What is the SDA Design Standard?

The SDA Design Standard sets out the requirements for building Specialist Disability Accommodation (SDA) under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). SDA is designed for approximately 6% of NDIS participants who have an extreme functional impairment or the highest support needs.

SDA homes cater to the individual’s housing needs and enable complex supports to be provided in the participant’s home. This enhances the potential for independent living among participants. SDA is intended to be available in communities where appropriate facilities, services and public transport are available. 

NDIS housing, features, SDA
SDA homes cater to the individual’s housing needs.

The four categories of SDA design

Improved Liveability

This SDA design category is designed for eligible participants who have sensory, intellectual or cognitive impairment. They are designed to be as easy to move around in as possible. Doorways, handles, switches and rooms are highly visible.


The robust SDA design category is built to be very resilient and provide a safe home for the participant and their carers. It also reduces the likelihood of reactive maintenance being necessary on the home. Features of robust homes include very secure windows, doors and external areas, fixtures and fittings that can withstand high impact, as well as break-out spaces.

Fully Accessible

The fully accessible SDA design category provides a high level of physical access for eligible SDA recipients with significant physical impairments. External doors and outdoor areas must be accessible by wheelchair and both bathroom and kitchen facilities should be accessible in either seated or standing positions.

High Physical Support

This SDA design category is for participants who have significant physical impairments and need very high levels of support. This includes all of the features of the ‘Fully Accessible’ SDA category, as well as provisions for items such as ceiling hoists.

Architects and builders must comply with the design requirements of one or more categories in order for the home to be approved for use by eligible SDA participants.

The minimum features of all SDA homes

The four categories of SDA design each have different requirements. However, all 4 categories must have the following features in order to be certified: kitchen, bathroom, at least one bedroom per eligible SDA participant, living/dining area and entrance/exit.

A studio style of design is not allowed under any of the 4 categories. Some SDA homes utilise relevant assistive technology (such as smart, remote-controlled doors, lights, blinds and appliances). All SDA designs must also comply with the National Construction Code, including relevant waterproofing and termite protection measures.


SDA standard, NDIS building
The SDA Design Standard sets out the requirements for building specialist disability accommodation (SDA) under the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS).