Livable Housing Design Standard

The phase in of the Modern Homes' Livable Housing Design Standard (LHDS) commenced on 1 October 2023.

Public consultation to include minimum accessibility standards for housing in the National Construction Code (NCC) 2022 took place between 6 July and 31 August 2020.

In April 2021, a majority of building ministers agreed to include minimum accessibility standards for residential housing and apartments in the NCC 2022.

This implemented the 2009 National Dialogue on Universal Housing Design, which committed to a 100% uptake of accessible housing features in new houses by 2020. This commitment was supported by a broad group of key industry organisations, community advocates and governments.

Why these standards matter

A lack of accessible housing comes at a significant cost in the form of:

  • unnecessarily expensive home modifications to make homes more accessible
  • longer stays in hospital and transition care (if applicable) if discharge is delayed due to inadequate accessibility features in the home
  • the need for relocation to find more suitable accommodation
  • an inability for friends and family to visit each other due to inadequate accessibility features in the home.

The accessibility design standards will meet the changing needs of all of us as we age, without the need for costly adaptations. The basic accessibility features will allow us to remain in our homes as we age.

Impact on new houses in Queensland

The impact of implementing the new Livable Housing Design Standard (LHDS) was considered in the Proposal to include minimum accessibility standards for housing in the National Construction Code - decision regulatory impact statement (PDF, 3.6MB).

This document confirmed that retrofitting homes to comply with the new standard can be expensive and stressful. The estimated average cost is around $20,000 for houses and apartments. Some changes, like increasing the width of a corridor in an existing apartment, may not be possible to make.

In contrast, the average cost to ensure a new home complies with the same standards can be as little as 1 per cent of the average building cost.

Not only is it possible to build a compliant new home at a reasonable cost, but doing so increases the stock of houses that can improve a person’s economic and social participation in society by making their life easier.

People who are affected by the lack of suitable housing with accessible features will be able to leave hospital when they are ready, which reduces the need for care services. Additionally, they can live in their homes longer close to family and friends.

Step-free entry requirements guidance

To assist with the design of step-free entry requirements we have prepared:

Case studies on accessible housing

General enquiries

Visit the Australian Building Codes Board website .

Also consider: