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Building accessible places

Australian legislation requires buildings to be accessible for people with a disability. 

The Australian Building Codes Board administers the National Construction Code (including the Building Code of Australia volume 1 and 2 and the Plumbing Code of Australia volume 3) which sets the design and structure standards of buildings in Australia. The Building Code of Australia is used by architects, town planners, engineers and councils when designing buildings, streets, parks and all other public areas.

Obligations for the building industry

People who work in the building industry have certain obligations under the Australian Building Codes Board and associated Australian building standards, including the Disability (Access to Premises-Buildings) Standards 2010.

New buildings must comply with the National Construction Code and the Disability (Access to Premises-Buildings) Standards when they are constructed. Older buildings must comply with these standards when the owner, person or business using the building carries out major renovations or changes.

The Australian Human Rights Commission publishes advisory notes on access to premises to help developers construct new buildings and facilities that meet requirements in the Disability Discrimination Act 1992.

Universal design

Universal design supports an approach to building and house design that caters to the needs of people with all abilities in the community.

Here are some resources for further reading about universal design and best practice in building accessible places.

  • Building designers may be interested in reading the Queensland Government's Smart and Sustainable Homes Design Objectives. These objectives outline good practice in designing, planning, building, maintaining and renovating homes with sustainability in mind.
  • The Australian Government's Livable Housing Design Guidelines provide voluntary targets for liveable housing design for all new homes, including terraces, townhouses and apartments.
  • The Australian Network for Universal Housing Design is a national network that supports universal design being applied to housing. It provides examples of how universal design can apply with housing.

More information

You can contact the Australian Building Codes Board on 1300 134 631 or email with any general queries.

Information about other building-related topics is available on the Queensland Government's Homes and housing website.

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Australia (CC BY 3.0)
Last updated:
19 April 2016

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