Access Insight - November 2019

Page 1


Splash into Summer

NDIS SDA Design Standard Released Innovation in Beach Access Aquatic Wheelchairs and Pool Access



by Mark Relf AM

President of the Association of Consultants in Access Australia

From the President’s Desk.......... 2 ACAA State Networks................. 3 NDIS SDA Design Standard Released................................... 4 ACAA MATTERS: Now is the Time to Become a Member of ACAA.................................... 6 Innovation in Beach Access...... 10 Aquatic Wheelchairs and Pool Access.................................... 12 Review.................................... 15 November 2019: Hot Websites........................... 16


n 21 November 2019 the ACAA AGM and General Meeting was held at the Figtree Convention Centre, Sydney Olympic Park and by webinar to members in various locations around Australia. The voting results for the new committee were announced and thanks to outgoing committee members. In particular, I want to extend my thanks to Farah Madon who has served on the Committee of Management since October 2011 in the role of committee member and Vice-President since October 2016. Farah has been a long serving, enthusiastic, dedicated and tireless worker for the association. Bruce Bromley, serving for two years has brought his skills and experience with technology to the committee as well as being a strong contributor to the recent Access 2019 Conference. Jen Barling, who has also served on the committee for which most of her time has been in the capacity of chairperson of the Membership Committee. My warmest thanks to our outgoing committee members. I am delighted to welcome the new committee members, Claire Cunningham and Francis Lenny (two year appointment) and Dale Sheppard for a one year appointment. Welcome Claire, Francis and Dale, who are joining the continuing committee members Mark Relf (President), Lindsay Perry (Vice-President), Howard Moutrie (Treasurer), Anita Harrop (Secretary) and Cathryn Grant. In stepping down from the committee, Farah Madon is also stepping down from her role as Editor of the ACAA’s magazine, Access Insight. Farah has brought our new format magazine to life since we converted to a colour, digital format in July 2017.

Address: 20 Maud Street, Geelong VIC 3220 Email:


+61 3 5221 2820



VICE PRESIDENT: Ms Lindsay Perry


Anita Harrop

October / November 2019 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


Thank you, Farah for all your efforts in bringing us excellent reading and technical information relating to all things access. If you haven’t read the back copies, I would commend you reviewing the magazine archive for information and inspiration: CLICK HERE TO ACCESS ARCHIVE

JULY 2017

Another regular contributor to the Access Insight magazine has been Jen Barling. Whilst Jen is stepping down from the Committee of Management, Jen has promised to continue her regular Hot App contribution to our magazine! Enjoy reading our Splash into Summer issue of the ACAA’s Access Insight magazine. Other topics discussed during the General Meeting, that will continue to provide a focus and the energy of the committee included:

WINNERS ANNOUNCED 2017 NSW Disability Access Inclusion Awards

• The work experience pathway to Associate membership

Mark Relf

AWARDED MEMBER (AM) in the General Division of the Order of Australia

• The 2021 Conference preliminary announcement • CPD events and webinars,

Update on Australian Standard on Wayfinding - AS1428.4.2 NDIS Specialist Disability Housing explained

ACCESS 2017 Conference


Topics of interest raised from the floor included:

Recently, the DDA Premises Review formally endorsed the need to review AS1428.1, AS1428.4.1 and AS2890.6 and has requested Standards Australia to complete these revisions by the later half of 2021 for referencing in the 2022 editions of the NCC and DDA Premises Standards.

• Legal issues relating to access consulting • Performance solutions • Heritage • Specialist Disability Accommodation • Changing Places and adult change facilities • Adaptable housing In moving forward the Committee of Management will continue to seek input from our ACAA membership and we also welcome contribution from our membership.

This is a win for ACAA as we were almost a lone voice in the many submissions to government, who seemed oblivious of the role and processes of referenced standards.

Mark Relf AM

ACAA NSW Access Consultants Network

Contact: ACAA NSW Chairperson Robyn Thompson

ACAA SA Access Consultants Network

Contact: ACAA SA Chairperson Grant Wooller

ACAA QLD Access Consultants Network Contact: ACAA QLD Chairperson Angela Chambers ACAA VIC Access Consultants Network

Contact: ACAA VIC Chairperson Ms Maree Wyse

ACAA WA Access Consultants Network

Contact: ACAA WA Chairperson Anita Harrop

October / November 2019



NDIS SDA Design Standard released by Farah Madon


he much awaited NDIS SDA (Specialist Disability Accommodation) Design Standard have been released by the Hon Stuart Robert MP, Minister for the NDIS (National Disability Insurance Scheme) on the 28th of October 2019. The project was managed by Livable Housing Australia under the leadership of Alex Waldren and Stuart Christie. The three technical writers of the SDA Design Standard are all ACAA Accredited members, Farah Madon (Lead Author), Bruce Bromley and Eric Martin. “The Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) Design Standard - landmark guidelines that will spur a new era of housing construction and enhancement for Australians with disability. The SDA Design Standard will guide architects, builders and the community as they look for new and better ways to build specialist housing for people with disability.


Specialist Disability Accommodation is a life-changing support that gives participants greater independence and control and we have heard loud and clear from Australians with disability that this is an area that needs to be improved. That is why the SDA Design Standard is such an important development and one I am proud to announce today,’ Mr Robert said. A copy of the NDIS SDA Design Standards and the accompanying SDA Design Standard implementation plan can be downloaded from The requirements of the SDA Design Standard will be mandatory from the 1st of July 2021. Some date concessions apply in certain cases, which are noted in the NDIS SDA Design Standards Implementation Plan. A brief guide is as follows: 30 April 2020

Enrolments of New SDA will be accepted with evidence that the dwelling has been assessed at the design and final as built certification stages with verification of compliance with SDA Design Standard by an accredited third party SDA assessor.

1 July 2021

All dwellings proposed for New Build SDA enrolment will be required to demonstrate the design and final asbuilt certification by an accredited SDA Assessor.

1 December 2022

Committed/commenced exemptions (New Build SDA developed under previous guidelines) expire.

1 July 2023

Committed/commenced Class 2 buildings exemption (New Build SDA developed under previous guidelines) expires.


FEATURED ARTICLE When the SDA market reaches full coverage the NDIS is expected to assist 28,000 Australians with disability through SDA - representing 6.1 per cent of NDIS participants. It is anticipated the total annual payments for SDA is expected to be approximately $700m per year. Till the time the SDA Design Standards become mandatory, the development can be assessed by the existing processes in place, i.e. by achieving of LHA (Livable Housing Australia), Silver level (for Improved Liveability or Robust) or Platinum level (for Fully Accessible or High Physical support) compliance with other features as noted in Table 3 of NDIS SDA Price Guide.

The NDIS SDA Price Guide can be downloaded from From 30th of April 2020, the enrolments of New SDA design standard will be accepted. The SDA Design Standard lists the requirements of all four design categories in one document. This is especially useful since a dwelling can be enrolled under multiple design categories. There is a total of 25 design requirements, details of which are noted under the design requirement column. Icons have been used where the design requirement applies to a particular design category.

A sample of the table in the NDIS SDA Design Standard with icons for the 4 design categories is shown below.

It is anticipated that separate enrolment forms will be available for assessors similar to the LHA assessment forms. The dwellings can only be assessed by an Accredited SDA Assessor. LHA have engaged Access Institute to deliver the SDA Accessor

training course and it is anticipated that this will be available from the 4th of February of 2020. Expressions of interest can be registered on the Access Institute website: https://accessinstitute.

October / November 2019



Now is the time to become a member of ACAA


ith growing demand for quality access consultants, now is the ideal time to join ACAA or take your membership to the next level. The benefits of membership include: • Promotion, recognition and use of the ACAA member logo including listing in the online Find an Access Consultant directory. • Recognition of access consultants based on qualification, experience, and Accreditation testing by an approved Registered Training Organisation. • Career development support for members wishing to achieve Accredited member status.

There are many ways to be involved with ACAA as individuals, corporations and governments in the pursuit of an accessible built environment by joining ACAA in the following membership classes: Affiliate member – you are interested in access and inclusion, a student or you may be at the beginning of your journey into the field of “access and inclusion”. Associate member – you are actively practicing as an Access Consultant and may be actively working towards Accredited membership by undertaking learning, mentoring and CPD activities.

• Opportunities to participate in approved CPD events and ACAA state and territory networking events with members and access professionals.

Accredited member – you are actively practicing as an Access Consultant and intend to further your skills and knowledge in the field.

• Member discount rates to attend all ACAA events.

Corporate Sponsorship - available at a level to suit your business activity.

• Access Insight magazine and relevant industry updates. • ACAA e-forum for member-only discussion for the exchange of technical opinions on topics of professional interest. • Current information on standards, codes, research, seminars, practice notes and consultation by government. • Opportunities to participate in the development of Australian Standards. • Employment opportunities on the ACAA Employment Board. • Opportunity to join the voice of Access Consultants to federal, state, territory and local governments.


For professionals who are experienced access consultants, two new pathways are now being offered for Associate Membership applications: 1. Attainment of Access Consulting Qualifications via RPL / Credit Transfer. The RPL/CT Pathway Overview, Information and Enrolment Forms are available by request from 2. Tertiary qualification in an allied field such as architecture, OT or building surveying and demonstrating three years of suitable work experience and CPD as an Access Consultant. Find out more on the ACAA website. For both pathways, submission of supporting documentation and evidence of experience when applying for Associate Membership is required.



October / November 2019


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October / November 2019



Innovation in Beach Access by Howard Moutrie


ver the years a number of Local Government Authorities have provided ramps and steps down to the beach to provide access for people with a disability. Although well meaning this has been a failure on two accounts. Firstly, it may only get the person to the beach and not the water’s edge and secondly, sand is a moving object and ramps soon become engulfed in the sand making them unusable.

Howard is an architect and access consultant with 40 years experience and is a member of the working group of the ME64 committee.

$3,700 for a 10m x 1.5m mat. The mat is held down using large “staples” hammered into the sand and each mat is connected with a purpose designed connector.

This matting is in use at a number of beaches around the country, including Cronulla, Malabar, Collaroy, Avoca, Ballina, in NSW, Mt Martha, Altona, Williamstown in Victoria and many Gold Coast beaches. Some have the matting out 24/7. The following provides some feedback from the staff at Sutherland Shire Council from their experience with the installation at Cronulla beach.

A new approach is slowly being adopted using a mat which can be installed over the sand. The product, called Mobi Mat, comes in 1.5m and 1.8m widths with a typical length of 10m though lengths from 5m to 30m are available. Each mat can be joined to increase the length. The mat allows a standard wheelchair, a pram, a beach wheelchair or easy pedestrian access across the sand. The current cost of the matting is around


The matting was made available at Cronulla at the end of January 2019, near the end of the season. It is presently available only by pre-booking, though it is intended for the up-coming summer season, that it be installed on a daily basis. In addition to the matting, Cronulla also provides the use of a beach wheelchair, which also must be booked in advance. The problem with the booking system is that a person may not decide to go to the beach until the day so booking a day in advance is not always practicable. That is why Cronulla, after receiving this feedback, will be installing the matting on a daily basis this season.


FEATURED ARTICLE Cronulla has three, 10m mats which at high tide will take a person to the water’s edge. However, at low tide, it can be well short of the water’s edge. This means that to get to the water a beach wheelchair or other means must be used to get to the water. There currently is a proposal to purchase additional mats but as the tide changes during the day this means that it is a continual process and it cannot be guaranteed that the mats will always lead to the water. This has drawn some criticism, but you must look at the positive side, access is a lot better than it was previously.

as the beach is normally raked at the start of the day. The suppliers of the matting also have a device which stores the matting on a roll which then allows a single person installation. The device is quite expensive, though. At the end of last season, the Lifeguards found that when installed for the whole day, the mat may not be used for its intended purpose, but some beachgoers found it made a good cricket pitch. This was not considered a problem but required them to monitor the mat at all times to be sure it was available for its intended purpose. If the Lifeguards are to monitor the installation and add or take off mats as required, as a body, they are concerned that it will distract the Lifeguards from their principal focus, being the monitoring of the surf. There is a similar issue with the use of the beach wheelchair. Although provided free of charge, the Lifeguards will not assist anyone with its use, they must have a carer. This is due to Work Health & Safety and Insurance requirements.

At Cronulla, the mats are rolled out by the Lifeguards, it is a two person job. Prior to the installation, the beach surface must be raked to a relatively smooth surface. This is not a real issue

One of the main advantages of the system over a fixed ramp is that it is not subject to the movement of sand, however, on windy days, sand can still be blown onto the mat. On an environmental note the mat is made from recycled plastic.

October / November 2019



Aquatic Wheelchairs and Pool Access by Anita Harrop

Anita Harrop is an Occupational Therapist with over 25 years of experience working in acute, community and rehabilitation settings within the health context and has been working as an access consultant since 2000. Anita is an Accredited Member of the ACAA and is currently serving on the ACAA Committee of Management in the role of Secretary and Editor of Access Insight.


s Access Consultants working with clients in assisting them to provide access to aquatic facilities, including change rooms and the like, an understanding of the various equipment items will be essential to ensure ease of access for the community. For an aquatic centre, an aquatic wheelchair or pool chair will be an essential piece of equipment to allow people who are unable to walk into the pool. These will typically look much like a manual wheelchair and may have


additional support and safety elements such as a waist strap, trunk supports or a head rest and armrests to allow full body support. To ensure stability the aquatic wheelchair will be typically constructed of a hollow material such as PVC piping to allow the chair to fill with water and be submerged. This will allow the individual to enjoy the water, playing and socialising with others in the shallows. For others, once the chair is “parked” at the base of the ramp or beach entry they may have the capacity to swim, or use supports such as noodles to float and swim. When “parked” pool attendants may remove the pool chair and return it when the person is ready. Or if the landing at the base of the ramp is large enough, the chair can be left, enabling the individual to come and go as they please. Typically, pool chairs can be challenging to use independently in the water, and assistance may be necessary particularly in navigating the access ramp or beach entry at the pool. The pool chair can be challenging


FEATURED ARTICLE for an individual to propel independently, particularly up a ramp, as the resistance of the water and the weight of the water filled chair make them relatively heavy. When considering aquatic centre design and operation, give consideration to the following: • Provision of change rooms near to the beach / ramp access to the pool that include an adult sized change table, ceiling mounted hoist and shower. • A secure dry place for individuals (and potentially their family, friends or carer) to store their clothing, towels etc but also their walking aid or wheelchair, external to the accessible changing room, without requirement for onerous procedures. This will ensure the accessible change remains available for others to use when required. • Where other elements such as water play and playground facilities, barbeque and picnic shelters are provided, ensure these are also accessible. Consider shading accessible play and recreation facilities and using non-heat absorbing materials. • Inclusion of access features such as handrails and step and pool border tiles that are in good luminance contrast to the pool and deck tiling. • The positioning of the required handrails that service the pool access ramp or beach entry, so that they do not project into children’s playing or recreational spaces in the pool, creating a safety hazard.

Designing and providing an accessible aquatic environment typically requires centre staff to offer some level of assistance, whether it is to retrieve the aquatic wheelchair, securely store an individual’s person items such as their wheelchair or to assist an individual access the water. Consider consultation with community user groups and individuals who can be best placed to inform the design team and the centre operators as to how different people may seek to use the aquatic facility. Give consideration to supplementing the aquatic centre with pool access hoist option(s) that are not prescribed in the Disability (Access to Premises – Buildings) Standards, that allow an individual to access the pool independently, should they be unable to self-propel an aquatic wheelchair on the pool ramp. Depending on the pool type, a hydrotherapy pool for example may require a hoist that allows the person to be lowered into the pool in a lying position. Other people may be very independent but may like to leave their wheelchair at the pool side to allow them to transfer directly from their chair onto the pool deck and directly into the pool. Ensure operational procedures are not restrictive but allow for a variety of pool access methodologies, which in turns enables community inclusion and participation.

October / November 2019


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This study seeks to investigate the accessibility of fitness centres by searching and analysing the academic literature. The New Zealand authors searched the literature using key words and synonyms for fitness centres, people with a disability and accessibility. The studies were to be observational cross-sectional published studies or postgraduate theses/dissertations, had to be in English and the full text version of the article must have been available. A total of 16 studies were found to meet these criteria. Methodological quality of the studies varied and many of the studies did not fully disclose how representative their sample of fitness centres was from the whole population of fitness centres, or the proportion of fitness centres the authors asked to participate and who agreed to participate. Six of the studies used modified versions of the American with a Disabilities Act Accessibility Guidelines (ADAAG) Checklist for Buildings and facilities instrument. Another eight studies used the Accessibility Instruments Measuring Fitness and Recreation Environments (AIMFREE). This assessment tool is a survey that evaluates public fitness centre for

people with mobility and visual impairments and includes both physical access to the building and system access including staff behaviour, programmes and policies. There is a professional version of this survey and a consumer version to help someone with a disability to determine if a certain fitness centre will meet their needs. The systematic review found that hot tubs, (including whirlpools, saunas and steam rooms), bathrooms and signage/ information were the least accessible. No physical access element scored over 67% for access. Whilst the AIMFREE tool also assesses system access this has the potential for a high risk of bias because the evaluation requires an interview with fitness centre staff.

TAKE HOME MESSAGE: • There are access audit tools available to evaluate fitness centres. • Fitness centres should be accessible as they form an important form of community infrastructure that provide people with a disability the opportunity to undertake physical exercise which has health and wellbeing benefits.

October / November 2019



November 2019 HOT WEBSITES ByJen Barling

ACCESSIBLE BEACHES have helped activate 25 wheelchair accessible patrolled beaches across Australia and facilitated beach access events to help promote accessible beaches across Australia, through education, information and demonstration of the products and equipment required. IDEAS (Information on Disability, Education and Awareness Services) recently published their latest information on surf life-saving clubs that have beach wheelchairs available and accessible beaches. DISABLED SURFERS ASSOCIATION OF AUSTRALIA (DSA) holds events for anyone with a disability willing to have a go at surfing, with the assistance of trained volunteers. See their website for upcoming events. NATIONAL PARKS NSW has installed a wheelchair-accessible launch for kayaks or canoes at Edward River Bridge picnic area in the Murray Valley Regional Park. Specially designed for NSW National Parks, the deck was constructed using recycled plastic from the local Moama community including shopping bags, food and other household containers. THE NATIONAL PUBLIC TOILET MAP provides information on over 19,000 publicly available toilets across Australia, including accessibility, opening hours and facilities, such as showers & baby change. You can download the official National Public Toilet Map App from the App Store or on Google Play.



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October/ November 2019



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The content of this magazine is for information purposes only and opinions expressed in articles are those of its author and not ACAA. ACAA assumes no liability or responsibility for any inaccurate or incomplete information, nor for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Advertised products and services that appear in this magazine have been provided by such organisations without verification by ACAA. ACAA does not guarantee, support nor endorses any product or service mentioned in this magazine, nor does it warrant any assertions made by the manufacturers of such products or services. Users of are recommended to obtain independent information and to perform independent research before using the information acquired from this magazine. In this magazine, you will find links to other websites. ACAA cannot be held liable for the content of these websites nor for the way in which these websites handle your (personal) data. For information in this regard, read the privacy policy, disclaimer, copyright notices, general terms & conditions, if available, of any website you visit. No part of the magazine may be reproduced without the prior written consent of the ACAA Committee of Management.

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