SDA Design Category Requirements Guidelines

Specialist disability accommodation (SDA) is a range of housing designed for people with extreme functional impairment or very high support needs. SDA facilities have advanced accessible features that can help residents live more independently and allow the necessary support to be delivered safely. 

How Does SDA Work? 

SDA helps to stimulate the market to produce high-quality, contemporary, accessible, and well-designed housing for participants with SDA funding in their plan. SDA funding is paid directly to the SDA providers to cover the building and maintenance costs. Participants pay a reasonable rent contribution and other day-to-day living costs such as electricity bills.  

SDA Design Category Requirements Guidelines

SDA Design Categories 

The SDA Design Categories Standard improves clarity about the design requirements of the SDA housing facilities. All facilities built for NDIS participants must fulfill the requirements according to their needs. As the vulnerable people of society deserve sincere care, SDA Design Categories Standard aims to provide the finest facilities. 

The four SDA design categories are as follows: 

Improved Liveability

According to this category, the design must meet the minimum requirements of the Livable Housing Australia Silver Level. Improved Liveability SDA dwellings must also include one or more improved liveability design features suitable for the resident’s needs, including elements such as luminance contrasts, improved wayfinding, or lines of sight.

Fully Accessible

Fully Accessible facilities must meet a minimum standard of Livable Housing Australia Platinum Level and include features for improved accessibility both inside and out. The external doors and outdoor private areas must be accessible by wheelchair, and the bathroom vanity and hand basin should be accessible in either a seated or standing position.


Robust dwellings use resilient but inconspicuous materials that can reduce the risk of injury and disturbances and cope with heavy use.

High Physical Support

High Physical Support housing includes all the requirements listed in the Fully Accessible design category, plus structural provisions for ceiling hoists and 950mm clear opening width doors to all habitable rooms. They are also assistive technology ready, have heating, cooling, and household communications technology, and include emergency power solutions to cater for a minimum two-hour power outage if the welfare of residents is at risk.