Where can OOA or Onsite Overnight Assistance be located?

Female caregiver, holding patient hand, support disabled patient sit on wheelchair

An issue that regularly comes up when doing assessments of Specialist Disability Accommodation is the location of the OOA or Onsite Overnight Assistance area for Fully Accessible and High Physical Support participants.   The NDIS Specialist Disability Accommodation Design Standard is silent on any provisions for OOA. In fact, neither the SDA Design Standard nor the Pricing Arrangements for Specialist Disability Accommodation provide any guidance on where OOA shall be located or what shall be provided within the space.   In December 2021, the Accredited SDA Assessor – Update 4 was issued to all Accredited SDA assessors. This update included....

Assistive technology ready & home automation for Specialist Disability Accommodation

Photo of a mobile phone with images radiating from it including air conditioner, light, fountain, pump, oven, coffee machine, car charger and TV

Independent Living Made Easy Assisted living and Smart Home Automation technology is enabling people with disabilities to live fuller and more rewarding independent lives. New home automation technology maximises the ability of those with disabilities to live independently by enabling control of their home through smart devices and voice control. The technology is seamless in its simplicity of use and is designed for use by people with disabilities in mind.  There are endless scenarios where smart home technology can help everyday living... Building Specialist Disability Accommodation that is Assistive technology ready with home automation allows users to live with a....

Here’s Why Smoke Alarm Controllers Can Be a Valuable Addition to SDA Homes

Photo of the Red RAC Wireless Smoke Alarm Controller

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) provides a range of housing options for those with very high support needs and extreme functional impairments. SDA homes include a range of accessible features that allow participants to live more independently while accessing the support services they need.  An SDA home falls under one of four categories: Improved Liveability, Fully Accessible, High Physical Support and Robust. The accommodation can be located anywhere, but it must include design features that are customised to suit the needs of the occupant. This could be structural adjustments or internal fittings such as automated doors and height-adjustable benches for those....

SDAs Must Have Sprinklers

Photo of newspaper header with words Death of 9 innocents

. Spanish philosopher George Santayana stated, “Those who don’t know history are destined to repeat it.” It appears with the rollout of specialist disability accommodation we have learnt nothing from the past in how to keep people with disability safe.   Are we building fire traps for SDA Participants?   The History of the Kew Cottages Tragedy?   View the Kew Cottages history in brief   In April 1996 nine men were killed in a fire that swiftly and violently engulfed their unit at Kew Cottages, a residential institution for people with intellectual disability. But are the SDAs we are....

SDA 2 Hour Backup Requirements Explained

Photo of house with SDA UPS detailed

Design Specification The SDA standard below requires a 2-hour emergency backup in the event of a power outage for 2x GPO points (general purpose outlets) in a participant room for a range of equipment. The most suitable emergency backup device to accommodate the requirements is a UPS system.   Types of equipment that may require redundant power Ventilator Ceiling hoist Emergency notification alarm Electric bed controls Alternating air mattress CPAP device Door controllers Suctioning equipment Small fridge for medication Communication decices Air-conditioning is typically not factored into the design load, however, the two-hour capacity provides a participant who is reliant....

What Size Block Of Land or Apartment Size Do I Need To Build SDA?

SDA Specialist Disability Accommodation Concept Design

This is one of the most common questions we get asked along with, "I have a block of land this size or an apartment, what can I build on it?" These are both open-ended questions due to the number of variables involved such as: How flat is the land? What category are you going to build? Robust and Improved Livability land size is similar, Fully Accessible and High Physical Support are identical, How many dwellings are proposed? How many occupants are being considered within each dwelling? For apartments, how big is the net floor area? Mark Krause, Senior SDA Consultant....

I want to build SDA – Do I need LHA or SDA Standards?

SDA Specialist Disability Accommodation Construction

The NDIA began accepting SDA or Specialist Disability Accommodation stock enrolments designed under the new SDA Design Standard in April last year. Since then, there has been some confusion amongst developers around which requirements currently apply; LHA (Livable Housing Australia) or SDA. To provide clarification, here are a few key dates to keep in mind:* BCA Class 1a, 1b, 2 & 3 SDA Until 1 July 2021, all SDA Design categories' current minimum requirements are based on the 'Silver' or 'Platinum' level housing designs set out in the Liveable Housing Design Guidelines (fourth edition) Australia. These minimum requirements are outlined....

SDA Design Standard 12 Months On

Welcome to our first in a series of short informational videos on Specialist Disability Accommodation. In this video, we share our learnings from the first year since the release of the new SDA Design Standard that I was co-author of. Already we are starting to see things go wrong with SDA. In this presentation, I will review some of the issues but more importantly identify areas where improvements can be made. Additionally, I will look at the opportunities available for developers and providers who choose to exceed the minimum standards   View the Video  .

Alarm Notifications for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community

Deafgard Emergency ALarm for Deaf and Hard of Hearing

Being woken from your sleep by a smoke alarm or similar is not something most of us think about. But what if you are deaf or hard of hearing and cannot hear emergency alarms in an emergency? Deafgard is an alarm that you can see but more importantly feel when you are asleep as it has an intense vibrating pad that is placed under the pillow that will wake the heaviest of sleepers. There are fire alarms you hear and those that you feel. Deafgard has been specifically designed for the deaf and hard of hearing in fire and emergency....

The Failures of SDA and Fire Safety

Failure of Emergency Planning in SDA

Following on from my previous posts about the safety of participants in Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) I thought I would again challenge the status quo of what is perceived to be permitted building classifications vs safe building classifications. How difficult is it to evacuate one SDA participant from a home in a fire? Now ask yourself, how you would evacuate 10, 20 or even 30 participants in an emergency? We have an SDA development on the books with 34 participants housed above ground level, how will they be evacuated? We already know based on the SDA Pricing Arrangements for Specialist....


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