A building standard designed to ensure all new housing is more accessible becomes mandatory on October 1.
The Livable Housing Design Standard (LHDS) is included in the National Construction Code, which took effect on 1 May.
The LHDS will ensure new homes are designed and built to be more accessible for everyone, including older people, people with disability, families with young children and people with temporary mobility injuries. It will allow people to remain in their homes as they age, without the need for costly adaptations.
The standard requires:
- at least one step-free entry;
- wider internal doors and hallways;
- one step-free access into a bathroom and shower;
- an accessible toilet; and
- reinforced bathroom and toilet walls to allow the installation of handrails.
It was formed using input from key stakeholders from the building industry; the ageing, disability and community support sector; and all levels of government. These included the Australian Human Rights Commission, Housing Industry Association, Australian Local Government Association, Master Builders Australia and National People with Disabilities and Carers Council.
In Queensland, the Department of Energy and Public Works is supporting the building industry to apply the standard through changes including:
- an 18-month exemption period for narrow lots (frontage of 12.5 metres or less) and existing pre-built class 1 dwellings (55 metres squared or less in size);
- ongoing exemptions where it is not practical or reasonable to apply the new standard to toilet and bathroom renovations; and also to any general repairs and maintenance, greater flexibility for step-down showers and grading to floor wastes; and
- not requiring step-free access for houses on small lots, steep lots and generally for the iconic Queenslander-style home.
View the Livable Housing Design Standard here.