Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA)

Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) has been developed by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) to support the development of a range of housing designed for people with extreme functional impairment or very high needs.

The SDA Design Standards focus is on providing a home environment that maximises the capacity of the individual to live as independently as possible, incorporating personal support features within their home.

Our team has been actively contributing to the SDA market since its inception. We are experts in the design of the various SDA Building Types and SDA Design Categories with a special interest and experience in the design of Robust homes.

Our team understands the key design elements in the design standard, the SDA rules, dwelling type requirements and density requirements.


People First Approach

Where participants are known, our team embraces a people first approach and understands that at the centre of the NDIS is the need to maximise the choice and control of the participant. SDA should enhance self-determination and create the conditions required for participants to lead vibrant, safe and independent lives.

Architecture & Access believe the best outcomes for SDA housing occurs when stakeholders are included in the design process. Our team are experienced with community engagement and codesign models. An ideal SDA design reflects an individual’s personality and interests.

We recognise that SDA can also be a workplace and encourage engagement with SILs/service providers to provide input on our designs with a focus on safety and best work practices.


SDA Design categories

  • Improved Liveability

    Housing that has been designed to improve 'Livability' by incorporating a reasonable level of physical access and enhanced provision for people with sensory, intellectual, or cognitive impairment.

  • Robust

    Housing that has been designed to incorporate a reasonable level of physical access provision and be very resilient, reducing the likelihood of reactive maintenance and reducing the risk to the participant and the community.

  • Fully Accessible

    Housing that has been designed to incorporate a high level of physical access provision for people with significant physical impairment.

  • High Physical Support

    Housing that has been designed to incorporate a high level of physical access provision for people with significant physical impairment and requiring very high levels of support.

We provide several architectural services required for the development of SDA projects:

A yield study is an analysis of a parcel of land (in broad terms). We’ll review the planning scheme at a high level and provide the yield of dwellings the site can accommodate, with direction on the dwelling type (number of bedrooms and size) being considered. Yield studies are a quick turn-around service that can support pre-purchase assessments.

A feasibility report provides more detailed information and includes architectural analysis and high-level design options, a planning report and the option a cost plan B. Feasibility studies can be customised to meet the needs of a project.

We offer bespoke architectural solutions for single or multi-unit developments for all SDA dwelling types and SDA design categories. We provide site-specific responses, Environmentally Sustainable Design (ESD) customised design briefs, complete architectural services from concept design, planning/development applications through to construction documentation and construction stage services.

We can provide SDA house plans to meet a specific development brief. Plans are designed to the requirements of SDA design categories with specified number of bedrooms, ensuites or bathrooms, living spaces and Onsight Overnight Assistance (OOA). Plans are developed based on environmental design principles, can be subject to a license agreement for subsequent re-use and adapted to site-specific requirements.

Our team has expertise in Robust SDA homes and has established Project Control Groups (PCGs) for projects where residents have especially complex behavioural needs. The PCG approach confirms that the designs respond to the complexity of the resident’s individual needs. The PCG can include specialist behavioural consultants, treating occupational therapists, funding bodies, family and support workers.

Design review meetings at key milestones ensure that the design responds to the nuances of an individual’s needs and triggers for behaviours of concern. Our team is experienced in working with occupational therapists and specialist consultants to design outcomes that incorporate preventive practices where needed.

Our team has expertise in community engagement and methods of codesign. Where the participant is known, we provide workshops, surveys and interviews to ensure participant, family, Supported Independent Living Services (SILS) and carer input into the design of SDA. Community engagement strategies can be customised to meet the needs of a project.

We can assist in bringing stakeholders together to establish and develop projects. Key stakeholders include SDA providers, SILs, builders, financial investors and funding organisations.

We can assist with the selection of sites to ensure that parcels of land support accessible dwelling and outdoor areas.

SDA Building Types

Apartments – self contained units occupying part of a larger residential builder with usually one or two residents

Villa, Duplexes & Townhouses – generally separate but semi attached properties within a single land title or strata title. These dwellings are for one, two or three residents.

Houses – low rise developments with a garden or courtyard area with up to three residents

Group Homes – larger homes with a larger number of residents (four to five long term residents)

Architecture & Access


Level 5, 369 Royal Parade
Parkville VIC Australia 3052

T 1300 715 866
E info@archaccess.com.au


Bowman House, Level 4,
Suite 41B, 276 Edward Street
Brisbane QLD 4000 Australia

T 1300 715 866
E info@archaccess.com.au