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  • Writer's pictureVishal Saxena

What are Livable Housing Design Guidelines: Planning impact on developments in Canberra in 2023

Updated: Sep 3, 2023

Revamping housing design focuses on transforming the way we conceptualize homes to enhance usability and accommodate the evolving demands of occupants.

Livable Housing Guidelines Hyperspace Architecture
Livable Housing Guidelines compliant houses by Hyperspace Architecture

In practical terms, this entails streamlining accessibility, expanding bathroom spaces, widening doorways, and incorporating provisions for future adjustments, like the installation of grabrails.

Termed as 'progressive housing design,' these innovative criteria are rooted in the Livable Housing Design Guidelines (silver level).

l), initially introduced by Livable Housing Australia.

Progressive housing design marks a significant departure from the traditional approach to housing design in Australia.

The NCC 2022 brings forth numerous novel modifications. To facilitate your comprehension and seamless integration of these changes into your designs, we will furnish comprehensive guidance materials, elucidating their objectives and addressing frequently asked questions.

The guidelines for livable housing design can be found in both Volumes One and Two of the NCC.

In Volume One, they are specified in the recently added Part G7, while in Volume Two, they can be located in Part H8.


These fresh sections encompass the following key aspects:


A performance-based approach: This fosters flexibility and encourages innovative solutions to meet the requirements effectively.


Exemptions for practicality: Situations where complete compliance may be unfeasible or unreasonable are accounted for.

Livable Housing Guidelines  by Hyperspace Architecture
Livable Housing Guidelines by Hyperspace Architecture

Deemed-to-Satisfy (DTS) Provisions: These provide a standardized, prescriptive approach to meet Performance Requirements, suitable for common designs and construction methods.

ABCB Standard for Livable Housing Design: The DTS Provisions refer to this new technical standard introduced by ABCB. It offers detailed technical information and explanations to aid in proper understanding and implementation.

The ABCB Standard addresses various aspects, including:


a. Ensuring step-free access to the home.

b. Enhancing the usability of doorways and hallways for individuals with reduced mobility.

c. Providing additional space in the bathroom and toilet areas.

d. Incorporating wall reinforcement in the bathroom and toilet for easier installation of future grabrails if required.


While the Standard encompasses most of the technical DTS Provisions, it is crucial not to consider it in isolation. The NCC and the ABCB Standard should be viewed together, as they complement each other.


Does this apply to me in Canberra?


The livable housing design requirements are applicable to all new Class 1a and Class 2 buildings. The are being applied to all class 2 projects in ACT from end of September.

Please consult with Hyperspace Architecture to see how they may impact your project


Class 1a buildings include houses, such as detached houses, row houses, terraces, townhouses, and villa units.


Class 2 buildings are apartment buildings. For Class 2 buildings, the livable housing design requirements apply exclusively within the apartments. Section D of NCC Volume One and the Access to Premises Standards continue to address the common areas.


If you are extending or renovating an existing home, it is essential to adhere to your state/territory requirements regarding compliance with the new NCC.


Why are these changes significant?


These changes play a crucial role in increasing the availability of adaptable Australian housing that can better cater to the needs of older individuals and those with mobility limitations. This support for housing choice, aging in place, and reduced costs for future adaptations aligns with changing needs over time.`

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