Accessible design is a growing movement across all facets of the architecture, design and construction industries. At its core, this ethos is based around the inalienable human right to an adequate standard of living, as expressed in Article 25 (1) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states:1
“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability, widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond his control.”
By designing accessible spaces, fittings and products, architects, specifiers and manufacturers have the chance to propagate this right through their work.
While the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted more than 70 years ago, the truth is that for many years, parts of it remained a normative ideal for many, and Australia’s codification and regulation of the principles of accessibility has come along in leaps and bounds over the last 35 years. Section 25 of the Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (Cth) made it illegal for a person to refuse another person access to a premises-based on a disability,2 and with the ratification of the Disability (Access to Premises) Standards in 2010, the principles of accessible design were signed into law for all new Class 1b-10 buildings.3
However, the story is slightly different for class 1a buildings (single dwellings). As private residences, they cannot be regulated in the same way as public / common access spaces. The Australian Government’s Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Design Standard is a comprehensive framework to designing for people with permanent and significant disability,4 pertaining to class 1a buildings.
This whitepaper will take a detailed look at the SDA Design Standard. It will focus particularly on its relevance to bathroom and kitchen applications and will offer suggestions to product features that specifiers should seek when designing for these applications.