You will have recently seen the Australian Governments Department of Industry Science Energy and Resources, Building Ministers Forum Communique (April 2021) supporting new Minimum Standards for Accessible Housing. This is in response to progressing with the Building Confidence Reforms, including the National Registration Framework.
The Institute with support and input from the Queensland Chapter and the Practice Committee have been active in the review and commentary around the proposed changes. A member update was included in the May national newsletter.
We have received communication from the Queensland Governments Office of the Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen and Minister for Public Works and Procurement. For your information and by way of updating members we have ‘paraphrased’ the communication below.
At this stage it would appear that Queensland will adopt those livable housing items that are finally included in the NCC 2022 after public consultation. The Institute remains supportive on the positive aspects for providing better housing for all. The Institute will continue to review and comment on the proposed changes on behalf of the community and its members and offer commentary on sensible and practical improvements.
Paraphrased from the Office of the Minister for Energy, Renewables and Hydrogen and Minister for Public Works and Procurement:
“….Recently the national Building Ministers’ Meeting on 30 April 2021, a majority of Building Ministers around the nation agreed to adopt a minimum accessibility standard for new homes, that will meet the ‘silver’ standard of the Livable Housing Design Guidelines.
The Ministers considered a range of options including mandating a gold standard or making no minimum standard at all, however most jurisdictions presented a strong case for a minimum standard, with the adoption of silver being the preferred middle ground.
The next steps will involve the release of a public comment draft of the National Construction Code 2022 (expected around 10 May 2021) to provide an opportunity to focus on well considered technical aspects, exemptions and transition periods.
It is expected that there will be some sensible exemptions, for example steep blocks and retention of practical design features such as the iconic Queenslander built on stilts. Changes will not be retrospective, but over time will reform the stock of houses and apartments across the community.
Improving accessibility in the built environment was a key initiative of the Queensland Building Plan released in 2017 and the decision taken by Building Ministers marks an important step toward building a more inclusive society, where older people and those with disability can live independently and participate fully in their communities…”
QLD Chapter – Practice Committee