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Housing construction peaks must step up and show leadership on NCC 2022 to help end the housing crisis for all South Australians

Welcomed across South Australia, the State Government announced early last year that the updated NCC requirements aimed at increasing the accessibility and sustainability of new residential dwellings would apply from October 2024.In separate joint letters to the MBA SA and HIA, a collective of disability, housing, and ageing organisations highlighted why the changes are crucial to address the current housing crisis and urged the housing construction peak bodies to step up their efforts to support the sector to be ready for the new requirements from October.“The MBA and HIA have a responsibility to accept the outcome of what was a robust and rigorous consultation process and demonstrate genuine leadership on implementation,” Robbi Williams, CEO of JFA Purple Orange, said.“However, rather than prepare their members for this vital change to the way they deliver housing they have used the past 18 months to advocate for blanket exemptions to the NCC 2022. Implementation of the NCC 2022 must be a priority in the face of the current severe shortage of accessible housing, our aging population, and rising energy costs.”The housing construction peak bodies need to play a key role in capacity building and supporting the sector to quickly and seamlessly adapt to the new requirements.“It’s time for the MBA and HIA to direct their significant resources toward ensuring members are educated about the importance of the changes for the community and to more proactively support builders to grow their skills in delivering compliant ‘best practice’ builds,” Nicolette Di Lernia, Executive Director for South Australia of the Australian Institute of Architects, said.“This will allow their members to make a smooth and successful transition from October, as well as providing significant benefits to homeowners.”The NCC 2022 has already been implemented in many other states and territories and was unanimously endorsed in the Final Report of the Disability Royal Commission last year.“The housing crisis will not end without a significant increase in the supply of dwellings that include basic accessibility features and adhere to minimum energy efficiency standards – this is exactly what implementation of the new NCC 2022 will help us achieve. Accessible housing is not just for people living with disability or the disability community to solve – it’s a mainstream housing issue for all South Australians,” Mr Williams continued.Across the nation, all Australians are feeling the effects of the housing crisis, which is exacerbated by the rising cost of living. For people living with disability, the challenges of securing appropriate affordable housing are substantially greater, placing them at significant risk of homelessness, abuse and neglect, or becoming stuck in our already overstretched healthcare system.“Homebuyers and tenants will benefit in so many ways, including living in houses that are able to enter and move around in, as well as reducing their energy costs at a time when many households are struggling to pay the bills,” Ross Womersley, CEO of South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS), said.“Houses will be fit-for-purpose now and into the future, enabling people to age in-place rather than be forced into nursing homes later in life if they cannot afford the exponentially higher costs of modifications later.“The evidence demonstrates it is much cheaper to design and build with these features included in new builds from the get-go. The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has published modelling on the Livable Housing Design Standard that shows it will add just one per cent to the cost of a new build, about $25 per square metre on a 200m2 build.“Public dialogue intended to provoke unfounded fears about costs must end. We need to get on with implementation and provide certainty for everyone,” Mr Womersley added.

Welcomed across South Australia, the State Government announced early last year that the updated NCC requirements aimed at increasing the accessibility and sustainability of new residential dwellings would apply from October 2024.In separate joint letters to the MBA SA and HIA, a collective of disability, housing, and ageing organisations highlighted why the changes are crucial to address the current housing crisis and urged the housing construction peak bodies to step up their efforts to support the sector to be ready for the new requirements from October.“The MBA and HIA have a responsibility to accept the outcome of what was a robust and rigorous consultation process and demonstrate genuine leadership on implementation,” Robbi Williams, CEO of JFA Purple Orange, said.“However, rather than prepare their members for this vital change to the way they deliver housing they have used the past 18 months to advocate for blanket exemptions to the NCC 2022. Implementation of the NCC 2022 must be a priority in the face of the current severe shortage of accessible housing, our aging population, and rising energy costs.”The housing construction peak bodies need to play a key role in capacity building and supporting the sector to quickly and seamlessly adapt to the new requirements.“It’s time for the MBA and HIA to direct their significant resources toward ensuring members are educated about the importance of the changes for the community and to more proactively support builders to grow their skills in delivering compliant ‘best practice’ builds,” Nicolette Di Lernia, Executive Director for South Australia of the Australian Institute of Architects, said.“This will allow their members to make a smooth and successful transition from October, as well as providing significant benefits to homeowners.”The NCC 2022 has already been implemented in many other states and territories and was unanimously endorsed in the Final Report of the Disability Royal Commission last year.“The housing crisis will not end without a significant increase in the supply of dwellings that include basic accessibility features and adhere to minimum energy efficiency standards – this is exactly what implementation of the new NCC 2022 will help us achieve. Accessible housing is not just for people living with disability or the disability community to solve – it’s a mainstream housing issue for all South Australians,” Mr Williams continued.Across the nation, all Australians are feeling the effects of the housing crisis, which is exacerbated by the rising cost of living. For people living with disability, the challenges of securing appropriate affordable housing are substantially greater, placing them at significant risk of homelessness, abuse and neglect, or becoming stuck in our already overstretched healthcare system.“Homebuyers and tenants will benefit in so many ways, including living in houses that are able to enter and move around in, as well as reducing their energy costs at a time when many households are struggling to pay the bills,” Ross Womersley, CEO of South Australian Council of Social Service (SACOSS), said.“Houses will be fit-for-purpose now and into the future, enabling people to age in-place rather than be forced into nursing homes later in life if they cannot afford the exponentially higher costs of modifications later.“The evidence demonstrates it is much cheaper to design and build with these features included in new builds from the get-go. The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has published modelling on the Livable Housing Design Standard that shows it will add just one per cent to the cost of a new build, about $25 per square metre on a 200m2 build.“Public dialogue intended to provoke unfounded fears about costs must end. We need to get on with implementation and provide certainty for everyone,” Mr Womersley added.




Additional quotes attributable to Belle Owen, disability advocate and power wheelchair user“I have been fortunate enough to enter the housing market, but the lack of accessible dwellings has left me no choice but to reside in a home in which I currently cannot shower, cook or even wash my hands independently.Forced to leave a rental that was being sold, it became abundantly clear that the cost of housing was not the biggest challenge in finding somewhere to live, it was finding a home I could actually get in the front door and continue living independently as I had before. In my search for a home, I quickly learned that newly built houses with their narrow hallways and lack of turning spaces were just never going to be accessible, forcing us to look at ageing houses that require expensive and timely modifications. If new homes were built to the NCC 2022 accessibility standard, I would have options like everyone else.”


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