Access Insight April/May 2020

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APRIL / MAY 2020

Housing and Assistive Technology Assistive Technology in Education Making every living space better with assistive technology Bathroom Bliss for Seniors Using the Latest Technology to Create Specialist Disability Accommodations Fast track to the future of assistive technology Home Automation and Assistive device requirements for SDA Homes That Help: Smart Design for Independent Living

Holiday in Style: The Silver Bull All Abilities House


IN THIS ISSUE From the President’s Desk....................................................... 2 2020-2021 Membership Renewal............................................ 4 Congratulations from the Committee of Management................ 4 Membership........................................................................... 5 Holiday in Style: The Silver Bull All Abilities House...................... 8


Homes That Help: Smart Design for Independent Living........... 12

Contact: ACAA NSW Chairperson Robyn Thompson

Home Automation and Assistive device requirements for SDA................................................................................ 18


Fast track to the future of assistive technology....................... 22 Assistive Technology in Education.......................................... 28 Bathroom Bliss for Seniors.................................................... 32 Review................................................................................. 33 Making every living space better with assistive technology...... 34 Using the Latest Technology to Create Specialist Disability Accommodations (SDAs)....................................................... 38 Technical Insights.................................................................. 42

Contact: ACAA SA Chairperson Grant Wooller QUEENSLAND Contact: ACAA QLD Chairperson Angela Chambers VICTORIA Contact: ACAA VIC Secretary Mr Paul Eltringham WESTERN AUSTRALIA Contact: ACAA WA Chairperson Anita Harrop

ACAA COMMITTEE OF MANAGEMENT PRESIDENT: Mr Mark Relf AM VICE PRESIDENT: Ms Lindsay Perry Address: 20 Maud Street, Geelong VIC 3220 Email:

Phone: +61 3 5221 2820 Web:


Anita Harrop

April / May 2020 Issue Cover photo credit: iStockphoto Please email the Editor if you would like to showcase your project on the Cover of the next Access Insight



SECRETARY: Mrs Anita Harrop TREASURER: Mr Howard Moutrie ORDINARY MEMBERS: Ms Cathryn Grant Ms Claire Cunningham Mr Francis Lenny Mr Dale Sheppard


President of the Association of Consultants in Access Australia


s we foreshadowed in March, the Committee has decided not to hold a 2-3 day conference in 2021 due to the lengthy lead time to book a venue, develop a program, enter into contract relationships with an organiser and expect sponsors to exhibit in a less certain economic climate. Consequently, ACAA is considering half and 1 day seminars that can be streamed live. While this can be costly in terms of production costs, it is probably the best option compared to face-to-face experiences. Obviously, the structure and planning such an event is different from traditional conferences and ACAA will need to incorporate people with different skill sets to create the best learning experiences. We are inviting members to nominate themselves to join a CPD webinar planning group to establish a 12 month program to plan, develop and deliver webinars. The starting point has commenced with the dissemination of a members CPD survey in May. This is critical to obtain your views on a wide range of matters that will assist the access consulting movement. So please CLICK HERE to complete the surveys ASAP.

STANDARDS AUSTRALIA You may have noticed the release of a revised AS 2890.5 for Off-Street Parking, which incorporates new configurations for accessible parking. This was not all agreed to by ACAA, but in the wisdom of others, this is what got published. If you experience negative views from local government and people with disabilities then please advise and ACAA will share with Standards Australia. This may trigger an amendment to AS 2890.5 or an ACAA practice note or both. The relevant committees for AS 1428.1, AS 2890.6, AS 1735.15 and AS3856 are also actively revising these standards and we would expect public drafts to be issued later this year. So watch out for these and respond accordingly.

CONSULTATION REGULATORY IMPACT STATEMENT FOR ACCESSIBLE HOUSING As we advised previously, the release of the RIS and forum have been deferred until further notice, which you may wish to follow at any of the following links: • • •

Mark Relf AM

April / May 2020



2020–2021 Membership Renewal ACAA Memberships for 2020 - 2021 are due on 1 June 2020. To renew your membership and download a tax invoice, please CLICK HERE TO LOG IN Once logged in to renew membership, the option is to pay immediately by Credit Card, or pay later by EFT. Both options will immediately email a tax invoice to your inbox. To send the tax invoice to an accounts department before payment, simply choose the pay by EFT option. The tax invoice will be emailed for forwarding. Please ensure the EFT description includes the Tax Invoice number. The Management Committee has decided not to increase membership fee for the 2020 – 2021 financial year. Any members having difficulty paying membership renewals will have an extended period from 31 July to 31 December 2020 without any change in membership status.

Members also have the option to pay membership renewal fees in two installments. First installment 50% of the membership fee due by 31 July 2020 and remaining 50% due by 31 December. Payment can be done online or by EFT for installments payments. Payment EFT using the following instructions: 1. Send your payment to: Association of Consultants in Access Australia Inc Bank: Commonwealth Bank of Australia BSB: 062 905 Account: 10084353 2. EMAIL A COPY OF THE BANK TRANSFER ADVICE to

Failing to complete these steps will result in your payment not being allocated against your account. If you need technical assistance with this process, please contact the ACAA Support desk by email on, or for general enquiries contact

Congratulations from the Committee of Management The ACAA Committee of Management warmly welcomes the following people who have joined ACAA or upgraded their membership:

CORPORATE SPONSORS • Clearasound • Benelliglobal Corporation P/L

ASSOCIATE MEMBERS • Michael Potts • Craig Fafeita • Yik-Xiang Hue


AFFILIATE MEMBERS • Grant Hewitt • Thomas Perry • Kostas Patou






he ACAA website has many built-in and automated or partially automated functions allowing you to manage your site account, profile, directory listings and membership. In this article, I will take you through some of the procedures for managing the aforesaid items.

SITE ACCOUNT Anyone who applies for membership, registers for an ACAA event or interacts with any of the site’s inbuilt functions opens a site account automatically on their first interaction with the site. This account is kept in perpetuity regardless of your ACAA membership status so you can view records of interactions you have had with the site. When you sign up for an account through any of these interactions, you are asked to provide your own username and password. Once your account has activated, you can log in to the site at any time and see different levels of content based on your current ACAA membership status. Non members can see their event records and update their profiles only. If you have forgotten your username or password, there are two links on the login form that allow you to receive/reset these items without needing assistance from the office.

Once you have successfully logged in, you can perform the following functions. Manage your contact details and profile by going to and using the edit profile button. All site users can update their username, password, email address and contact details. ACAA members can update the information shown in the ACAA directories and the ACAA mentoring program. Different levels of membership have access to different levels of information and not all information can be seen until you press the edit profile button.

April / May 2020



PRIVACY AND THE DIRECTORIES You can choose if you want your contact details displayed in the public directories by using this field in the Business Details Tab on the profile page. Please note that not all the information you can see is available to the general public or other members. Most fields are for yours and the office administrator’s eyes only. Also, not all fields can be edited by you. i.e. you cannot change your member number, member status or member level, these are managed by the office, however, you can look them up at any time by viewing your profile. When you are editing your profile, you can decide if you want some fields to be shown in your public directory profile. To the right of each field is a dropdown icon that allows you to determine the level of privacy you want on any items in your profile with the exception of certain items that ACAA has determined must be available to the public, i.e. member status is always visible in the search directories if you have elected to be displayed in them.

MANAGING YOUR MEMBERSHIP To manage your membership, you must login to the website and go to this link which is only available to ACAA members This page allows you to update some basic contact details as well and will feed into your profile to make it easy to change your contact details each year when renewing your membership. To renew your membership or upgrade your membership, go to the My Subscriptions tab on this page and you will see the following: 6



Here you can: • Download your certificate of currency under for each type of active membership you hold. Certificate dates are changed on the 1st July each year. • Renew your current membership/s • Upgrade your current membership to a higher level If you click on the Subscription History tab on this page, you will be able to download your invoices for membership

If you are renewing or upgrading your membership and pay by credit card, you can choose the correct renewal or upgrade button, fill out the form on the next page, enter your credit card details and press submit. A tax invoice/receipt will be sent to you by email and that is all you have to do. If you wish to renew or upgrade your membership and pay by EFT, you can choose the correct renewal or upgrade button, fill out the form on the next page, choose to pay by EFT and press submit. Once you have chosen to renew by EFT, you will receive an email with your tax invoice attached which you can pass on to your accounts team for payment or pay yourself. If paying by EFT, please remember to email us when the payment has been made to assist us to reconcile your payment with your account. If you choose to pay by EFT and then decide later to pay by credit card, there is a link in the invoices to log in and pay any invoice by credit card. If you have paid by EFT, we will activate your new membership after we have received the payment. In the next edition of Access Insight, we will be looking at Events and CPD Warm regards and happy web browsing

Jacqui Blanch (ACAA webmaster) April / May 2020



Holiday in Style: The Silver Bull All Abilities House


arrawonga in Victoria’s north is located on the south bank of the Murray River and is the perfect location for a weekend getaway. Owner of The Silver Bull All Abilities House Jenny Price fell in love with the area and came up with the idea of being able to share her passion with all people, regardless of their ability or access requirements after caring for her mother who had drug induced Parkinson’s. Jenny, a retired educator, flipped houses with her husband in her spare time when she was working and has a love of Hampton’s styling and good design. Jenny cared for her mother and it was after this experience that got her thinking about accessible housing and the lack of opportunity for people with a disability to holiday with their friends and family in large groups. Market research revealed many accessible community activities in the area,


but accessible accommodation generally provided as single accessible rooms, meaning that while the rest of the family could holiday together, those with access requirements would need to sleep and bathe in a separate facility. This is where the idea for the Silver Bull All Abilities House was conceived. Jenny had exposure to people with a disability in her workplace, a lived experience caring for her mother and an Occupational Therapist in the family. This combination has led to a thoughtful design, with a house that caters for many different needs. Jenny interviewed seven builders in the early stages of planning. It was Ken Stevenson from Lekeal Builders that was the standout for Jenny as he was willing to work with her to accommodate all of the inclusions she wanted


FEATURED ARTICLE to see in the property. Jenny was very involved in the build, visiting the site most days, meaning that she was able to work through any issues as they arose. There were clear, open lines of communication and an amazing, centralised project management system which kept everyone up to date on the build. The Silver Bull All Abilities House is a five bedroom home with all bedrooms offering the option of a king size bed, or two single beds in each room. It comfortably accommodates ten people. All rooms have been designed to have compliant circulation spaces, and in many cases additional space has been provided. There is one electrically adjustable bed in the home, and all beds have clearance for a hoist. Thoughtful design inclusions in the bedroom include a niche above the bed in the case where a bedside table needs to be shifted to facilitate transfers. This gives the user a space to put their cup of tea, rest their book or charge their phone. The hallways are 1500mm wide and have oversize sliding barn doors. The bathrooms are the ultimate in luxury. All bathrooms include a level access shower; two have clawfoot baths which are located so a hoist can be used. A variety of toilet styles have

been provided, with the pan located either in the corner of the room for independent transfers or peninsular style. A variety of assistive technology for the bathroom is provided including a shower chair, mobile transfer bench, shower stool and an attendant propelled shower commode. More complex equipment such as commodes can be hired from local equipment supplier Eden Health, with whom The Silver Bull All Abilities House have a partnership arrangement. While the bathrooms have been designed to accommodate a person with a disability, anyone would be comfortable using such luxurious facilities. The kitchen has been designed also for a range of people with varying abilities. There are lowered sections of bench, so that a person who is sitting is able to assist with the meal preparation. A dishwasher drawer has been placed on both the left and right side of the sink to accommodate a person who is only able to reach to one side. Side opening, wall mounted ovens are provided, with a pull out shelf underneath so that hot meals can be transferred out of the oven prior to being moved to another location in the kitchen. Pop up power points have been installed in accessible locations around the kitchen. Jenny has also located the crockery at an accessible height in the dining area.

April / May 2020


FEATURED ARTICLE The entire home is air conditioned with the ability to zone different areas of the home. The alfresco area is heated and cooled with a separate unit, leaving a living area that is not cooled by the main air conditioning system. This is particularly useful for times where one person may require temperature regulation, but others may not enjoy air conditioning all of the time. Moving outside there is a swimming pool with a hoist and slings available. One seat in the spa is high enough so a child can sit easily. There is also a reclined seat in the spa, once again, accommodating for all abilities. The spa is temperature controlled. The other part of the swimming pool has jets that allow for 'lap swimming'. The Silver Bull All abilities House has gone so far as to provide a lightweight manual wheelchair for use by the occupants, along with a more heavy duty wheelchair that can get wet. There is a hoist



FEATURED ARTICLE with a variety of slings sized small, medium and large, assistive technology for the bathrooms, with the inclusion of suction rails in case the grab rails installed are not in a useful location. Sensor lights in the hallway mean that people are able to move freely about the home. Even pets have been catered for with a dog bed in the laundry. Hard, slip resistant flooring throughout make this home ideal for any wheeled mobility device. The Silver Bull All Abilities House is thoughtfully designed for people of all abilities as the name suggests. It is not only good design, but beautiful design, allowing the whole family to get away in the lap of luxury. House: The Silver Bull All Abilities House, Yarrawonga Bookings: Builder: Lekeal Custom Quality Homes Partners: Tradelink Eden Health

April / May 2020



Homes That Help: Smart Design for Independent Living by Perry Cross

THE JOURNEY TO INDEPENDENCE When I became a C2 ventilated quadriplegic at 19 years of age following a rugby accident 25 years ago, living with independence in my own home didn't seem like an option.

Perry Cross has been a leading figurehead in the field of spinal research and launched the Perry Cross Spinal Research Foundation in 2010. The former rugby union player became a quadriplegic as the result of an injury sustained in a tackle in 1994. He has since dedicated his life to finding a cure for paralysis and is now helping people with high-supported living needs live independently in everyday communities in everyday homes, albeit homes with special smart design modifications and features.


And in reality, homes designed to adequately support people with high-supported needs to live independently simply didn't exist until more recently and even now, are few in number. And when I'm referring to 'homes', I'm not talking about institutions or nursing facilities - I mean real dwellings where people would want to call home; in locations where people would want to live. However, there are more than 28,000 Australians requiring supported specialist accommodation, while there are currently only 4,000 such dwellings available across the country.



Fortunately, this is starting to change, with a growing number of Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) providers working to build more suitable dwellings for NDIS participants. With cutting-edge technology, specialised modifications and home automation, I am now able to live in my own apartment in Broadbeach on the Gold Coast. The new-found freedom I can now enjoy thanks to my new home is a dream come true. I'm spreading the word to help more people, like me, make the move to a place that suits their specific requirements and that they can call their own.

NEED HELP? JUST ASK Living independently doesn't mean there's no help available. In fact, most SDA homes boast 24/7 support - in the form of a number of devices and virtual assistants. Property and technology have been evolving hand-in-hand for many years, but it's only been more recently that 'smart living' has been applied to disability housing. The results speak for themselves - literally - as I rely on virtual assistants to control my environment and automate home features and appliances. A simple command to Google Home or Amazon's Alexa allows me to open doors, control lighting, room temperature, music, entertainment and much more, with just a few words.

This eliminates many of the mobility and accessibility issues that I would usually have with these tasks, and gives me complete control of my home environment, without any help required from another person. For example, I can now take myself to my bedroom and close the door behind me with the command of my voice. This my seem like an insignificant action for most people, but for me, being able to do this one my own without a carer is a taste of personal independence, privacy and control that I've not had for more than two decades. The best part about the technology is that it can be optimised for different types of use, so people with speech challenges could access the home automation system with a touchpad or switch.

TECH IN THE BEDROOM The bedroom is probably the area that includes the most assisted-living features, starting with motorised blackout roller blinds. These blinds, which open and close on voice command, control light and air flow and importantly, help me get a good night's sleep. An automated ceiling hoist helps the transition from bed to wheelchair, and a wall mounted TV can be switched on and tuned to my favourite programs with a quick request to Alexa.

April / May 2020



Air-conditioning is pre-set to temperatures recognised as 'warm' and 'cool' and I can ask Alexa to change settings to keep the bedroom comfortable throughout all seasons.

quad-core chipset, faster set-up and configuration, and more advanced wireless technology to meet the demands of my smart home.

All lights, blinds and air-conditioning throughout the apartment are controlled through Alexa, which also opens and closes doors as I move through my home.

It's designed to give the best possible performance for high-throughput and real time for latency-sensitive applications. It's engineered with the latest high-speed chipset delivering faster speeds, greater reliability and smooth client, hands-free interaction anywhere in the home.

THE REAL TECHY STUFF For those of you thinking it's as easy as ordering a virtual assistant online and plugging it in, unfortunately it's not. The technology installed in my home to make this all happen seamlessly is beyond my comprehension. All I need to know is that there's this incredible 'black box' in a cupboard that makes the magic happen.

The next-generation wireless technology, including beam-forming and Wave 2 MU-MIMO ensure high-throughput connectivity for bandwidth-insensitive devices and real-time applications.

For those of you who are interested, here's some of the more technical stuff...

As for controlling my entertainment, that's done via the Control4 EA-3 Entertainment and Automation Controller V2, offering multi-room, high-resolution audio and smart home automation for instantaneous, interactive one-screen access to all the systems in the home.

The main controller of all this automation is a WA-2200 next-generation Wave 2 access point that's been re-designed with a high-speed,

A built-in music server with three audio outputs delivers high-resolution audio throughout the home for my local music library, popular



FEATURED ARTICLE streaming music devices, and AirPlay-enabled devices using native Control4 ShairBridge technology. Got it?

SMART DESIGN FOR EASY LIVING While the wiring and technology that allows me to adapt my daily routine can't be seen, there are a number of obvious, and important, modifications that make SDA homes liveable for people with mobility issues. SDA providers build or retro-fit properties that are wheelchair-friendly by adjusting the walls, floors and fittings. Wider doors, hallways and open living spaces are a must to allow easy movement between the living, dining and bedrooms. Within each of these spaces, there are no ledges or gaps in the flooring, ensuring seamless travel from the bedroom to the open ensuite, across the living area to the kitchen and out to my favourite space - the balcony, with views of the city and ocean. A big part of living independently is being able to prepare your own meals. While my injury means I still require help with this, for many others a custom-kitchen would make cooking possible. Benchtops are adjusted to the correct height for a wheelchair, there's ample room underneath sinks and stoves, and it's easy to reach appliances and cupboards. This can all be adjusted should someone who is not in a wheelchair wish to use the space.

HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS Living in an SDA property isn't just about independence; it's also about quality of life. At 44-years-old, I'd worn out the welcome mat with my parents and siblings and went looking for ways I could change my situation. The journey to my own home wasn't all smooth sailing. I was lucky to have the right friends and support networks to help me get there. There are so few SDA-approved homes that finding one proved all-but impossible. Instead, my friends and I started Accessible Homes Australia (AHA) and went through the lengthy process of having it registered as an SDA-provider. I now have a place to call my own, complete with all of the features I need to live comfortably. This includes a bright and airy study nook right next to the balcony so I can open the door to let in sea breezes. My apartment is also designed for the comfort of guests, or my carer, with a second bedroom and bathroom. I'm lucky to live right in the heart of Broadbeach, with restaurants and cafes at my doorstep and the light rail station just a short distance away. To be able to live in an everyday community has been life changing, and the access to amenities and infrastructure has given me even more freedoms. I now just catch the tram to my office!

MAKING THE MOVE Eligible NDIS recipients can partner with an SDA provider, like AHA, to create their custom home,

April / May 2020


FEATURED ARTICLE allowing them to make the move from living with family, in aged care facilities or a property that may not be suited to their needs. To qualify for SDA accommodation, an NDIS participant needs to be assessed and a report prepared including letters from doctors, carers, support workers and family to satisfy criteria for SDA funding. It can seem like an overwhelming process but help is out there. We've decided to use AHA to help other people in situations like mine achieve the freedoms that I have now. The move into a new, fully-automated home that's been designed to specifically meet my needs has changed my life. Through AHA, we've combined my personal experience with disability and the SDA, with the


expertise of my builder and developer friends to build SDA homes in communities where people have access to lifestyle amenities, and connections to family, friends and work. The ultimate goal is to ensure that no-one with high-care needs is forced to live in inappropriate settings, such as aged-care facilities, and that those who rely on the family home have the option to live independently. Having that choice is life changing.

If you, a friend or loved-one could benefit from moving into a more suitable, accessible and supported-living home, or to find out more about Perry and his specialist disability accommodation provider, Accessible Homes Australia, visit; email; or call (07) 5568 0606.


2020 Training Calendar Courses will be delivered via video / teleconference using Zoom

CPP50711 Diploma of Access Consulting - 11 days July 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, August 5, 6, 7, 10, 11 and 12 August 26, 27, 28, 31, September 1, October 7, 8, 9, 12, 13 and 14

CPP50711 Diploma of Access Consulting Course for Occupational Therapists - 9 days

Bridging Course for CPP50711 Diploma of Access Consulting - 3 days June 15, 16 and 17 August 10, 11 and 12 October 12, 13 and 14

CPPACC4005A Conduct a Building Access Audit - 2 days May 28 and 29 June 29 and 30

July 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, August 5, 6, 7 and 10 August 26, 27, 28, 31, September 1, October 7, 8, 9 and 12

Understanding Access Legislation and Universal Design in Buildings - 1 day May 28 June 29

CPP50711 Diploma of Access Consulting - Course for Building Surveyors - 8 days July 8, 9, 10, 13, 14 August 10, 11 and 12 August 26, 27, 28, 31, September 1, October 12, 13 and 14

CPP40811 CertiďŹ cate IV in Access Consulting - 8 days July 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, August 5, 6 and 7 August 26, 27, 28, 31, September 1, October 7, 8 and 9

CPP40811 CertiďŹ cate IV in Access Consulting - Course for Building Surveyors - 5 days July 8, 9, 10, 13 and 14 August 26, 27, 28, 31 and September 1

Understanding Access and Universal Design in Parks & Outdoor Spaces - 1 day June 18

Livable Housing Australia - Design Guideline Assessor Course - 3 hours May 26 July 30 October 20 November 23

July 6 September 14 November 5

Accredited Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Assessor Course - 1 day June 2 July 31 October 1 November 12

July 7 September 2 November 6 November 24

T: 03 9988 1979 RTO Provider Number 22404


Home Automation and Assistive device requirements for SDA by Farah Madon ACAA Accredited Access Consultant and NDIS Accredited SDA Assessor Vista Access Architects Farah is the lead author of the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) SDA (Specialist Disability Accommodation) Design Standard. Farah contributes on a number of Boards and Management Committees in relation to accessibility for people with disabilities including being a member of the Australian Standards ME-064 Committee, Community Representative member of Penrith City Council's Access Committee, member of the LHA’s (Livable Housing Australia's) Industry Reference Group, NSW representative on RAIA’s (Australian Institute of Architect's) National Access Work Group and Management Committee member of NSW Network of Access Consultants.


he SDA (Specialist Disability Accommodation) sets the minimum requirements for a dwelling to be eligible for SDA funding. The SDA funding is based on what is considered to be ‘reasonable and necessary’ in an SDA dwelling. Going beyond the minimum requirements for SDA DS would naturally mean a more appealing product for the participant thus giving the dwelling a commercial advantage over the dwellings that go for the bare minimum compliance. This article discusses what is required as a bare minimum for SDA certification where home automation products are concerned and some consideration where going above and beyond. The home automation requirements in the SDA DS are mainly applicable to the FA (Fully Accessible) and HPS (High Physical Support) design categories.

DOORS SDA DS (Design Standard) does not mandate the use of automated doors.



FEATURED ARTICLE Clause 4.1.3 and 4.2.7 of the SDA DS, requires door circulation spaces to be provided to both sides of the doors as per AS1428.1 for the FA and HPS design categories (excluding internal door circulation space for bedrooms which is required to be as per Figure 16 of the SDA DS). The provision of door circulation spaces as per AS1428.1 is considered to be a bare basic requirement to provide independence to the participant. In the event that the door circulations spaces (latch side circulation space shown as WL in figure) cannot be accommodated then door automation is considered to be an appropriate solution in lieu of the required latch side circulation spaces. Note that the door automation does not negate the requirement for the length space required (shown as L in figure). Also, the door automation is required to be provided at the very beginning and not just a provision for the same. AS1428.1 also provides further information on appropriate location of manual buttons for automated doors. A concern in provision of automated doorways is power failure. Which is why a minimum 2-hour outage to any provided automated doorways is required for HPS design category. We would recommend that this also be provided to any automated doorways in FA design category.

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FEATURED ARTICLE WINDOWS Clause 6.3 of the SDA DS requires provision of power and control cabling to be provided to windows of bedrooms and living areas for future window blind automation for the HPS design category. Therefore, automated windows / blinds are not mandatory from the beginning but the provision for the same is required. So, if the participant requires the use of the automated blinds then this can be done easily.

KITCHEN Clause 8.7 of the SDA DS requires provision of a 900mm wide height adjustable benchtop surface for FA and HPS design categories. The SDA DS does not mandate automation of the benchtop surface and it is acceptable if the benchtop surface can be manually adjusted by a technician. Manual adjustment of the benchtop was considered to be the bare minimum requirement, however in most projects we see the SDA provider opting to provide this min 900mm wide benchtop as automated for height adjustability, especially when there are more than one participant occupying the SDA dwelling thus requiring flexibility for different participants that may have different height requirements.

itself and provision of a system that does not trap a person under the benchtop while adjusting the height of the benchtop.

LIGHTING Clause 12.4 of the SDA DS requires dimmable lighting switches to be provided to living and bedroom areas. This can be provided by means of standard type of rotary dimmer controls. Note that dimmable light switches are required for all design categories.

CEILING HOISTS Clause 20 of the SDA DS for HPS design categories requires provision for 250kg capacity ceiling hoists to the bedrooms. Note that the hoist fixture itself is not required to be provided but just the provision of the same in terms of power and in-built structure. Ceiling hosts are required to be able to go across and down the bed as a minimum. Provision of a capped GPO on / near the ceiling is considered

CONSIDERATIONS IF OPTING FOR AUTOMATED HEIGHT ADJUSTABLE BENCHTOPS IN KITCHEN If opting for automated height adjustable benchtops it is important to note that there are generally two systems available, floor mounted or wall mounted. Wall mounted systems are good for providing the required 900mm clear width of knee toe clearance where space is limited. Whereas the floor mounted systems would require a wider bench space to allow for the minimum 900mm clear width of knee toe clearance space. Also wall mounted systems can only be provided where the wall has been reinforced to take the wall mounted system and as such this system is generally not suitable for retrofitting in the future unless wall reinforcements have been provided from the very beginning. Other considerations include provision of large buttons for automation in front of the benchtop 20


FEATURED ARTICLE to be adequate to satisfy the power requirement of this clause.

EMERGENCY POWER SOLUTIONS The SDA Price Guide for HPS noted that the emergency power solutions only applies where a determination was made that ‘the welfare of the participant was at risk’. The SDA DS for HPS now closes that loophole and clearly notes that the emergency power solution is required to be provided to cater for a minimum 2-hour outage in no less than 2 double GPOs in participant bedrooms and to any provided automated doorways. Even though not mandated under the SDA DS, we would suggest that an alarm system is built into the redundant power supply to alert support staff so that preparations can be made if relocation is required should the power stay out for an extended period of time.


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Clause 23 of the SDA DS requires internet connection for FA and HPS design categories and video / intercom or other communication system for communication between the participants and the support staff for the HPS design category. No further details are provided for these requirements to support innovation in this particular space. Therefore, it is up to the SDA provider to select assistive technology to satisfy this requirement. A number of systems such as communication and home controls via ipads is available. Where these types technologies are used, it would be prudent to ensure that even though assistive technology is provided an option is also available for manual operation of devices, switches etc. Use of technology should be such that it does not compromise the privacy of the participants or has the effect of restricting the rights or freedom of movement of a person with disability.

Disclaimer: Contents of this article are personal opinions of the author. This article is not endorsed by the NDIA and users are advised to make their own inquires directly with NDIA.

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April / May 2020



Fast track to the future of assistive technology by Tino Carusi Director of SDA Assistive Technologies

Tino has a background in Property Development, with a Bachelors Degree in Electrical Engineering, and a Masters in Business Administration, from Macquarie University. In addition to his property background, Tino has a 20 year history of creating high performing business units in manufacturing, technology and healthcare sectors within North America and Asia Pacific regions. Tino has held senior management and executive positions while serving several ASX100 Companies.


he Jetsons was the whimsical cartoon of our youth, but we all remember how much easier our life would be if it was possible. Bar the 'auto dress you in the morning wardrobe', the future has arrived with SDA Assistive Technologies Pty Ltd.

SDA Assistive Technologies has partnered with Essence a global (IoT) Internet of Things company to bring the next generation Smart Assistive Technology platform in a Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) apartment or house. The introduction of the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) and advances in technology have removed the costs and complexity of smart assistive technology, bringing it into the reach of people with disability, with a 'plug and play' solution that is truly smart. Using simple schedules, day to day events and voice activation to truly simplify the lives of people with disabilities. Think back what happened to the computer store, the video store, the music store, the Kodak shop, all memories, and replaced by next generation cloud technologies that have enabled the new connected care and assistive technology of the future. The SDA Assistive Technologies offering is not about tech heads and geek heaven but enabling the intrinsic human desire as based on Maslow's Law. The platform is designed around enabling Safety and Independence for people with disability. We understand the desire of all people, is to live a life of independence and autonomy, but sometimes we need assistance to ensure that that life is safe, as well.

SO HOW DOES IT WORK? SDA assistive Technologies offer a base Safety System and Independent Living system. Everyone’s routines and lifestyles are different, so are their AT requirements. In consultation with Occupational Therapists, Doctors and Family Members, we can simply add on modules that improve the home environment.




This ADL (Activities of Daily Living) information is then collected to provide a private but transparent window to the home environment. This information is securely shared with the SIL provider (Supported Independent Living) and Family Members who can then proactively support the participants to live as independently as possible.

The system then allows participants and the SIL’s to connect the necessary levels of Assistive Technology. Combining these devices below can create a customised solution for the participant without the need for more specialised equipment.

The backbone of the technology was developed by Essence, a global IoT company with over 30 million devices installed. The solution has been customised by SDA Assistive Technologies to support the initial requirements of Enliven Housing for their pilot SDA site in Sans Souci Sydney which opens in July 2020.

A SNAPSHOT OF SDA ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGIES FOR ENLIVEN HOUSING The heart of the system is the WeR@Home Hub. The Hub is an intelligent home control panel for managing and communicating with the on-site peripherals enabling remote control of home environment. Providing automation of simple tasks related to activities of daily living and enable 'check ins' of areas in apartment passively or actively. The SIL provider (Supported Independent Living) can set guides for automations with participants and change automations easily. April / May 2020







To be a central point for App

Master control of automations for tenants and SIL

Use App on tablet for installation settings, adjustments, pre-sets, and automations

Smart Plug

To convert existing on/off appliances to automated appliances

Technology smart for convenience and monitor of energy use

Enables immediate adjustments for automations in the home using natural language (like temperature control, lights on/off). Improves safety with ability to turn off devices like electric blankets, irons etc.

Care@home Multiple emergency pendant Extra emergency device Voice Activation to call for assistance. in case of emergency or Device Push button, pull cord and assistance is required voice activation.

Extra protection for tenant in wet dangerous high slip areas

Splash proof and can be installed in shower and wet areas Care@home Hub

Be able to provide an individual response plan

Smart Sensor

To trigger automations for lights/appliances in any room

Enables adjustment of Improves comfort of the environment based on home environment movement and time of day Assists activities of daily Measures temperature to living especially for clients also trigger guide events with dexterity and cognitive issues

Smart Thermostat

To enable smart temperature control 24/7

HVAC Control options with On/Off, Mode, Temperature up and down ad fan control

Be able to create a Assists SIL staff understand customised plan per tenants needs better tenant with medical details Able to provide SIL/HUB Assists SIL staff to have Monitoring System SIL staff will have a immediate data dashboard of every Able to provide a family mobile customer application tenant’s health data Emergency point to call for Family members feel assistance for beside bed connected

Support individual preferences and level of autonomy required in the home. Supports comfort required in the home environment



FEATURED ARTICLE WHAT AT LOOKS LIKE IN REAL LIFE Enliven Housing is a specialist disability housing provider of independent living options based in Sydney. Enliven Housing’s tenancy model of tenancy and support, is based on having 10 apartments in one complex, sustained by a Supported Independent Living Provider (SIL) located in a separate unit in the complex. The Enliven model encapsulates a deep understanding of the importance of Independence and Autonomy and how advances in technology provide a low cost, easy to use future proof solution for people with disability. The AT we have Incorporated in the Enliven unit is designed for simplicity, ease of use and peace of mind. If you’re concerned about a relative living independently, you can set up a system so that if the kettle hasn’t been switched on since a set time in the morning, and the bedroom door hasn’t been opened, it will send the SIL a text message. Door sensors can be set to trigger messages when a door is opened. Rules can be set up to control the time of day these might be set for.

Motion sensors can be connected to things like smart lights so that the lights are switched on automatically if they sense movement, avoiding the need to cross a room to get to a light switch. They can be connected to a voice assistant like Amazon’s Alexa or Google Home so can be triggered by voice command or by other sensors like a door or motion sensor or set on a timer to turn on between sunset and sunrise. Voice assistants such as the Google Home and Amazon Alexa both have a call feature so a person can call a contact by voice request. Home automation and monitoring also extends to sensors designed to monitor for things like leaks, but the same system can be set to check for taps left running for example.

ADAPTIVE AND SMART The platform is also flexible to include 3rd party solutions so it can adapt to the environment and suit the participant’s needs and lifestyle.

A sample of the 3rd party products and compatible protocols

April / May 2020


FEATURED ARTICLE The system can be viewed from a computer, smart phone, or tablet from any location. The AT is not meant to replace ‘face to face’ support or invade one's privacy but simply offer an additional layer of security and safety to the participant. The data collected over a period provides valuable insights which allow a more proactive approach to care rather than the current reactive approach. The insights provided by the dashboard located in the SIL Hub inside the SDA development allows the SIL to view the status of 10 apartments with a single view, capturing key information supporting the tenant’s daily routine, gaining insights through the tracking of trends and patterns reducing incidents time responses.

In the past 18 months, Enliven Community has pursued the idea to create a display space where people from the disability sector could visit, trial, touch and feel what living independently could look like inside a Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) offering. A space where tenants, occupational therapists, allied health professionals, support co-ordinators, carers, family members feel comfortable learning more about SDA, tenancy rights, or any topic around housing and disability. The main purpose of the display space is to demonstrate current Assistive Technology (AT) in an SDA environment in conjunction with the work performed by Occupational Therapists in understanding the unique need for every participant.


Enliven Community and SDA Assistive Technologies are keen to demonstrate a strong leadership in AT for the disability sector. Work will commence late in 2020 on the 500sqm display space in the suburb of Granville in Sydney and completion is anticipated to the public in March 2021.

Enliven Community is a non-profit organisation providing independent housing advice for people with disability to support independent and informed choices.

Learn more about the Enliven Community's new Assistive Technology Display space by calling them on 1300 210 220.

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Assistive Technology in Education DEFINING INBUILT AMPLIFICATION SYSTEMS IN EDUCATION SETTINGS Is the National Construction Code (NCC) up to date in defining what an inbuilt amplification system is and how fit out is determined and who decides? All too often when class 9b assembly buildings are constructed the audio visual installations are declared out of scope, not in the construction package or other conversation designed to avoid assessment against the requirements of D3.7 of the NCC and DDA Premises Standards. In education settings communication is mission critical for teachers and the children in terms of equal access to oral communication. With Covid all around us the issue of telecommunications for online learning or mixed on-line and classroom learning has never been so important and front of mind for all involved. People with hearing loss experience significant disadvantage if the communication systems are ineffective or non-existent. Often through too much background noise and interference and poor speech intelligibility. Which brings us to the question - is a large screen display fixed to the wall or ceiling with speakers that have volume control inbuilt amplification and how should we interpret clause D3.7 of the NCC? By the sheer fact that the visual display device, call it a TV if you like, has speakers then is inherently amplified sound and given the permanent installation then it must be captured by the scope of clause D3.7. While the NCC is relatively clear about which rooms and uses within a building that have inbuilt amplification require hearing augmentation which then setouts options for ‘an induction loop” or “a system requiring receivers or the like” it does not fully describe what the second type of system is. Traditionally, it has been interpreted to mean frequency modulated “FM” or infrared (IR) systems. However, as technology is forever evolving and as 28

1300 669 721 teaching delivery methods change it is clearly evident that the NCC and Access Consultants also need to change. In a world of Bluetooth, WiFi and phone apps people can become walking receivers of information and the NCC must expand the scope of systems to embrace new technology and the importance of assistive listening systems within education settings. While you could argue that the Performance Requirement DP9 provides the scope to instruct the need to install other types of systems, the Deemed to Satisfy requirements of clause D3.7 do not suitable clarity concerning classroom solutions that interface with visual display devices with amplified sound. Clause D3.7 obviously requires expansion to specify new technology based systems, especially in education and multi-lingual environments. So where to from here; read on to learn about new assistive listening systems, research the options and arm yourself with the information for your next class 9b education project and consider how the NCC should be modified to provide better clarity.

WHY ARE ASSISTIVE LISTENING SYSTEMS IMPORTANT AND WHO BENEFITS? What hearing system and technology will benefit your situation? Whilst the answer for everyone will be individual when it comes to home and social situations, the one common factor all your children have is the ability to hear and process information in the classroom. With the ever-evolving technology in hearing devices it is hard to keep on top of what devices are best and what technology will benefit your child at school. As we see the introduction of Bluetooth™ into more and more hearing aids and the ability of direct connectivity to mobile devices and tablets, we tend to forget about the conversation over distance and noise. While it is great to be able to give access to mobiles and tablets in a social situation this does not necessarily assist in classroom as much as other remote microphone technologies and access to


FEATURED ARTICLE multimedia the teacher may be playing through the projector and/or televisions in the classroom. With such technology we need to be able to cover voice and media devices at the same time. While a child will be supplied with a personal microphone they are limited in the classroom to just one media at a time. Having access to equipment up to the age of 26 through hearing providers they can now have access to hear multiple aspects; When assistive infrastructure is in place it can assist everyone not just a person with a hearing aid.

SIGNAGE D3.7 stipulates a braille sign must say the type of hearing technology and where a receiver is available. While the telecoil receivers are available the need for a child to wear one is limited as they have access to equipment through hearing providers.

ROGER REMOTE MICROPHONE Roger™ microphone systems have long been and remains the gold standard for hearing in noise and over distance, verified in a study by Wolfe, J. et al. 2015. Figure 1 shows the outcomes of remote

microphones systems verse Phonak Roger™ microphone system as shown in Figure 11. As you can see the Roger Microphone system has been found to outperform standard remote microphone systems particularly in noise, this is crucial in classrooms and recent studies conducted in Australia have shown average classroom noise is 68dBA2. Is there a hearing device that can give you access to both Bluetooth™ connectivity and access to the Roger remote microphone systems? Yes! Whether it be the latest Phonak Sky Marvel, or another manufacturers' device there is options to have both access to stream mobile and tablet media direct to hearing aids whilst accessing the Roger microphone system in the classroom. Just ask your audiologist about options to have a Roger™ receiver added to your hearing device, to ensure you’re fitted with a hearing device that has Roger receiver compatibility. Wolfe et al. looked standard remote microphones vs Roger microphones3. This showed a 25% improvement at 65 dBA and 49% at 75 dBA of background noise, shown in Figure 2. 1 Jace Wolfe, Mila Morais-Duke, Christine Jones, Aniket Saoji, 2015, “Comparison of Wireless Microphone”, Phonak Field Study, January 2015. 2 Massie, R & Dillon, H, 2006, 'The impact of sound-field amplification in mainstream cross-cultural classrooms: Part I Educational outcomes', Australian Journal of Education, vol. 50, no. 1. 3 Wolfe et al. (2015). Evaluation of Performance with an Adaptive Digital Remote Microphone System and a Digital Remote Microphone Audio-Streaming Accessory System. Am J Audiol. 2015.

Figure 2: Performance of Roger Microphones and standard Bluetooth microphones in background noise.

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Figure 1: Group performance data across all 5 conditions with each of the 4 device configurations. Errors bars represent the standard error of the mean.

ROGER FOR EDUCATION The dedicated Roger™ for Education portfolio has been specifically designed for the classroom providing many benefits: • Easy to use microphone with touchscreen display, for easy use by teachers and school staff • Easy connection to multiple students • Connectivity with equipment being installed by most education departments in the new and refurbished buildings. • Ability to connect with multiple students simultaneously meaning simplicity for the teacher to ensure the system is being used. • One microphone for transmission of voice to students’ device and soundfield speaker providing quieter classroom for all4. • Pass-around Mic for access to other students’ 4 Mainstream Amplification Resource Room Study (MARRS): Key studies on soundfield amplification sheet. Retrieved from marrs-study.html

conversation in the classroom when group work and presentations are taking place. With all the flexibility and connectivity, the Roger for Education system can provide in conjunction with the equipment being installed by Education departments as part of their infrastructure program, your child can gain access to all content they need to at school.

ROGER DYNAMIC SOUNDFIELD SYSTEM The use of dynamic soundfield system over no soundfield system at all can provide significant benefit in classrooms with noise above 65 dBA, with the best ever speech-in-noise improvements for normal hearing children of up to 28% at 65 dBA of noise and 50% at 70 dBA over no soundfield, Roger Soundfield is a class above the rest5. Refer to Figure 3. 5 Wolfe, J., Morais, M., Neumann, S., Schafer, E., Mülder, H., Wells., N., John, A. & Hudson, M. (2013). Evaluation of Speech Recognition with Personal FM and Classroom Audio Distribution Systems. Journal of Educational Audiology, 19, 65-79.

Figure 3



FEATURED ARTICLE In Australia research has shown classroom noise averages 68 dBA.ii Showing the need for good quality personal remote microphone and soundfield systems are important for our learning spaces. Multimedia devices that are used in classrooms, e.g. TVs, MP3 players, smartboards, laptops and tablets can easily be connected to the Roger Multimedia Hub, which wirelessly transmits to Roger Digimaster loudspeakers. When used in a network, the audio mixing feature in the Roger Multimedia Hub allows a teacher’s voice to be heard simultaneously with an audio signal. STUDIES


Rural Queensland Massie et al 20046 Australia - Massie & Dillion 2006 Sydney - Mealings et 36-46 dBA al 20157

OCCUPIED ANL (DBA) 62-75 dBA 64-72 dBA (Median 68 dBA)

Regardless of the size, Roger Soundfield delivers crystal-clear sound to an entire room, making listening, focusing and learning easier. • Roger Digimaster 5000 is the perfect solution for average-sized classrooms. Coupled with a Roger SF Touchscreen Mic, this system offers the ultimate instant-sound performance. • Roger Digimaster 7000 is the system of choice for bigger spaces. The system can transmit over a larger area and has the option of being connected in a network of two or more speakers, therefore covering at least double the range of one Digimaster 5000. • The Digimaster X receiver can be plugged into an existing soundfield system to ensure every listener enjoys Roger-quality speech understanding. Classes can be recorded by attaching it to a recording device.

68-72 dBA

6 Massie, R, Theodoros, D, McPherson, B & Smaldino, J, 2004, 'Sound-field amplification: Enhancing the classroom listening environment for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children', Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, vol. 33. 7 Mealings, KT, Buchholz, JM, Demuth, K & Dillon, H, 2015, 'Investigating the acoustics of a sample of open plan and enclosed Kindergarten classrooms in Australia', Applied Acoustics, vol. 100.

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April / May 2020



Bathroom Bliss for Seniors by Deborah Hammond Occupational Therapist Safety in Design Consultant

Deborah Hammond is an occupational therapist with extensive experience in home modifications, disability access and safety in design. She has worked with home modification services and private builders on minor and major building modifications. She provides design advice on disability accommodation and design reviews on health facilities including hospitals, cancer centres, rehabilitation facilities and residential aged care. She lectures on safety and design for Consult Australia, and guest lectures at Sydney University School of Architecture and Australian Institute of Architects. She has also delivered environmental modifications training to occupational therapists in NSW.


Make all fixtures and fittings in the bathroom weight bearing for example, towel rails, toilet roll holders and vanity. This will give you confidence that you can hold onto anything if you get the wobbles.

2. 3. 4. 5.

Sheet the bathroom walls this will allow for greatest flexibility as to where grabrails may be positioned in the future. Don’t forget to tell the occupational therapist.


Standard height toilet pan (390 mm). We tend to lose height as we age, and hips and knees may be replaced. Assistive technology may not fit over a higher toilet pan (460 mm – 480 mm). Lower pan height is also better for your bowel action, ideally with your knees higher than your hips.


A partial glass shower screen with no door will reduce water spread whilst allowing for easy access and less cleaning. If you do want a door, make sure that it can easily be removed and there is no edge on the floor on which you can trip.


Taps should be positioned at the entry to the shower recess so that you can check the water without getting wet. It also makes it easier for a carer or a support worker to assist as they don’t need to get into the shower with you!

9. 10. 32

Visual contrast for all fixture and fittings makes it easier to see when your vision changes. A pedestal vanity at seated height allows you to complete your grooming in a comfortable position. Provide accessible storage. This could be mirror cabinet or a freestanding cabinet with a GPO for shaver or toothbrush.

Temperature set at hot water service. This is a more cost-effective approach for a domestic home. Create a warm environment with good ventilation. You may spend longer in the bathroom so keeping warm is important. A heater lamp, heated towel rail and heated floor are luxuries you will love. A steamy environment can make you lightheaded. Make sure that the room is well ventilated. This will also prevent mould. THE MAGAZINE FOR THE ASSOCIATION OF CONSULTANTS IN ACCESS AUSTRALIA


Prepared by Cathryn Grant

HOUSING FOR PEOPLE WITH A DISABILITY: EVIDENCE REVIEW OF POST-OCCUPANCY EVALUATION (POE) INSTRUMENTS Authors: Alex Wilkinson, Dr. Nicola Brackertz, Dr. Michael Fotheringham from AHURI and Dr. Di Winkler from the Summer Foundation Date: February 2018

STUDY AIMS: To review and analyse POE instruments suited to assessing dwellings for people with a disability that require a high level of physical support. This is to provide guidance for clients, building designers, builders and facilities managers on how to evaluate and improve the design and suitability of their housing.



One hundred and seventy-two POEs were initially identified out of these 55 were analysed further and then 10 selected for in-depth review. The POEs were reviewed with regards to their:

As there was no single tool that covered all the above parameters well; the conclusion is that multiple tools or a bespoke tool is required. Some of the recommendations include:

• • • • • • •

• a combined approach whereby both technical performance of the built environment and user experience is undertaken

reliability, validity, conciseness, sensitivity, clinical utility (user friendliness), data collection approaches, suitability for use with a range people experiencing different types disability, what types of housing it was suitable for (shared accommodation, home modifications) and; • alignment with the Summer Foundation vision (enabling social inclusion, facilitation of physical independence, home-like, high amenity and affordability)

• instruments should be easy to use and not arduous for those involved and be suitable for a range of disabilities • the development of a new POE instrument should involve people with a high level of physical support – the tenants – and people that will be administering the instrument.

RESULTS: Many of the POEs focused on housing for elderly people. Some just focused on specific types of housing such as nursing homes or shared accommodation and others on home modifications. There were varying degrees of validity, reliability and internal consistency. Only one instrument assessed cost-effectiveness and none met all of the Summer Foundation vision criteria. April / May 2020



Making every living space better with assistive technology by Brett Savill CEO of ASX-listed Quantify Technology

Quantify Technology is focused on making lives better in homes, workplaces, and communities with their smart home technology.


ssistive technology helps people living with disability in three specific ways: it enhances quality of life; reduces costs; and improves safety. According to the World Health Organisation, accessible and assistive technology-enabled homes improve the health, wellbeing, and daily life activities of people with disabilities. It has been around for at least twenty years as a complex and expensive option that was really was only for the wealthy. However, costs are declining rapidly, and complexity is being engineered out of products to make them truly mass market. This means the benefits can be more broadly shared. Take smart home automation, which is exploding to a large extent because of voice activation. In Australia, the smart speaker market is booming (no pun intended) with penetration growing from 20% of households in 2019 to over 40% in 20231. The cheapest Amazon Alexa now retails at less than $50. At the same time, products are becoming simpler, meaning that purchasers can pick and choose the most suitable technologies for the circumstances. In the residential housing market today, smart home automation provides a way for builders or developers to differentiate their properties; in 1


the future, they will not be able to sell them with automation. After all, who would buy a car today without airbags, collision avoidance and anti-locking brakes? Disability living is rapidly revolving in the same way:

1. ENHANCING QUALITY OF LIFE In 2019, Victorian-based disability services provider St John of God Marillac (Specialist Disability Accommodation provider) in partnership with St John of God Accord (Supported Independent Living provider), built a five-bedroom, technology-enabled home to meet the needs of their clients with intellectual disabilities and complex needs, as set by the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) design category. St John of God Health Care Projects and Technology Director Nicole Jahn said the house featured an all-inclusive technology solution, designed to match the needs of the clients. “It includes smart home automation, facial recognition, and access control to reduce restrictive practices, enable independence, and digitise work processes to allow a new level of independence for our clients,” Nicole said. According to St John of God Accord CEO Lisa Evans, the completion of the innovative accommodation home aligns with St John of God Accord’s disability and inclusion strategy. “It is a significant initiative to raise the profile of, and advocate for, people with a disability,” Lisa said.


FEATURED ARTICLE “Any technology that assists us to improve the lives of our clients to enjoy their independent living is very encouraging for the future of disability.” The smart home solution featured in the home, developed by West Australian-based Quantify Technology, enables clients to trigger customised living experiences such as morning and night-time scenes, using easily understood sun and moon-symbolled buttons. The technology provides lighting, blind and door control, which can be adjusted via touch, app or voice, using Amazon Alexa. The integration of Quantify’s smart home solution with Amazon Alexa has enabled St John of God Accord to build routines that can help clients with simple things like waking up in the morning or going to bed at night. “Where our clients experience a more stable environment in their daily routines, we have found that clients are happier and more content in their home,” Lisa said.

2. REDUCING COSTS However, smart home automation does more than improving quality of life for the residents, it reduces running costs as well.

When looking at the cost of disability living, it is important to understand that cost savings can be taken as savings to be invested elsewhere, or reinvested by enabling carers to spend more time in primary care, and less on secondary tasks. The ability to monitor power remotely enables the simple detection of where energy is being wasted and where there is a need for routine or corrective maintenance. Routines such as a good night scene can automatically switch off all stand-by power. The ability to introduce facial recognition saves time and smart speaker technology reduces the sense of isolation meaning more residents can live autonomously.

3. IMPROVING SAFETY With improved automation comes improved safety, exactly as it does in the modern car. In one example, data from the sensors alerted carers to the fact that one of the residents had gone to the bathroom thirty times in the night after being “successfully” treated for a bladder infection. CCTV can reduce the likelihood of external intruders. Intercom makes it safer to live in

In 2019, Victorian-based disability services provider St John of God Marillac in partnership with St John of God Accord, built a technology-enabled home to meet the needs of their clients with intellectual disabilities and complex needs.

April / May 2020


FEATURED ARTICLE apartments and some monitoring can provide early warning signals – like falls – that are critical to improving safety.

technology, such as nurse call systems, is becoming increasingly important to the safety of residents in NDIS specialist accommodation.

In these times of pandemic, it is important to consider limiting the possibility of infection as well.

“Residents have an additional layer of security, with the ability to call for help in case of emergency, in circumstances where they are unable to access wall alerts or pendants,” Kris said.

With smart home automation, “scenes” can be set up to control multiple devices at one time, meaning less physical touching. Moreover, with voice activation and app control, residents do not need to touch the devices at all. With less touching comes a lower risk of infection, both for residents and for those caring or visiting. Harvey Norman Commercial Division Smart Technologies Manager Kris Leffler said the emerging cross-pollination of voice control and smart home solutions with carer-enabled

Heat sensing cameras are moving from the hospital setting to many other locations as well, in an attempt to get an early warning signal about potential infection. Again, this helps not just residents, but also carers, loved ones, and other staff such as cleaners. Many organisations worry about implementing technology, seeing it as either a nirvana to solve all their challenges or, a black hole that will suck vast quantities of money and time, ending in disaster.

Quantify Technology’s smart home solution enables clients to trigger customised living experiences such as morning and night-time scenes, using easily understood sun and moon-symbolled buttons. 36


FEATURED ARTICLE Instead of being daunted, it is important to start with a mindset of marginal gain, taking proven technologies in measured steps. In the early 2000s, British cycling was revolutionised by this approach which, Sir Dave Brailsford, describes as ‘the doctrine of marginal gains.’ Small incremental improvements added up to a significant improvement, when added together. The same is true of automation, a five percent improvement in a carer’s productivity means an extra two weeks a year on primary care. Or as Brailsford explains, ‘forget about perfection; focus on progression, and compound the improvements.2’


Quantify Technology’s smart home solution includes a 3-button Touch Panel, which meets the NDIS SDA requirements.


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Using the Latest Technology to Create Specialist Disability Accommodations (SDAs) by Madimack Madimack is a leading technology provider who is currently working with large scale developers and housing providers to deliver customised automation packages for SDA accommodation. Their emphasis is on improving safety and support for the tenant and care providers as well as providing assistance to builder and developers to meet the requirements of SDAs.


reating safe and secure accommodations for people with disabilities can be a big challenge because of varying needs and abilities. The biggest challenge can be how to use complicated technology for both emergency communications and home automation in a way that makes it simple and easy to use. A recent project, The AccessAccom Sheffield Qtr SDA Apartments in Penrith illustrates the challenges of meeting these requirements and what can be done with current technology, This project consists of 10 x High Physical Support apartments with one OOA (overnight on-site


assistance) apartment, which is commonly known in the sector as the concierge model. The apartments span over 5 floors with 2 apartments on each floor and the OOA unit on the lower level. With new models of care and housing there are always challenges and this project was no exception. It started with a detailed analysis of the scope of the project and the final requirements of the tenants. There was a strong need to ensure simplicity and functionality in all the modifications and to ensure that the correct network was installed throughout the multiple levels of housing and in common areas. This would ensure that the care providers’ communication devices worked in every area of the apartments and common areas. A hospital grade assistance call system was also set up in each apartment to provide safety and security throughout. This was key to the design process as it had to provide a safe, operational, responsive, and cost-effective solution for the care provider.


FEATURED ARTICLE SAFETY AND SECURITY The first requirement was to establish a hospital grade assistive call system in each of the tenants’ rooms to provide safety and security throughout. This sends instant notifications to onsite care assistants’ work tablets in case of emergency. The call points were positioned to be accessible and with red, or green covers to represent the levels of assistance required. When the call buttons are used, the level of assistance requested is displayed on the carers’ tablet along with a notification sound. The number of notifications received and the order they’re received in depend on the level of assistance requested. The system also has a call escalation feature. All the notifications and responses are linked to the site and to onsite carers. When an emergency call is sent, an emergency notification will sound every 30 seconds on the primary care assistant’s tablet. However, if the call has not be accepted after 3 minutes it will be sent to any other logged-in carers’ tablets. And if this secondary call isn’t accepted after a further 2 minutes then it will be escalated to an offsite carer who can respond. This gives the system and residents 3 layers of safety. There are also other integrated communication solutions. The main living area contains a talk back station which allows direct 2-way communication between residents and the on-site carer. This system can be activated by pressing the red emergency button and is supported through the network VOIP. Each resident is also given a small pendant radio transmitter to wear around the neck or wrist or keep nearby. This is around 3cm x 2cm in size and is fully waterproof with a range of approximately 50m in uninterrupted space. Additional receivers can also be installed in larger areas when needed. When moving into the apartment, tenants are given a tablet that contains 2-way voice communication software and a call assist buttons. This tablet also contains all the controls for the apartment automation

April / May 2020


FEATURED ARTICLE system on one platform. The platform is designed to be simple and easy to learn and use.


Other safety devices can also be installed throughout the apartments when needed to enhance patient care, lower response time, and provide faster access to assistance when needed. These can include seizure mats and movement sensors.

Home automation in the apartments went above and beyond expectations to create a fully functioning and simple to use system that caters to most abilities. All the modifications were brought together in a custom designed interface that operates on a single platform. This platform was designed with larger icons and an intuitive image display to create simple, straightforward navigation.

There were several stand-out features inside the apartments. One feature was the smoke alarm power lock out. Most home fires start in the kitchen, so Madimack-Ohmie implemented a system that cuts power to the cooktop, oven, and microwave when the smoke alarm activates as well as switching lights in the kitchen on in a red colour to alert attention for hard of hearing persons. This adds an additional level of safety to the tenants and apartments. The Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) system was also a stand-out. This was critical to the tenants and implemented throughout the project, including in the access controls for entry doors and bedroom electrical systems that support medical equipment. This would allow for continued operation even during an interruption in regular power supplies. This extra layer of safety was also extended to the communication system and network, with UPS back up and a 4G failover to ensure continued communication. The system is designed to notify all care assistants when the UPS system is engaged. This notification is treated as an emergency call would be, so the escalation process can be applied if needed.

The home automation is designed on a module system which allows for cost-effective and seamless future additions. It’s also an open system that allows for the integration of a multitude of devices and hardware. This increases the cost effectiveness of the system and opens the door for future upgrades of non-smart systems and integration with other smart home automation being brought into the apartment. The system is powered using Google. This means that tenants can operate their device up to 5 different ways, including motion detection and hands-free voice control. The system uses Google’s extensive voice control software, which means that it has access to sophisticated voice recognition algorithms that can detect sounds and words across a wide range, including difficult to hear or slurred words. It also offers voice recognition which allows for greater user security. One of the reasons why Google was chosen for this project was for its non-discriminatory approach to devices. This means that tenants can also use Apple devices or other brands to use the automation platform. Google allows thousands of home devices to be added seamlessly to the network. It also allows for the integration of software which can activate several devices at once with a single command.




For example, saying “Hey Google, I’m going out” can open the front door, close the blinds, and turn off lights for a truly hands-free experience. This software can also be timed to perform specific actions at certain times of the day such as opening the blinds in the morning or locking up windows at night. The automation platform can be accessed from multiple devices from anywhere with internet access. Tenants have complete control of their automation options at any time whether they’re using a phone or a laptop. They simply need to be able to use a web browser and access the system using their credentials for full access and functionality. Methods of control are tailored to individual needs, but typically consist of: voice control, manual control, motion detection, wall touch buttons, tablet-based cloud control, automated timer-controlled scenes, and automated event activated devices. These give tenants complete control of: front door and balcony doors, all internal doors for privacy, lights with dimming functionality, blinds and windows.

A Message From Matthew Valenti (AccessAccom Managing Director)

This is a complete system that combines the latest software and hardware with flexible systems that will allow for future changes. This allows for home automation and security that can be customised for any tenant to enhance their current and future independence.

We engaged Madimack to design and deliver the assisted living technology platform for our SDA Apartments in the new Sheffield Qtr precinct of Penrith, Western Sydney. Their response to our brief resulted in a fully integrated solution which far exceeded all expectations and we believe their platform is now being taken up widely across the sector as the new benchmark. Alex and the team are fantastic to work with, focused not only on client satisfaction for us but also our tenants. They provide great customer service and have a commitment to continuously improving the useability for participants with the highest levels of needs.

Find out more about our SDA solution

April / May 2020



TECHNICAL INSIGHTS The articles featured in Technical Insights are to prompt thought and discussion to assist our members' question and evaluate their understanding of the technical requirements of Australian Standards and other national/international source material. Technical Insights is to intended to provide background information, a different viewpoint, a perspective from an individual with lived experience of disability or to prompt further discussion and/or research by you as an access professional.

by Howard Moutrie



ne of the most common questions asked relates to the accessibility of timber decking and, in particular, the gaps between the boards. Typically, the requirements for grates are applied in the absence of any other guidance. I thought it would be worthwhile to discuss this issue. The gaps between the timber decking boards are provided principally to accommodate expansion and contraction of the timber but also aid in the extraction of surface water. I note that timber decking is not always timber, and the new synthetic products behave differently. The recommended spacing of the decking boards varies depending on the type of timber, the width of the boarding and the location. The variation is from 3 -7mm. The variations occur due to the properties of the timber, some timbers expand more than others, the size of board, a wider board will expand more than a narrower board and the location, the timber is more likely to expand and contact to a greater degree when the environmental conditions are extremely wet and hot, for example in far north Queensland. It is also important to recognise that timber decking may also include wide and thick timber boards in locations such as a jetty. Under most conditions a gap of 5-6mm is sufficient for standard timber decking while synthetic wood decking is 5mm. Large boards on a jetty for example may need 10-15mm spacing as 42

they also may need to address cupping and twisting in addition to expansion. I would suggest that we say that the maximum gap between decking boards is to be 6mm as this covers the majority of situations. So, in terms of accessibility, what should we consider acceptable. It is worthwhile to reference the requirements for grates and pavers. I would consider that a max 6mm gap with a maximum surface level difference between adjacent boards of 3mm. This is consistent with the existing requirements for other surfaces and meets the requirements for standard timber decking. Larger decking boards, over a 150mm wide may require an increased gap. The gap may be increased to a maximum of 13mm, based on the requirements for grates, provided that, where the gap exceeds 8mm the boards shall run transverse to the direction of travel.

VISUAL IDENTIFICATION OF GLASS Clause 6.6 of AS 1428.1 provides the requirements for “vision strips” as I like to call them. One of the requirements is that the strip provides a 30% luminance contrast with the surface on the other side. I have commented, previously, that this requirement hasn’t been well thought through, particularly with respect to the testing of the installation to verify the luminance contrast. The strip is viewed against the background, through the glass, but is this how it is intended to be tested? If this is the case, then the LRV reading of the background will be affected by


TECHNICAL INSIGHTS the qualities of the glass. If it is intended that the reading be done directly on the material, and not through the glass, a more realistic contrast will be achieved but I still question if this is a valuable result. I am sure we have all seen an installation where a heavily tinted glass has been used with a white strip, providing good contrast, but not necessarily meeting the requirements. For example, the floor finish may be a light colour so really the strip should be dark. I have seen an installation where an extremely dark tint was used, you couldn’t see through the glass, and a white floor on the other side. The vision strip was black and provided the required contrast with the floor but was completely invisible against the glass. For this example, perhaps the fact that you couldn’t see through the glass, removed the need for the strip as a person with vision impairment couldn’t see through the glass and think it was an opening it. The Standard doesn’t allow this type of thinking, a Certifier will say it must contrast with the floor. So is there another option? A European guideline has a different approach. It doesn’t require a single band which contrasts with the floor but 2 separate bands which contrast with each other. One strip is required at 900mm above the floor and the second at 1300mm above the floor. The bands are to have a 30 points LRV difference. Perhaps a similar approach could be used here. Because the strips and their contrast can be reliably tested, I believe that this format provides an improvement over the current requirement. I would think that this could be further improved by locating the strips adjacent to each other to improve the identification of the strips. Food for thought. Another issue relates to a compliant strip. The Standard requires it to be solid and non-translucent. What it means to say is that it is opaque. This means that the you cannot see through the strip. A simple test that I use is that if I place my hand or other object directly behind the strip, it fails if I can see an image of the object. A more technical approach could be to measure the light transmission through the strip but I feel this has some issues. Firstly, it requires another piece of equipment to test but secondly, what is an allowable light transmission. From my own experiments, the amount of light which may be transmitted is dependent on the strength of the

light source, thus, 50lux may be transmitted through an opaque surface under direct sunlight but under heavy shade the amount of light transmitted may be 5lux. Also, a light colour tends to radiate light whereas a dark colour does not. Again, my experiments found that a truly opaque blue film recorded a light transmission of 5 lux whereas, under the same conditions a truly opaque white transmitted 85lux. On this basis, I think the simple test for opacity is the best. So, the testing procedure for the vision strips is a 4 step process: 1. Test for opacity 2. Test the LRV of the strip 3. Test the LRV of the floor ( or the secondary strip in the alternative proposal) 4. Calculate the contrast using the Bowman Sapolinski Equation Finally, what constitutes glass that can be mistaken for a doorway or opening? AS1288 provides such a definition. Under Clause 5.4.2, the following are considered not capable of being mistaken for a doorway or opening: a. T he sight width of the glazing is less than or equal to 500mm b. T he sight height is less than or equal to 1000mm c. The sill is 500mmor higher above the floor d. T he glazing is opaque, patterned or a leadlight e. I f there is a rail located with its bottom edge between 700mm to 1000mm above the floor f. If the panels are louvre blades g. I f the glazing protects a difference in level of 1000mm or more Although these conditions may be suitable for people with average vision, I would consider that a person with vision impairment would not be able to determine the difference in either f) and g) and for accessibility purposes, these exemptions should be removed.

April / May 2020



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