SDA Design Advice and Assessment
What is SDA?
To put it simply, SDA refers to the accommodation needed for people who require specialist housing solutions. The SDA standards were created to improve the lives of those requiring assistance and ensuring that their homes meet their required needs. It is thanks to these design standards that we are able to provide a home space that successfully maximises the individuals potential to live as independently as possible, by also introducing specific support elements into contemporary housing practices.
What are the four categories of SDA?
As set out by the 2016 SDA rules, the four categories are as follows;
Improved Liability - A reasonable level of physical access and enhanced provision is incorporated to improve the liveability within the housing for those with sensory, intellectual or cognitive impairment.
Robust - A reasonable level of resilient physical access that has been incorporated within the housing to reduce the chances of reactive maintenance and to reduce the general risk to both the participant and the community.
Fully Accessible - A high level of physical access provision has been incorporated into the housing for those with significant physical impairment.
High Physical Support - A high level of physical access provision has been incorporated into the housing for those requiring very high levels of support and significant physical impairment.
Future Updates on dwelling enrolment applications:
From the 1st of July, 2021, those seeking to apply for dwelling enrolment for Special Disability Accomodation (SDA) will need to include a certificate from an accredited SDA assessor. This Assessor will nominate the design category in which the dwelling suits based on the current standards. These design categories can be categorised by the following two stages:
Provisional - In this stage the dwelling design can be certified as compliant with the necessary requirements. This occurs when the design has been submitted for building approval to a regulatory authority, this can be either a council or a certifier. Since at this stage the dwelling is yet to be built, this is why it is labeled as ‘Provisional’, as only a completed and built dwelling can get a final certification suitable for NDIS enrolment.
Final-as-built - Once the dwelling has been built, and once it contains the relevant features required as stated by the SDA Design standard document, it shall be certified as a particular Design Category. This is mandatory for SDA enrolment.
What does the Assessment involve?
Each one of the assessments will involve a review of the design or final-as-built dwellings against the required SDA Design Standards, by completing suitable assessment forms in order to authenticate compliance. In addition to this, assessors will also seek to gather evidence that will assist in showcasing why exactly the dwelling meets the SDA Design Standard. This evidence will include everything from letters, compliance statements, designs, photographs and any other relevant aspects demonstrating the necessary SDA compliance.
Accredited SDA Assessors are the only people capable of issuing a certificate of SDA Category Compliance, meaning they are a crucial step in determining whether or not the design and final-as-built have met the SDA Design Standards.
All accredited SDA Assessors are independent third-party contractors, meaning they are not employed by NDIS, instead they set their own fees relating to the specific assessment.
Being an independent third party, the Accredited SDA Assessor must at all times have no connection to the applicant in both the Provisional and Final-as-built stages. An SDA Assessor also cannot certify any project that have been constructed or designed by themselves.
This does also extend to others involved with the project in order to maintain maximum integrity, meaning that a firm with multiple architects would be unable to have one architect design the project and have another one certify it.
What do I need to provide?
All applicants applying for SDA certification must submit to an accredited SDA Assessor, all the necessary information reasonably requested by the SDA Assessor, alongside the payment for the Assessors services, which will be determined prior.
What are the suitable documents requirements for the assessment at each stage?
Design (Provisional) Assessment - When in the design stage, dimensioned plans that contain the details for assessment and the suitability for building approval submission, must be used for assessment. All documents that have been labelled preliminary or documents without the necessary title blocks, drawing numbers and revision status will not be accepted. The non-drawing based documents that are submitted must be formally issued and must display correct document numbers, references and revision status.
Final-As-Built - Either completed after the Design assessment or independently, the Final-As-Built assessment will require the Accredited SDA Assessor to inspect a Final-As-Built dwelling, in order to confirm whether or not compliance with the requirements have been met.
This inspection must be an onsite inspection and must be completed for each facility individually. A final-as-built Assessment form must be completed alongside each dwelling.
Once the assessment is finalised, the SDA Assessor will then provide the applicant with a Certificate of SDA Category compliance and a copy of the SDA Assessment form. They will also forward a copy of both these documents to the LHA to then register the assessment. LHA will then confirm these have been successfully registered via an email receipt.
Where We Come In:
Here at Obvius Access, our accredited SDA Assessor will conduct assessments for both design and final-as-built dwellings, appraising them against the SDA Design Standards. Obvius Access can provide you with a comprehensive Accredited SDA Assessment that achieves the Compliance Requirements of the SDA standards and regulations. Our Accredited SDA Assessor is based in Sydney, NSW and will be happy to help with your enquiry.
Contact us at: Contact.Australia@Obviusaccess.com or phone on 1800 952311