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 in Table 3 of the NDIS – Price Guide (2020-21) SDA.
  • Both New and Existing SDA dwellings can be enrolled under the current minimum requirements until 1 July 2021.
  • Existing and Legacy SDA Enrolments will not be accepted after the 1 July 2021 unless they meet the criteria for a ‘New Build’.
  • Enrolments of New SDA have been accepted since 30 April 2020 with Certification from an Accredited SDA Assessor.
  • From 1 July 2021 compliance with the new SDA Design Standards will be mandatory unless the NDIA has granted an exemption. Compliance is demonstrated by submitting certification from an Accredited SDA Assessor attached to each dwelling enrolment application.

BCA Class 2 Developments

As defined within the Building Code of Australia, a Class 2 building is a building containing 2 or more sole-occupancy units each being a separate dwelling. These are more commonly referred to as apartment-style buildings.

  • From 1 July, 2023 Committed/commenced buildings exemption (New Build SDA developed under previous guidelines) expires.

* Based on the SDA Design Standard Implementation Plan

SDA Implementation PlanIn summary, any SDA build that will not be completed, assessed and registered by 1 July 2021 will then need to meet the new SDA Design Standard’s minimum requirements unless the NDIA has granted an exemption.

To obtain an extension documentary evidence confirming a commitment to developing the relevant dwelling was entered into before 30 April 2020 must be submitted to the NDIA for their consideration. If an exemption is granted, the dwelling must comply with current requirements (including appropriate LHA level) and be enrolled by 1 December 2022. The exemption date is extended to 1 July 2023 for Class 2 developments.

Accredited third party

Professionals who have completed an accredited SDA Assessor course through a registered training organisation are accredited to assess and provide a report on a new SDA dwelling to determine the type and category of the build for its enrolment as SDA with the NDIS. Operating as a third party, the developers of SDA will engage their services directly.

SDA Consulting has three Accredited SDA assessors on staff and an additional three staff who has completed the SDA training

  • Bruce Bromley: Managing Director
    Registration Number SDA00002
  • Kate Cowburn: Team Leader
    Registration Number SDA00006
  • Alison Shiels
    Registration Number SDA00048

Enrolment of new build dwellings as SDA

All SDA dwellings must be enrolled with the NDIA. A new SDA dwelling is defined as any building that meets the published criteria and construction was completed after 1 April 2016. Currently, to enrol an SDA dwelling, registered providers must complete the SDA Dwelling Enrolment Form and then submit it to the NDIA.

From April 2020 until July 2021 and subject to SDA Rule changes, enrolment may be either by using the current form or upon receipt of a report from an accredited SDA assessor. From July 2021, the mandated process will be via a report from an accredited assessor only.  Class 2 dwellings can be enrolled under the existing process until 1st July 2023 where the NDIA has granted an exemption.

Final as-built certification

Upon the issuance of a certificate of occupancy (or jurisdictional equivalent), the final as-built certification can be assessed by a third-party assessor.  This report will then be provided to the NDIS for the purpose of completing the enrolment of a new build SDA.