020. Now designers, investors and builders know what needs to be achieved in the built environment.

Curiously though, the SDA Design Standard has no reference to the now very familiar LHA Guidelines. Although most of the core is still based on LHA Silver or Platinum levels, LHA doesn’t get a mention. The LHA website has had the SDA Standard for download from the 28th of October and are acknowledged as the Project Management team in the first few pages of the new Standard.        

There seems to be a definite shift back to, you guessed it, our old favourite AS 1428.1 Design for Access and Mobility. Which kind of makes sense when you need to design for circulation spaces and bathroom layouts or ramp gradients as the standard is already widely used and understood in the industry.

I’ve also just found on the LHA website that the Access Institute are offering SDA Assessor Courses in 2020! Who knew? However it looks like the NDIA are dragging the chain and haven’t specified the prerequisite qualifications in order to be an accredited SDA Assessor…come on guys…we’re waiting!

Who Can Undertake the Course and become an Accredited SDA Assessor? 

Anyone can undertake the course, however, only individual Specified Professionals who meet prerequisites nominated by National Disability Insurance Agency (NDIA), can become an Accredited SDA Assessor. (Awaiting confirmation from NDIA). 

What else? oh yeah… 

From 1st July, 2021, all dwelling enrolment applications for Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) will be required to include a certificate from an Accredited SDA Assessor nominating the Design Category the dwelling to be enrolled satisfies based on the Design Standards established in this document.

That’s 18 months away. 

So in the meantime… before July 2021, P2P Housing will still be undertaking the relevant LHA Assessments for the designated SDA Design Categories plus adhering to the new SDA Design Standard just so we have all bases covered and all check boxes ticked!