New design standard puts NDIS Specialist Disability Accommodation on solid foundations

Minister for the NDIS, Stuart Robert, today released the Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Design Standard - landmark guidelines that will spur a new era of housing construction and enhancement for Australians with disability. The SDA Design Standard will guide architects, builders and the community as they look for new and better ways to build specialist housing for people with disability.

These guidelines, released together with the SDA Innovation Plan and the Limited Cost Assumptions Review, put participants at the centre of the design approach. They will make it easier for eligible participants to access high quality specialist disability housing, while also providing much-needed certainty to the market. 

When the SDA market reaches full coverage the NDIS is expected to assist 28,000 Australians with disability through SDA - representing 6.1 per cent of NDIS participants. It is anticipated the total annual payments for SDA is expected to be approximately $700m per year.

‘Specialist Disability Accommodation is a life-changing support that gives participants greater independence and control and we have heard loud and clear from Australians with disability that this is an area that needs to be improved. That is why the SDA Design Standard is such an important development and one I am proud to announce today,’ Mr Robert said.  

‘I am encouraged by seeing more providers entering the SDA market. We’ve seen in the most recent NDIS quarterly report that the number of SDA providers has grown to 977, an increase of 12 per cent, while the number of enrolled dwellings also grew by 9.5 per cent in the June quarter. We expect today’s announcement will usher further growth in this emerging industry right across the country’

‘Under the Federal Government there is positive momentum right across the NDIS. We are seeing thousands of Australians entering the scheme every week and developments such as the SDA Design Standard are putting in place the prudent and sustainable frameworks to support the NDIS for future generations.’  


By providing clarity for housing design requirements and introducing a process for pre-certification at the planning stage, this initiative will stimulate further growth in construction and development of SDA.

The certification process will, over time, become mandatory in order for a new build dwelling to meet the criteria for enrolment as SDA.

The SDA Innovation Plan outlines how the NDIA will encourage participants and providers to develop innovative designs and the Limited Cost Assumption Review has seen increased prices in the SDA Price Guide for some location and design categories to further stimulate supply in response to participant demand. 

The Limited Cost Assumption Review has resulted in an:

  • increase in the location factors for the locations of Sydney (City and Inner South, Eastern Suburbs and Inner West and in Melbourne (Inner East, Outer East and South East) by between four per cent and 10.5 per cent depending on location and type of building
  • increase in the construction cost assumptions for Fully Accessible and Robust dwellings by 16.0 per cent and 14.0 per cent, respectively, to stimulate supply.