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Skip Navigation LinksDepartment of Housing and Public Works > Construction > Building and plumbing > Building > Building access for people with a disability

Building access for people with a disability

The Disability (Access to Premises–Building) Standards 2010, commonly referred to as the ‘Premises Standards’, clarifies the building standards for providing public access to buildings for people with a disability (other than for a class 1 building). The Premises Standards apply to new buildings and at time of upgrade to existing buildings.

Under the Commonwealth Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA), building certifiers and people involved in the design, construction and management of a building must comply with the Disability (Access to Premises—Building) Standards 2010 (PDF, 152KB). The Premises Standards have harmonised building compliance with DDA.

These building standards contained in the Building Code of Australia and have applied since 1 May 2011. Prior to this there was some uncertainty for building applicants as to how to satisfy the DDA requirements for non-discriminatory access to premises.

Access panels

The Commonwealth Government recommended that State governments establish specialist bodies, known as access panels, to assist building certifiers apply the Premises Standards. These can be used where the applicant may wish to apply for unjustifiable hardship for their specific situation or propose an alternative building solution to comply with the requirements.

The statutory guideline (PDF, 179KB) contains information about the DDA hardship provisions or alternative solutions with advice from the access panel.

An access panel may consist of 1 or more members each with specific expertise in a particular area. The number of panel members to hear a matter and their particular expertise will depend on the matter being addressed.

An access panel is not a statutory panel established under law. Members of a panel are private individuals who are entitled to charge commercial rates for any advice they provide.

The recommendations and decisions of an access panel regarding unjustifiable hardship or an alternative building solution is advisory only under the DDA. While access panels cannot provide certainty that compliance with the DDA has been achieved, the process has been developed to assist building certifiers and owners with compliance matters and to assist in responding to complaints. Note that complaints of discrimination may arise under the DDA even where the recommendations of an access panel are followed.

More information

If you need further information on developing an alternative building solution under the BCA in providing access for people with a disability, or advice about unjustifiable hardship, the following people can be contacted:

​Please note that the panel members have agreed to abide by a code of conduct, as developed by the department, and have agreed for their names and contact details to be published.

Last updated 08 August 2019    Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

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