Upon agreement of mandatory accessibility standards in the National Construction Code, the Victorian Building Authority has welcomed the changes, saying it will ensure independence for people with disabilities within their own home.

The new standards will take effect in 2022, and were agreed upon at a National Building Ministers Meeting of Building Ministers last Friday. The Livable Housing Design Guidelines silver standards will ensure basic accessibility features are included in all newly constructed homes and apartments.

Under the changes, new homes will be required to include features such as step free entry, step free showers, ground level accessible toilets, structural reinforcements to support grab rail installation in bathrooms and for doorways and transitional spaces to allow ease of movement.

The VBA’s Chief Executive Officer Sue Eddy says the move is a logical one for Australian building standards.

“This is a much-needed step forward both in Victoria and nationwide, allowing consumers a greater choice of where they live and easier access to support within buildings,” she says.

“Accessibility in the built environment means designing and building homes, and commercial buildings that are suitable for any occupant, regardless of their age or ability – this will now be compulsory.”

“It also gives those living with a disability the independence they want and deserve in their own home – allowing them to do things that we all take for granted.”

The reforms are expected to increase the availability of homes with accessibility features to 50 percent of Australia’s total housing stock by 2050.

Those that believe they have been discriminated against because of their disability can lodge a complaint with a building owner or occupier. If a complaint relates to buildings that are under construction or have recently been completed, one must talk with the practitioner responsible for the project. The VBA can also be contacted if a consumer wishes to complain about the conduct of the practitioner or other building professionals.

For more information regarding the new building standards, click here. In regards to matters for the VBA, visit vba.vic.gov.au.

Image: https://newsroom.unsw.edu.au/news/social-affairs/shared-home-ownership-helps-people-disability-researchers-find