According to Australian Disabled Access Consultants , Australian strata titled 2-storey town house complexes with ground level common areas, until recently, were not designed to offer disabled access. This refers to disabled access in terms of wheelchair access, ramps and landings, door widths, continuous travel paths, corridor widths, parking spaces and garages, lighting, alarm systems and toilets.

This imbalance is looking to be corrected by Government land use planning strategies and local Council’s built environment design guidelines that requires disabled access and related facilities be provided within all new town house complexes.

Local Council’s design guidelines require new town house complexes provide a minimum number of accessible dwellings with adequate access and related disabled facilities.

The Australian Government is currently considering draft changes to the Australian Commonwealth Disabilities Discrimination Act to make building owners (including strata title owner corporations and strata unit owners) and strata title property managers liable to discrimination claims if disabled persons access and related facilities are not provided to new and existing town house alterations approved after the Act’s gazettal date.

Wayne Boyle of Australian Disabled Access Consultants explained that all new town houses must provide and maintain disabled access and related facilities. He also explained that all property developers, building designers, strata title owners corporations, strata allotment owners, and property managers should provide disabled access and related facilities within new town houses. Strata title owner corporations, strata allotment owners and property owners should make certain that regular audits are carried, ensuring that disabled access and related facilities are provided at all times to comply with Australian Standards, local Council guidelines and the Building Code of Australia.