Standards for Accessible Housing

The Australian Building Codes Board (ABCB) has recently issued a Consultation Regulatory Impact Assessment (RIA) addressing a proposal to include minimum accessibility standards for housing in the National Construction Code (NCC).

The Regulatory Impact Assessment is a process designed to measure the benefits and costs of any new regulation and best practice includes a qualitative analysis.

As a result, right now, we all have an opportunity to help ensure the Australian Building Codes Board hears and considers the personal stories of people whose lives have been improved by accessible housing (and how the lack of accessible housing has adversely affected them).

MDI and the Summer Foundation have initiated three important pieces of research to inform our response to the Consultation RIS.


Mr Andrew Dalton, Director AdHealth Consulting (former Associate Professor, Deakin Health Economics, Deakin University) and Emeritus Professor Rob Carter, Deakin University (former Alfred Deakin Professor and Foundation Director, Deakin Health Economics) examined the CIE report and advised on the extent to which the CIE report accurately presented the economic credentials of the proposed regulation.

This economic report can be used as a key resource for any organisation considering making a submission.
Economic report here. (PDF)
Economic Report - Summary
Please note: The issues raised in the analysis and in our response are highly technical. We have found it difficult to produce a non-technical summary without losing important details. We prepared a more concise executive summary to improve accessibility. If you have particular questions, please contact us at


Dr Ilan Wiesel, Senior Lecturer in Geography at the University of Melbourne, supported by Dr Andrew Martel, Lecturer in Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne, surveyed people with disability  to support Dalton and Carter’s economic analysis, and interviewed 45 people.

Their survey received more than 1000 responses within 10 days. This survey report also includes the results from 40 interviews and adds valuable information about people's experiences.

This extra data aligns with the advice from the Office of Best Practice Regulation to include qualitative analysis in all Regulatory Impact Statements, particularly when important elements cannot be quantified or monetised.

View the initial submission here.
View the final report here.


Di Winkler, Mr Tom Greaves, Dr Andrew Martel and Mr Yizi Chen undertook an audit of accessible features in 20 new build, high volume house plans. The study found that many accessibility features are already incorporated into the most popular house designs being built in Australia, but not in a systematic way. It also demonstrates that accessible features are basic elements of good house design for the general population, and indicates that the likely cost of including further accessible features to be fully consistent with the accessibility standards in new builds is very low.

You can review the findings from the Audit here:

Submissions in response to the ABCB Consultation RIA

MDI and the Summer Foundation prepared two submissions in response to the ABCB Consultation RIA which included key recommendations in favour of sensible minimum regulations which will, at long last, make housing accessible and Australia fairer and more inclusive.

First submission: 31 August 2020

Second Submission: 8 October 2020